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A third of brands suffered a cyber attack on their domains last year with security fears being the biggest domain management issue for brands, a new report by IP services provider Clarivate has revealed.
The report “2021 Global Business Survey: The growing role of domains in IP” released yesterday, January 27, is based on the survey of 1,100 IT, decision-makers from seven countries: China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US.
The global pandemic has accelerated digitalisation efforts worldwide, said the report. Consequently, organisations have boosted their investment in domain management to secure domains that are of paramount importance to their operations. More than half (53%) of respondents were spending more than $25,000 annually managing domain portfolios in 2020, up from 39% in 2019.
Jeff Roy, president, IP Group, Clarivate, said, “In today’s global, digitally-driven economy, domains are valuable IP assets and key to successful e-commerce strategies. Our research shows that organisations not only understand the commercial value of domains, they are also adopting a strategic view of their domain portfolios.”
According to the report, the most popular methods used to secure domains have evolved. Two-factor authentication remains the most popular option, increasing from 41% in 2019 to 53% in 2020. Meanwhile, registry locking leapfrogged into third place, up substantially to 39% in 2020 compared to 28% in the previous year.
Clarivate said that organisations realise that external expertise can help them navigate today’s domain security challenges, particularly so with global domain ownership.
However, 41% of respondents cited difficulties in overseeing security of numerous global domains and identifying trusted, reputable registrars or providers in each global region.
The report noted that organisations are prioritising brand protection to mitigate the growing risks of infringement, fraud and other abuse. Mitigating brand abuse is the biggest motivator driving domain registrations, according to half of respondents in 2020, a significant rise from 27% in 2019.
Even merely defensive domain names can present security risks, ranging from domain name system compromise to email spoofing if not configured correctly and managed securely: 72% of respondents indicated they have at least one inactive domain, 47% have more than 10 and nearly a fifth (19%) have more than 50.
As domain strategies evolve, so does usage of new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs) within domain portfolios. The report revealed that companies are moving beyond legacy gTLDs such as .com, .net or .org, and deploying new gTLDs including apple.store (Apple) and adidas.clothing (Adidas). In fact, more organisations have registered a new gTLD such as .clothing, .software and .consulting in 2020, with 53% doing so compared to 39% in 2019, the report noted.
The purpose for registering new gTLDs is maturing. While in 2019, respondents’ most common reason for registering a new gTLD was to further brand awareness (38%), in 2020, capitalising on potential commercial opportunity was the most cited factor (27%).
This marks a positive shift as organisations move beyond building awareness to grasping the commercial potential and strategic value of new gTLDs, said the report.
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Clarivate, cyber attacks, IP, domains, pandemic, COVID-19, digitalisation