British small-to-medium businesses (SMB) spend less than £1,000 each a year on security software.
A survey of more than 7,500 SMBs by Panda Security found that 98 per cent of companies are spending less than £1,000 per annum on security solutions and 51 per cent spend less than £300 per annum.
For British companies with security solutions in place, anti-virus emerged as the main protection being used; with all respondents claiming to have anti-virus in place, followed jointly by firewalls and anti-spyware (86 per cent), anti-spam (71 per cent) and web filters (43 per cent).
Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, claimed that the important statistic is not that the UK is spending less, as it is normal in this sort of financial situation that companies want to save money.
Corrons said: “Reducing spending is nothing as some will use free anti-virus and some is good enough and can protect computers so it should not be a problem. Why buy anti-virus when you get it for free? What is stupid is a business not having any security.”
The survey also revealed that 22 per cent of companies either do not have, or do not know if they have, any security solutions in place. In the UK, 80 per cent of those without security (who all use PCs in their business) claimed that they did not believe that they need it. In contrast, the main reason cited elsewhere in the world for not installing security software was cost.
Nigel Stanley, practice leader for security at Bloor Research, commented: “Saving pennies in this day and age by using free security software shows smart thinking by UK SMBs. Any business, of any size, that operates without security software is behaving recklessly and they need to sort themselves out or they won't have a business left after they get hit by a malware attack.”
The UK is also the largest user of free security software, with 57 per cent of SMBs with security solutions in place using free software, against a European average of 38 per cent.
“Usually free software is for the home and not for the business. You need to manage your computers and with a free solution you don't have a central console and cannot do that,” said Corrons.
“In spite of the low levels of spending, the level of protection offered by free software seems to be keeping infections at reasonable levels in comparison to other European countries.”