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Email marketing firm emedia said the survey showed UK companies ‘sleep walking’ as virus and spam attacks increase.
The study found that many companies are not planning to invest significantly in IT security.
The survey of 100 UK IT managers and directors across the technology, finance, construction, education, transport, health and telecoms industry sectors found that 70% will be spending less than £10,000 this year.
Over half felt that security was not a top priority for senior management, and only five per cent took the view that cost was the most negative effect on their business from a security incident.
Instead they saw time spent (53%) and disruption (36%) as the biggest negative effects.
One in eight companies polled admitted that they do not update antivirus software frequently enough, leaving one month or more between updates. And five per cent of respondents said their company was currently infected with a virus.
Thirty per cent of senior IT managers surveyed felt that the most important improvement that could be made was to keep antivirus technology up-to-date.
Other areas highlighted for improvement were staff education (26%) and security skills (20%)
. Some 61% of respondents think that security incidents will get worse in 2005.
David Clark, managing director at emedia commented: ‘The battle against viruses continues to rage. Companies can not afford to overlook the effective use of the tools available.’