Junk email and fax spam are eating away at SMEs' budgets -- almost as much as cleaning up the damage caused by a virus outbreak does.
Research from the Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate, which questioned 1,000 small businesses, found one in 10 small and medium-sized businesses believe they spend £10,000 a year dealing with spam. One in 50 businesses reported they'd spent the same amount rectifying the effects of a virus attack.
The cost of taking steps against malware can be a similarly financially draining experience, with preventative measures, such as firewalls, and the recovery of data after a low-level attack costing about £1,000 per SME.
And, unlike larger companies, SMEs get the raw end of the deal because they don't wield enough buying power to compel vendors to drop their prices.
A recent survey by the Computer Security Institute showed that the more seats a business has, the smaller its security cost. Companies with annual sales of more than $1bn typically paid a little more than $100 per worker on security, while companies with revenue of less than $10m spent an average of $500 per worker, the survey revealed.
Even the humble fax is lifting cash out of SMEs' corporate wallets -- over half of the businesses questioned said they spent up to £500 a year dealing with unwanted marketing faxes.
CNET News.com's Robert Lemos contributed to this report.