Small-to-medium businesses in the UK are the biggest users of free security software.
According to the annual international barometer of security in SMBs, Panda Security found that there are still a sizable number of companies (17 per cent compared with 22 per cent last year) who either do not have or do not know if they have a security system in place.
The survey also found that 14 per cent of UK companies have out-of-date security systems, 13 per cent of UK companies have no security system in place, while the main reason cited for not deploying a security system is the lack of importance, according to 57 per cent.
Overall, companies claim to have maintained a similar investment in security as last year, although 15 per cent of UK respondents claimed that their investment had significantly increased. Security training for employees continues to be low, with 46 per cent of UK companies not receiving any basic IT security training about threat avoidance.
Luis Corrons, technical director of Panda Security, commented that the survey results show that there is still a long way to go when it comes to educating people about the importance of having comprehensive security on their desktop.
He said: “The fact that 96 per cent of people have anti-virus systems installed but 46 per cent still experienced an internet-borne infection shows that anti-virus alone is not sufficient to protect companies from today's more sophisticated threats.
“The other alarming fact is the high percentage of users who are failing to update their security systems. It's extremely important to keep all security systems up-to-date to ensure that known vulnerabilities are properly patched. Users that don't apply the security fixes released by manufacturers run the risk of being targeted by cyber criminals, as these security holes can be used to infect or infiltrate systems.”