The survey, which looked at companies’ attitudes towards the use of e-mail, revealed two out of three businesses have had a virus attack via e-mail, despite having an automatic virus detection system in place.
Nearly one-third of respondents said they trusted their systems so much they were not worried about the threat of such attacks, even though recent estimates have put the cost of security breaches to businesses globally at £1.6trn in 2000.
David Yuile, managing director at Interliant, commented: “I am surprised at the level of e-mail complacency in light of its increasing use in business-critical transactions.
“Although businesses now rely to a great extent on electronic communication, they are not backing up this dependency in the same way as they would with traditional written media,” he argued.
Another surprising statistic to emerge was that although businesses view e-mail as a primary form of business communication (with 40 per cent of respondents sending 30 to 50 e-mails a day), more than 60 per cent of UK business managers were unable to place a monetary value on it.
Kevin Withnall, director of market research company Vanson Bourne, which carried out the survey, added: “Because e-mail has developed informally as a communication tool, it has not developed the necessary procedural formalities associated with other methods of written communication.”