August 10, 2007 6:33 AM PDT

Gartner: Risky business in virtual worlds

Companies need to think about security and risk management before they get too excited about virtual worlds, according to analyst group Gartner.

The risks businesses face as a result of getting involved in virtual worlds can be significant, according to Gartner vice president Steve Prentice. These risks shouldn't be ignored, he said--but neither should the potential opportunities and benefits that arise from using these new environments for corporate collaboration and communications.

Gartner said the issues facing corporations fall into five categories:

IT risks
According to the analyst group, the IT risks of virtual worlds concern the applications needed to run virtual worlds being downloaded to desktop systems. And while there are no indications that these client applications represent a higher risk than other comparable applications, Gartner said that, at this time, the high frequency of updates makes the control of a large application difficult.

Identity and access management
It's difficult--if not impossible--to ensure that any avatar is an online version of the real-life person it claims to be, according to Garter.

This lack of verifiable identity control or access management is a "major deficiency" in public virtual worlds and is having a significant impact on the potential use of virtual worlds for internal-collaboration purposes, the analyst house said.

As a result, companies should seriously evaluate the availability of private virtual-world environments, hosted internally and existing entirely inside the enterprise firewall.

Confidentiality
Discussions involving confidential and commercially sensitive information shouldn't take place inside Second Life or any other virtual world--or in an open, Internet-supported social-networking site, Gartner warned.

But by moving to a private virtual world, the issues of privacy, confidentiality and identity can be controlled. The analyst also says non-U.S. organizations may wish to avoid virtual worlds that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction because this may result in stored information being subject to legal scrutiny.

Brand and reputation
Uncontrolled virtual worlds represent an environment "fraught with danger" for enterprises that are sensitive to brand and reputation issues, the analyst said, so enterprises should exercise extreme caution in their virtual-world activities.

Productivity
Many senior executives view virtual worlds as a waste of time, as well as computing and bandwidth resources. But while unconstrained use of virtual worlds for all staff is "probably inappropriate and unnecessary," enterprises should keep an open mind and evaluate trials carefully to avoid premature and inappropriate decisions, it said.

Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.

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3 comments

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This is a joke, right?
I mean - the whole Point of a Virtual Reality is to escape (for awhile) from the soul sucking reality people are born into. The very idea of corporations trying to tame something not meant for them fills me with dread.
Who cares about cash flow, identity management or companies pushing a brand in a virtual world: None of it is REAL.
Posted by Marcus Westrup (630 comments )
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Um, apparently not
I just got invited to IBM's second life site.

IBM in a virtual world. Crazy.
Posted by sysopdr (16 comments )
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Obviously LL Does Not Care !
I just wish to place something about SL out on the internet because it is so very obvious that LL does not care what their customers think and I am past fed up with how LL pretty much ignores anything to do with complaints.

I cannot find where to write to LL as in where anyone would actually read the darn email and if read I cannot find anyone who cares what is written, again I am past fed up with how LL ignores complaints.

I have come to the conclusion that LL must think that people will actually continue to spend their money in land so LL does not care when a person actually decides they are fed up enough to stop spending their money in land. I have decided that LL must think that there will always be enough people to buy land and pay high monthly tier so they do not need to be concerned about the current spenders.

I do feel that LL will eventually bite their nose of to spite their face and if it does not happen through the lack of care of big spenders within SL then I guess it will happen with the, what seems to be, more important issues like banning gambling etc ...
If that is what has to do it then that is fine by me because I am so sick of LL not taking care of their big spenders.

I personally do not care about the gambling as I do not gamble and if LL is going to lose customers because of the ban on gambling, I would think LL might would stop and realize they better take care of the customers they do have that have no concerns over the gambling ... BUT instead, LL still does not care and obviously thinks they will have customers no matter what ...

I do feel that the sex industry in SL is big enough to keep LL in business as I found myself sickened to read my home town newspaper, The Tampa Tribune, and learn that one of the sex items creators is making over 40K each year in one type of item they have created ... not including all of the many other items and ways to make money ... I found myself sick to read that this creator is a local person of my home town and my mother knew this persons elderly family members who owned a local business and this person has made so much money on sex in SL that they have sold the family business ... it is sickening to have it confirmed that this real world is truely a sick place and sex will most likely keep LL in business, therefore LL does not care that they ban gambling, nor does LL care about us who have paid high monthly land tiers ... with sex being the big sale, LL does not need anyone else and it is made very clear there are enough sex deprived people in this world to keep LL in business.

I have paid high monthly land tiers ever since I got to SL because I love building and creating. I do not build and create to sell anything and I do not try to make money in SL. I came to SL to build and create for my own personal hobby fun.

I have been in SL since October of 2005 spending a whole lot of money in land purchases and high monthly tier. I am one of LL's big spenders and I probably have spent a lot more than any private island owner as I have had no desires to own a private island and do prefer living on the mainland owning over a half of a sim to myself for my own building hobby fun.

I have owned land in quite a many sims on the mainland in my moving around to get away from things that LL should be tending to but LL does not and the only thing I can do is sell my land pretty much at a loss and move to get away from violators ...

As I have owned a lot of land in SL, the problem that I have constantly run into is the fact that people are very inconsiderate and perhaps too ignorant to know how to stand at the property lines and keep their frigging items on their own side. It has been a constant loss for me as others have trees hanging so far onto my land they stick into my builds and not only trees but their buildings far over the property line inside of my buildings and builds ... what is on one side of the center cannot be removed by me so that means from one very edge side of the center is on my land and I can do nothing about it but to give up that portion of my land to the person on the land next to me ... or move and lose money of which the latter is what I have done repeatedly in order to get away from this mess.

Before any loss of money due to having to move I have ALWAYS sent in tons of abuse reports along with snapshots showing the property lines and just how far over people are onto my land and with their trees and buildings inside of my buildings and creations ...

I have always gotten emails from LL with notice the issue has been taken care of and I sit here and cuss them out under my breath as I read their emails stating the issue is taken care of while I am logged into SL still looking at the trees and buildings sticking far over onto my land of which I pay price to own and I pay the high monthly tier to maintain it.

High monthly tier to me is 125 a month and I read supposedly we are valued customers but I have found that to be just some bs line that is not of any truth to it as LL truely does not care.

As I have accepted this constant loss due to selling land very cheap just so that I can move elsewhere to a place where for a time is no trees and buildings sticking into mine due to any ignorant and rude neighbors, I have recently had an encounter with a linden employee that has caused me to say to heck with it all, I will not support LL any longer with big land tiers.

I have always tried to keep half of my prims freed up as my way of helping to keep lag down as low as is possible. I do not use very many scripted items as another way to help keep down on the lag. I have figured being that I own over half of a sim then what I do can affect the sim in a very major way.

I had 4000 prims freed up, not using them even though I did in fact pay high land tier to use them. I got sick of the fact that when I go up in my balloon and accidentally fly over my property lines soon I will be kicked off of my balloon because of all of the people who think that secure orbs and property ban lines are so vital to them. In all my BIG land purchases and moves I have yet to find such security so needed and these things are in fact a bigger grief than any griefer.

Anyhow ... SO ... I did put up 100x100 clear walls that had borders around the edges facing my land just for me so that I could see while in the sky where my land stopped so that I would not cross over to other lands so that I could actually enjoy my balloon ride. Owning over a half of a sim is plenty of room for me to enjoy a nice balloon ride as long as I can stay on my own land.

I was fine that even though I have begged and pleaded to no avail for LL to please remove these trees and buildings out of my items because the people do not ever so nicely come remove their crap when you nicely ask them as LL seems to think that all you have to do is ask the neighbor nicely ... I have had several people dare me to turn in abuse reports as they have laughed stating that LL will do nothing ... what bs that is !!! ... I have tolerated this since day one of being in SL ...

So here I have lost tons of money tolerating this and even being told by one linden that they cant remove an item from my land because they will get into trouble as LL prefers that the owner of the item removes their own item ... Here comes along a linden to remove my personal border walls that I put up ...

This linden left an IM stating not to use that many mega prims as it uses resources ... I was fine with that, no big deal ... even though I have 4000 prims freed up using a lot less resources than the majority in SL ... but ok that was fine, those big walls were not like all that necessary ....

BUT THEN ... this linden employee also removed my 40x40 balloon to my balloon home I had created to live in the sky and he removed my 50x50 work space deck ... Like he was not allowing me the use of any mega prims at all whatsoever and here I owned over half of this sim with 4000 prims not being used and my neighbor owning a lot less land using mega prims out the rear on his land ...

SO ... I decided okkkkk you want to be this ignorant ??? ... You want to pee off your highest paying customer by not allowing them the use of any mega prims at all whatsoever ? ... Yet you leave ALL of the MANY mega prims on the land next door to a land that is not even a fourth of what I own and this neighbor has their prim allowance maxed out, meaning I pay the high tier yet they are allowed to use up all of the resources ??

I am in process of selling this big land and it will be the last for me ever. I will NEVER buy land in SL ever again, I will never have a tier payment EVER again ... I have had enough of LL's bs and it is in fact total BS ....

I will continue to play in SL, I do rent a small place from a friend and I have always kept this place to rent just as a place of solitude for me for when I really want to disappear and be alone but this rent payment is covered by my weekly stipend so no cost to me out of my real pocket except to keep my yearly membership with SL ...

I do repeat ... This is finally IT ... I have had past enough and I will never again support LL with my money as LL does not appreciate the business.

I have wanted to complain to LL about this linden who took upon himself to play God but I have yet to ever write in to LL where anyone ever seemed to really actually read the email so that is absolutely useless ...

With this ... I have decided to go all over the internet and anywhere I find that I am allowed to post a posting ... I am going to say what I have said here in this posting ... I do not know that you allow this but I am giving it a shot ... I am sick enough of the massive loss of cash to me and the total lack of concern by LL and I will spread it all over the internet being as LL doesn't read emails like this nor would they care about it if they did !!

LL seems to think there will just always be customers and with the sex being such a big thing LL may very well be right but I will say my say regardless !!

Thank You to anyone who has taken time to read this and Thank You to anyone who actually cares about what I have posted.
To All A Great Life
:o)
Cherry
Posted by Cherry Bobbery (1 comment )
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