Small companies must take precautions when designing their IT systems because of their greater susceptibility to spam email attacks, a new study warns.Security firm MessageLabs argues that if a small- or medium-sized enterprise was targeted by a deliberate spamming attack they would suffer server loss much quicker than a larger firm.This in turn has serious business consequences, both in terms of the costs of fixing the problem and any lost business immediately incurred, but also because of the serious risk to damaging customer relations.The report cites a company with 200 employees which typically handled around 700 emails a day; during an attack – which the firm was not prepared for – their systems were being asked to handle several million messages each day."Increasingly we've seen spam runs take place in a burst of activity lasting a few hours," said Paul Wood from MessageLabs."Spammers are sending large volumes of spam destined for individuals within organisations, to try to get round signature-based anti-spam [programmes]," he added.© Adfero Ltd