Companies want more help from software suppliers when dealing with "zero-day" attacks.
A global survey of 300 senior IT managers by patch management supplier PatchLink found that the increasing speed at which exploits are appearing after software flaws are discovered was their biggest security headache.
More than half of respondents wanted software suppliers to take a more flexible approach to releasing patches for zero-day exploits, while maintaining a monthly patch release date for unexploited vulnerabilities.
Three-quarters of IT managers said patch cycles, such as Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday, helped with planning, but more immediate threats had to be tackled sooner.
Microsoft is currently tackling three bugs in its Internet Explorer browser, with an exploit for one of them circulating on the internet since last week. Two firms have issued unofficial patches for the exploit, and 45% of survey respondents said they would consider such fixes, despite suppliers warning that third-party patches can potentially cause problems on users' systems.