Survey: Risk Management Not Addressed By Many Business Web Sites

Compiled By Frank R. Chloupek According to a Web site risk management survey conducted by Watchfire Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., many companies' Web sites could be risky propositions. Over 80% of survey respondents view risk management as "very high" or "moderately" important in terms of corporate strategy. Furthermore, over 80% consider security a "critical" item in terms of Web site risk management. Also seen as critical issues by half the respondents were privacy and accessibility. However, the survey also found that many Web sites lack adequate privacy safeguards. While over 87% of survey respondents rank protecting a user's personal information between "somewhat important" and "very important," only 53% of sites have a formal stated privacy policy, and only 40% are monitored for policy compliance. Accessibility issues are also poorly addressed by many Web sites. Only 26% say their site is accessible to users with disabilities. Thirty percent of those surveyed are either not concerned with accessibility or are not aware that it is an issue. The survey included over 600 participants in a range of industries predominantly based in North America -- including services, technology information/communication and entertainment, consumer products, government and financial services. Thirty-six percent of the respondents were at the vice-president level or higher. Survey results were compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Watchfire Corp., based in the United Kingdom, provides businesses with Web site management solutions. It has dual North American offices in Ottawa, Canada, and Lexington, Mass. A copy of the survey findings can be obtained at www.watchfire.com/resources/risk-rpt-july02.pdf.

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