Impact Of Web Technology On Business Information Technology Essay

Pa With a continuous specific state of growth in services and technologies, web 2.0 has made a significant impact on e-business. James (2010) defines web 2.0 as internet applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration. Web 2.0 technology used its power to make e-business a success. Koplowitz and Young (2007) outlined the three lenses through which web 2.0 can be viewed. The first stage being (i) Enabling technologies- which provide the infrastructure and building blocks for web 2.0 applications Derksen (2007a). The second stage Core application and features- which enables people to efficiently interact with other people, as well as, content and data. Koplowitz and Young (2007) further added that the third stage which is Behavioral shift – core applications and features promote new social behavior, business models and cultures.

The figure1, delineated by Koplowitz and Young (2007) to give a general review and underlying structure of web 2.0

Figure 1. The diagram above shows overview and structure of web2.0

E-Business which is an example of behavioral shift of web 2.0 is a process of carrying out business over the internet and it include administering and regulating internal processes such as finance, human resources and administration system as well as taking care of external process such as sales and promotion of products, supply of goods and services and customer relationships.

Companies who completely take part in e-business depend on web 2.0 technology to bring in existence and suitable value with quality to external customers.

2.0 Related work

Before the introduction of web 2.0, web 1.0 technology was the way to go. Basant Singh (2010) Web 1.0: The Internet before 1999, experts’ call it Read-Only era. The average internet user’s role was limited only to reading the information presented to him. The best examples are Web 1.0 sites were static and not often get changed. Users were able to visit sites, but could not mark effects or contribute to the site. Before web 2.0, companies developed software applications that users can download, but not able to see how the application works

Figure 2: This diagram shows technologies that evolved before and after web 2.0

We cannot state what will happen after web 2.0, but most of the internet experts say that web 3.0 provide high-quality meaningful content of web pages and services produced by individuals using web 2.0 technology. With web 3.0 technology, machines are able to carry out some tasks which are done by humans, tasks like reading web pages.

2.1 Web 2.0 Technologies

2.2 The inherent benefit of web 2.0 and e-business marriage

Since web 2.0 technology was introduced, companies have taken the time to find out the benefits brought by the gradual change. The benefits are strongly important to businesses that are using web 2.0. Some of the advantages brought by web 2.0 to e-business include the following:

Encourage innovation: Web 2.0 technologies support the dynamic processes through which a business develops and introduces new ideas, goods, services and practices. ()In today’s competitive marketplace, accelerating the pace of strategic innovation has become a key business objective.

Create flexible work arrangement: web 2.0 technology allows alternate arrangements or schedules from e-business. Employees may choose a different work schedule to meet their customer needs.

Establish virtual teams: Web 2.0 technologies brings about teams or group that physically don’t exist. Businesses are using virtual teams for work team in our global economy. Education business use this concept of virtual team to create discussion forums and message boards to talk about issues concerning their business of field of study

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Improve collaboration: Bringing up web 2.0 technology in e-business adds value to the business through collaboration. As the business grows, more people get involve and to reduce costs, an organization will need to outsource some of the resources and skills. Jointly working together by employees, will make a business and projects a success.

Connect remote employees: As far as one knows it is easier for businesses to reach its customers via web 2.0. Businesses use advanced internet and web 2.0 tools as communication channels. Employees can communicate with their office when working away from the office. Example: the use of Instant messenger to communicate with other employees in a remote area.

Increase retention among people who hadn’t felt a strong sense of belonging. Online students are more likely to be successful if they feel connected to the lectures and other students. Online education business provides students with a wide variety of learning options. To build student engagement web 2.0 tool like blog, wikis and interactive application are used.

Empirical evidence

eBay (an e-business) is doing well in the global marketplace and the use of mobile phone for a wider internet access has shown a remarkable growth in the business. ‘Customers are shopping more and more via their mobile phones with more than $600 million worth of sales transacted through mobile applications in 2009’ Dave Chaffey (2010). The use of Hubpages, a web 2.0 website gives an encore to writers and sellers to earn more money online. eBay site activity has totally changed since 1997. ‘In 2009, eBay had 90million active users globally, with the total worth of goods sold on eBay $60 billion which is equivalent to $2,000 every second’

eBay Inc. Income statement for Period Ending Dec 31, 2007, Dec 31, 2008 and Dec 31, 2009 shows that there was an increase in total revenue in the past 3 years

Period Ending

Total Revenue

Dec 31,2009


Dec 31,2008


Dec 31,2007


Figure 3: Report by Yahoo finance, 2010, eBay Inc. Income statement

Facebook Inc. is the operator and private owner of Facebook, a social network service and website that was launched in February 2004. CrunchBase (2010) Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million users. These are some of Facebook internal features that were forward brought by Web 2.0 technologies. Wiki: a collaborative space that can be edited by a person who have access to the site. Blogs: a group of notes written by user expressing their thoughts. User-General Content (UGC). RSS:

The results from CrunchBase show that there is a drastic increase in number of Facebook visitors every year.

Figure 4: Report showing Facebook number of unique visitors and year

2.3 Security risks which are inherent (exist as permanent) in doing e-business using web 2.0 technologies

As it has recently been revealed by McAfee Inc. that business leaders worldwide see the value of Web 2.0 in supporting productivity and driving new revenue, but the adoption of the web 2.0 technologies in electronic business is bringing in place the existence of security risks that companies need to think about and deal with. Companies need to put in place security measures to control these security risks at early stage of web 2.0 applications development.

Businesses are exposed to these common web 2.0 security risks.

Information leakage: employees may share information which is considered sensitive by the employer. Sharing of information can give company competitors an idea on what the company is working on, and how the business is been carried out. When you have the information up front identifying and attacking is easier.

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Authentication and authorization flaws: having access to certain information. A system without correct security controls (eg: people sharing accounts, weak passwords) will make it easier for hackers to have access to business information.

Insecure storage: when sensitive data sent to and from the client and server is not encrypted, using hard coding of keys and not safely storing of keys will expose business to hackers.

Insecure communication: an act of passing through not encrypted sensitive data will expose the business to danger. Emailing clear text passwords pose a threat to the business.

Cross site scripting: The weakness occurs when the data supplied by the user is sent to the browser without encoding the contents first

Cross site request forgery: David Rook (2009) A CSRF attack forces a logged-on victims browsers to send a pre-authenticated request to a vulnerable web application which then forces the victim’s browser to perform a hostile action to the benefit of the hacker

E-business is increasingly at risk from professional hackers, who target such businesses in order to commit data theft and fraud.

3.0 Lessons learnt from Web 2.0 technologies

As organizations are using web 2.0 technologies, they get some warning and encouragement from these technologies. We have learnt that hacker can log-in your account and access your mails. R Naraine (2010) Google has added a nifty new security feature to warn Gmail user when there are suspicious log-ins to their e-mail accounts. The feature is now being rolled into other browsers like Firefox and internet explorer and it will give a warning message to an affected user.

Web 2.0, social networking can put at risk corporate security. Cybercrime in on increase, and attackers use web 2.0 sites and social network sites to begin an attack. Another aspect that is disturbing is the mixing or combining of people s personal lives with their corporate lives. Employees will use company resources on their personal lives, eg online shopping and communicating with friends using company internet. These happen because employees don’t follow company security policies. Employees are encouraged to know and follow their company security policies; they should know what they are allowed to do and not to do.

A problem may also arise when the IT department no longer controls products which are connected on company network. This includes connecting devices like smart phones and untested laptops to application environment. User behaviors need to be controlled, eg types of devices being used to access information and the application used should be approved by IT department.

4.0 Types of web 2.0 technologies

As we have been talking about Web 2.0 technology, S Lew (2009) makes it clear by providing more details about the different types of web 2.0 technologies. Different outcomes are achieved from different settings and different approaches to web 2.0.

We have a consumer to consumer technology, which is all about social networking. There is a lot of information sharing through the use of tools like slideshare. A lot of direct user contribution to Wikipedia where people with knowledge of something contribute and add to the body of knowledge within these networks. The main aim of consumer to consumer is to connect people with friends and to connect people with same interest.

In Consumer to business, which is another type of technology we have many forums that helps people solve their issues for any organization. S Lew (2009) For example, Whirlpool is a telecommunication forum for Australians where consumers help consumers solve problems that they have with Telco companies. This is where people can get their problem solved for free.

Business to consumer is getting consumers to contribute and share their knowledge or feelings towards their products or services for the organization. The organization can choose to give a person who played part cash as a reward.

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Business to Business which is another type of web 2.0 technologies is about how two different and separate organizations can work together jointly and share useful information about each other for their own specific benefit. Supply chain organization can have a strong relationship with each other and can share information not only about their inventory status or production output but also information about key staff.

Internal Business web 2.0 technologies also called intranet is about internal social networking and collaboration within the organization. Tools SocialText and Telligent are commonly used in organizations for communication and information sharing. More control is required in this type of technologies as more confidential data could be exchanged. In intranet web 2.0 technologies, normally resources are limited and organizations need to provide with ability to use these resources as much as possible, platform will be a success if more people contribute and share information.

5.0 Recommendations

Gartner Inc. makes the following recommendations for enterprises adopting Web 2.0 technologies:

Secure coding is the best defence: Members of the coding team (software developers) should work together with the company development team to reduce vulnerabilities which come as a result from coding errors before deployment.

Use web vulnerability scanners: One of the vulnerability scanners, Rational AppScan which is commercial web Vulnerability scanner provide security testing throughout the application development lifecycle. Vulnerabilities such as cross site scripting can be scanned using Appscan.

Validate all input on the server-side: using a server-side validation control, to validate user input. The go thing about server-side validation is that validated data can be trusted and it works with all the browsers.

Protect internal users and corporate assets: the use of password by users to gain access to required applications. Stronger passwords are needed to protect your system. The best security policies should

Consider using application firewalls to block unauthorized access to the network while permitting authorized communication. Content monitoring and filtering tools should be used to ensure that data owners and security personnel know where the data is located and where it might be sent. Data loss protection systems should be put in place to prevent delivery surpassing protection against theft and accidental disclosure of confidential data. Examples of DLP are Symantec Data Loss Prevention and McAfee Data loss Prevention

THarbert (2010) says as further remark that businesses should ensure that their developers are paying attention to both general Web security and Web 2.0 security. Businesses should educate employees about vulnerabilities of web 2.0, including some of the new strategies that the attackers use. Harbet(2010) recommend bringing into existence and enforce policies regarding use of both external and internal web 2.0 sites.

6.0 Discussion and Conclusion

In this paper we have shown the changes that e-business have as a result or the use of web 2.0 technology. Businesses that act and make good use of opportunity provided by web 2.0 technology will succeed and benefit in their markets.

Literature review reveals that the introduction of web 2.0 technologies has made some of the early pioneers (eBay, Google, Amazon) who have set themselves firmly as powerhouse in the electronic business to gradually develop beyond their original scope of business.

The research includes identifying organizations which are completely involved and have benefited from web 2.0. We covered the security risks which are inherent in doing e-business using web 2.0 technologies.

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