Spending less but better protected than Euro peers
Small and medium businesses in the UK appear to be using more free threat prevention software than their European counterparts and suffer fewer malware problems despite spending less on security tools.
British small and medium businesses are in fact the lowest spenders on IT security worldwide, according to a survey carried out by Panda Security, with over half (51%) of SMB companies spending less than €300 a year on security and 38% spending less than €100.
This is the lowest amount for any county worldwide and way below the European average, where just 36% spend less than €300.
Panda carried out the study by interviewing more than 350 companies in the UK with between one and 400 computers, and more than 7,900 businesses in 15 other countries.
In a report just published called International Barometer of Security in SMBs it notes that 57% of UK SMBs with security solutions in place are using free software. This comes out as the highest level globally, against a European average 38%.
“We found many organisations spend only a modest amount on security such as anti-virus, firewall, web filtering or anti-spam software,” Luis Corrons technical director of Panda told us. “The level was really low in the UK. The use of free software can make sense and is better than having no security in place at all.”
He said the assessment of the security habits of SMBs, revealed that as many as 22% of the UK companies polled didn’t have or didn’t know they have any security software deployed against potential malware threats. Elsewhere, that class of respondent averaged lower at18%.
Most of those companies in the UK who don’t have a security system, also explained that they had no intention of getting one in the short to medium term, despite the widespread availability of free security software.
AVG is perhaps the best known supplier of free security software with an anti-virus package said to be installed on as many as 85 million PCs worldwide. Panda itself has free security offers, with its web-based ActiveScan system and a client-based option known as Cloud AV. And today, Microsoft’s long awaited Security Essentials comes to the market, offering small businesses another option of free anti-virus software.
UK SMBs emerge as the biggest users of free security software, Corrons confirmed, but they also seem well practised at managing their security policies.
“The UK seems better at educating people about software security” he said, with companies also appearing conscientious in updating their security software. They are lax in patching other applications and servers, however, leaving them vulnerable to attack, Panda has suggested.
Overall though, “the infection rate in the UK is low,” Corrons said, noting that malware attacks caused 13% of British companies to stop production at one time or other, against an average of 36% in Europe.
The survey also found that 67% of respondents in the UK claimed to have someone dedicated to IT security, while the European average is 61%.