Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall 2010

social media, risks, managing, controll
With the increasing use of social media in the workplace, companies can take effective steps to manage the risks associated with these activities.  Many businesses are finding clever ways to leverage Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking websites to their advantage.  While usage may be beneficial, high on the list of concerns should be the potential for employees posting information that could expose the company to legal liability, leak trade secrets, or damage the reputation of the company.

Although there is not absolute protection from lawsuits, companies that demonstrate a commitment to responsible use of social media are in a better position to defend themselves.  The following steps can be very effective:

Create an internal social media business-use policy:  Companies should notify employees that use of all forms of electronic communications in ways that are illegal, contrary to the company’s interests, or in violation of antidiscrimination policies will not be tolerated. This includes blogging, texting, and instant messaging.

Communicate the policy to employees and enforce it:  Employees should be trained to follow the electronic-use policy and be aware that their activities are being monitored.  Communicate established consequences for policy violations, and follow through when issues arise.

Consider cyber insurance:  This new form of business insurance is designed to pay for losses associated with data compromise as well as media or web content liability.  More information on cyber insurance is included below.


data, loss, breach,

data, breach, loss, protection,

Your standard business owners policy may provide some coverage for damage to your physical computer equipment if caused by a covered loss.  However, you may need additional insurance protection to insure your company’s operating data, your website, and private customer data.  Cyber insurance can provide coverage for repairs, lost business, and lawsuits over loss of confidential data. 

Types of cyber insurance coverage:

Privacy and security liability: 
If private employee or customer data is compromised due to faults in your systems or theft by hackers or disgruntled employees, you will be held liable.  This coverage protects you from liability exposures associated with this risk. 

Crisis management:  
This coverage generally provides reimbursement for expenses incurred to restore lost or corrupted data and to get your systems back up and running.  The policy may also cover expenses for the use of consultants, public relations, and advertising to rebuild your reputation and restore consumer confidence after an incident. 

Business interruption, denial of service attack, and lost income: 
If your service provider (i.e. web host) has downtime due to a cyber attack, has a glitch, or goes out of business, this coverage will help cover resulting losses you may incur.  This can include lost revenue, costs for restoring valuable data, and costs to repair systems.   

Cyber extortion: 
If you receive a threat of attack on your computer system or website coupled with a demand for money to avert or stop the attack, this is cyber extortion.  Coverage for this risk will generally cover the settlement and the cost of hiring a security firm to track down the extortionist.

Media or web content liability:
This coverage protects you from claims of libel, slander, copyright, and trademark infringement for content, slogans, and photos on your website.  It also protects you from liability exposures associated with banner ads on your website representing other businesses. 

Here are some things you can do on your own to minimize the risk of data loss: 
  • Back up your data regularly 
  • Use off-site storage
  • Encrypt your data
  • Run a virus scan regularly
  • Use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
  • Keep your computer in a safe environment  
  • Have a recovery plan in place
 Source:  Small Business Review 

insurance, benefits, personal, commercial