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Risk managers run scared of online cockups

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Companies are frightened about the risk to their reputations when they embark on e-commerce projects.

A survey of risk managers at the annual conference of the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (Airmic) also found unearthed concerns that it's difficult to get adequate insurance cover.

The Financial Times reports that half the risk managers quizzed said their firms used a separate brand name for their ebusiness ventures, in a move that could be seen as distancing a parent company from any online cockups its dot com arm might make.

Key risks in doing business online were identified as damage to reputations, fraud and intellectual property losses. Risk manager said that neither end users nor business managers understood these issues, and many wanted to see tougher ecommerce laws.

The main potential risks from e-commerce, Airmic members believe, are loss of reputation, fraud and intellectual property loss. Intellectual property and reputation loss were also the most difficult areas in which to obtain insurance cover which rather goes against the trend of more managed services firm offering 'hacker insurance', but there you go.

Three quarters of risk managers who responded to the survey said that neither employee-users nor management boards understood the risks associated with e-commerce.

David Audrey-Jones, head of security strategy at KPMG, backed up the findings of the survey that business managers were frightened of security, and delegated it to techie staff.

He said that this attitude was wrong, and boards need to take responsibility for security because it was an enabler for more efficient and profitable business. ®

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