Safe Computing Strategies for Small and Midsize Businesses

By Shawn Dougherty July 9, 2014

Shawn DoughertyNowadays, you don’t have to be a large corporation to attract the wrath of hackers. Limousine companies, escrow firms, and even hay-compressing companies have become the target of cyber attacks in recent years. According to an article in PCWorld, 20 percent of small businesses are victims of cyber crime each year, and of those, some 60 percent go out of business within six months after an attack.

Fortunately, there are actions that companies of all sizes can take to help keep their information systems safe. In February, I wrote about what I call the “Three I’s” of computer virus protection: Install, Inform, and Insure. The first “I” is for installing antivirus software (AVS), and the last “I” is for insuring your company. Today, though, is just about the second “I” — which stands for informing staff.

To protect a business from cyber attacks, it’s critical that employees understand the basics of cyber security and the dangers of opening suspicious e-mails, attachments, and links to unfamiliar websites. They should also know the importance of saving their work somewhere other than their computer, whether it’s a company-owned server or the cloud. This will help make any future data restoration much easier.

Today, ISO announced a strategic collaboration with IDT911™ (IDentity Theft 911®), the nation's premier consultative provider of identity and data risk management, resolution, and education services. As part of the collaboration, IDT911 will be the ISO Businessowners Program vendor of choice for data breach avoidance and remediation services. (Earlier this month, ISO filed an optional cyber insurance endorsement for its Businessowners Program on a multistate basis with a March 2015 implementation date.)

The collaboration will also help ISO better understand the cost of data breaches and provide a more complete picture of cyber risk. In addition, ISO Businessowners customers will receive discounts on a comprehensive suite of services from IDT911.

To learn about ISO’s various cyber offerings, visit the ISO Cyber Risk Solutions website, www.verisk.com/cyber, or e-mail me at sdougherty@iso.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @doughertyshawn.


Shawn Dougherty

Shawn Dougherty is the assistant vice president of ISO's Specialty Commercial Lines Division. He is responsible for providing the overall direction, leadership, and client service for ISO's cyber liability (e-commerce), D&O (management protection), businessowners, crime and fidelity, financial institutions, employment-related practices liability, and professional liability (other than medical) insurance programs. He is also the ISO product manager for the Lloyd's Wordings Repository, an electronic database of policy wordings and clauses regularly used within the London market. Mr. Dougherty has worked at ISO since 1988.