Staff misusing the internet by accessing inappropriate websites or engaging in excessive web-surfing remains the second largest cause of reported security incidents after viruses for large UK companie

Some 90% of all companies said protecting their reputation was one of the most important drivers for information security. Some 88% of business internet connections are now broadband, increasing the risk of damage to reputation through staff misuse of web or e-mail. In recognition of this, one and a half times as many companies have an acceptable policy for internet usage as two years ago: 63% of all companies and 89% of large ones have an acceptable usage policy. This is more than have an overall information security policy.

After the sharp rises in staff misuse levels seen two years ago, the number of companies affected has now stabilised, reflecting the impact of the improved levels of control. One in five companies overall was affected.

Two-thirds of large businesses had at least one misuse incident in the last year. Some small companies reported hundreds of e-mail abuses every day.

The survey findings are published in a factsheet - E-mail and web usage' - sponsored by security software specialist, Clearswift.