Trust in Computing Research: 2 : Computing and the Internet (Audience breakdown)

In the first part of the series, we looked specifically at the general use of computing and the Internet. While some of the findings are as we had anticipated, we found several interesting results:

  • More than 95 percent of respondents worldwide are frequent Internet users.
  • Personal computers are still the most widely used devices, with smartphone use following.

The first part of the series highlighted that 95 percent of people use the Internet frequently. We wanted to then look at the breakdown Internet users – who and how frequently – as we theorized that frequency could be affected users’ jobs, devices and other factors.



 

Note: When we defined the frequency categories, it was originally suggested that  we provide survey respondents the following options:

  • “Do not use”
  • “Less than once a week”
  • “One or more times a day”

However, based on our usage patterns, we added higher frequency ranges to provide more precise data. This change has provided us with some interesting results.

For reference, from the introduction, the audiences are:

IT Professional: Plans, deploys, manages, or supports information technology for a company or organization.

Developer: Designs or customizes software applications or Web sites; writes or tests computer code; or manages a software development process.

Business/Policy Decision Maker: Makes business or policy decisions that direct a company or organization’s strategies, or determines how resources are allocated, but does not work in the IT department.

Information worker: Uses a computer at work as part of their job and is not part of the roles above.

Home User: Uses a computer solely at home for personal purposes.

We also created a new group called IT Responsibilities, that includes IT Professionals, Developers and Business Decision Makers. This group represents the people that have IT related roles at work.

[1] Internet Usage Frequency by All Audiences

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We can see that the more computing is required based on job responsibilities, the more frequently people use the Internet. Approximately 87 percent of those with IT responsibilities (those who self-identified as being IT Professionals, Developers or Business Decision Makers) use the Internet four or more times per day in contrast to home users, of which only 45 percent use it four or more times per day. Information workers are similar to those with IT responsibilities in breakdown, though perhaps with slightly less frequent usage numbers.

[1] Internet Usage Frequency by Audience Detail

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Let’s view this segmentation between those with IT Responsibilities and Home Users in a slightly different way. Looking at this chart, we see a confirmation that people with IT-related jobs have a higher frequency of usage compared to those for which the Internet is a non-professional requirement. In this case, in the highest frequency category, two and a half times the number of respondents with IT Responsibilities used the Internet more than 10 times per day compared to Home Users.

[1] Internet Usage Frequency for IT Responsibilities vs. Home Users

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In the survey, we also asked about Internet usage for entertainment, identified as social networking, streaming video, using the Internet for non-work related activities.

[2] Frequency of Use of the Internet for Entertainment by Audience

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Comparing home users with those having IT responsibilities, an immediate takeaway is that fewer home users use the Internet for entertainment purposes and with less frequency. Additionally, the gap between those with IT Responsibilities and Information Workers is considerably smaller than the gap to the Home Users. In this case, in the highest frequency category, nearly twice the number of respondents with IT Responsibilities used the Internet for entertainment more than 10 times per day compared to Home Users.

[2] Internet Usage for Entertainment Frequency – IT Pros vs. Home Users

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Importance of Computing

In the survey, we asked about the relative importance of computing for personal and business use.

When you start looking at different audiences, those with IT responsibilities are more apt to classify computing is important to them personally.

[3] Importance of Computing Personally by Audience

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The comparison below shows the more pronounced difference between how those with IT Responsibilities and Home users view computing personally.

[3] Importance of Computing Personally – IT Pros vs. Home Users

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Conclusions

In this second part of the series, we looked specifically at the general use of computing and the Internet with respect to the respondent audiences. The audience breakdown offered some additional insights to the previous post:

  • Nearly 93 percent of respondents use the Internet frequently for Entertainment, with those respondents having IT Responsibilities at work being the most frequent users.
  • Those respondents with IT responsibilities at work deem computing and the Internet significantly more important to themselves and their businesses than home users.

Make sure you keep watching the Microsoft Security Blog: http://blogs.technet.com/security for further analysis.


Sources and references

[1] Source: Trust in Computing Survey 2012, Q: How frequently do you use the Internet for computing tasks?

[2] Source: Trust in Computing Survey 2012, Q. How frequently do you use the Internet for entertainment?

[3] Source: Trust in Computing Survey 2012, Q. Overall, how important is computing to you, personally (non-work related)?