This may be a good year to be an anti-spyware vendor.
Sixty-five percent of businesses--big and small--surveyed by Forrester Research said they plan to put money into protecting their systems from malicious and prying software programs in 2005.
Technology decision makers from 185 North American companies of all sizes participated in the survey. While 69 percent of large enterprises said they would purchase anti-spyware tools this year, only 53 percent of small and medium businesses said they'd go for such protection, it found.
The study exposed several cracks in firms' anti-spyware strategy. Almost 40 percent of respondents failed to put a number to the total number of their machines that have been infected. According to the rest, about 17 percent of their systems had already suffered from spyware, a number Forrester expects to climb to 25 percent within 12 months.
The survey also showed that although 80 percent of the companies already have anti-spyware tools, they were "introduced in an ad-hoc manner over the past two years to fix infected PCs," Forrester said.
Only a very few firms had any idea how many support calls are related to the spyware invasion. The 44 percent of respondents able to guess estimated it to be 7 percent. PC maker Dell, on the other hand, blamed 20 percent of support calls from its customers on spyware.
The most popular anti-spyware software tools in market are McAfee and LavaSoft's Ad-Aware, with 42 percent and 36 percent respondents using them respectively.
Forrester says the market is yet ready for consolidation, even though giants such as Microsoft and Computer Associates have gone for early acquisitions. In addition to buying out Giant Company Software, Microsoft recently released a beta version of its anti-spyware software.