Nearly half of a working day for the average SME employee is now spent online, according to new research.Data gathered by research company IDC for MessageLabs and McAfee found that at least 40 per cent of the SME working day is now spent accessing online information, such as the internet and email.Indeed, the report reveals that 87 per cent of SMEs use email as an important communication tool. Nine out of ten SMEs actively use the internet to achieve their business goals."The internet has provided a convenience to SMEs to do business, but has also opened the door for complex threats," said Vimal Solanki, senior director of worldwide product marketing for McAfee.In fact the report found that IT professionals employed by SMEs were increasingly aware of the threats posed by the internet - 80 per cent said they feared the impact threats such as email viruses could have on their system.Because of this, SMEs expect to up their IT spend in the coming year. In the next 12 months, 90 per cent of SMEs say they will spend more on IT security. This represents a 20 per cent increase compared to 2006.Separately, scmagazine.com reported that McAfee has revealed that 55 per cent of SMEs believe that an employee whose personal email spreads a virus on the company's network should be held responsible.© Adfero Ltd