20 Amazing, Amusing and Alarming IT Facts

A new report warns that the cost from lost productivity at work related to the new NFL season could add up to $10.5 billion. And there we were, thinking the biggest waste of time at work came from fielding an endless stream of IT industry reports?

In an effort to do something productive with these sometimes insightful, sometimes scary, sometimes silly and frequently self-serving studies, we've boiled down each of about 20 that we've received over the past couple of months into one digestible story. Without further ado and in no particular order:

* The average fantasy sports player earns about $38 per hour and based on an average of nearly 1.19 hours per week dealing with their team during work hours, companies lose about $45.22 in wages per worker each week, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the global outplacement and business coaching consultancy, which came up with its numbers by crunching those from a couple of fantasy sports groups.

* Perhaps playing fantasy football at work can be included in an Internet users' Bill of Rights. Two-thirds of about 200 people attending the second Internet Governance Forum in Brazil last November agreed with this statement: "A global internet users' Bill of Rights should be adopted." Only 6% disagreed. Such a Bill of Rights would include things such as freedom of information, freedom of expression, and the right of people to have affordable access, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

* Not that everyone is going to log on even if they are offered affordable access. Only 44% of Kentucky households subscribe to broadband even though most do have access to it, according to Connected Nation, which issued a report that all full-time adult students in Kentucky with broadband at home use the 'Net for educational purposes. So clever.

* Well, more clever than a lot of organizations anyway. Just over half of organizations require only passwords for employees to access critical data, according to a survey of 150 companies by Quest Software and the Aberdeen Group. Companies play fast and loose with their password rules, too, according to the survey, with almost half allowing standard dictionary terms and more than two-thirds not specifying password length.

* Not that that sort of thing has anything to do with the number of confirmed data breaches reported through mid-August blowing by the number reported for all of last year. According to the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, last year a total of 446 breaches were reported, and as of Aug. 22 this year 449 got reported. Of course, there are many more breaches than those reported, and the ITRC says it is thankful that at least a few states are starting to make info available through their Attorney General offices.

* You could just blame Japan for your network security troubles. Japan proved to be the Godzilla of attack traffic-generation in the second quarter as the country of origin for 30% of such traffic worldwide, according to content delivery network provider Akamai. The study, which was conducted by monitoring Akamai's global network of more than 30,000 servers, measured distributed denial-of-service attacks, Web site hacking attempts and DNS hijackings for 139 countries. The United States had the second-highest percentage of attack traffic for the second quarter, at 21.5%, while China came in third at 16.8%.

* Not that top executives don't have even bigger worries. The top hurdle faced by 300 top executives (such as CEOs and CIOs) surveyed by the Society for Information Management is IT-business alignment. Building business skills in IT, IT strategic planning, attracting new IT professionals and making better use of information rounded out the top 5 concerns.

* Of course, there's also the little matter of IT spending. The outlook is still pretty grim, with growth expected to be just 4% for the year (down from 6% last year), but not all signs are bad, according to the latest Goldman Sachs survey of 100 managers with strategic decision-making authority at Fortune 1,000 companies. On the bright side is that spending intentions on network gear is rebounding (for the next 12 months, 54% of respondents said they expect their network spending to grow, and that's up from 42% the last time they were asked). However, Goldman describes plans for discretionary IT projects as "anemic."

* As for the other type of "green," a third of 75 organizations asked by Cutter Consortium if they have a long-term plan/strategy targeted at reducing the environmental footprint of their IT infrastructure said no, 38% said yes and 29% said they didn't know. Broken down further, 57% of European organizations said they had one vs. 37% in the United States.

* Regardless of the tough economy, companies are having to fork over big salaries to enterprise applications experts due to a shortage of people with SAP skills, according to new research from Foote Partners. The value of some SAP skills rose between 25% and 30% over the first six months of 2008 and nearly twice that over the past 12 months. "If you're looking for SAP Web Application Server, Production Planning, Business Objects, Quality Management, Strategic Enterprise Management, Product Lifecycle Management, HCM and MDM module and skills experience, you're suddenly paying a lot more," says David Foote, CEO of the research group.

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