While battalions of businesses are venturing into e-commerce, few are aware of the pitfalls. "New liabilities are showing up monthly," says Golden. "It's all becoming very complicated, very fast."
Golden discovered one of those near disasters at the Web site of an unwitting engineering firm that reinforces buildings in earthquake zones. Golden recalls the evening he was helping his son complete a sixth-grade project on earthquakes. After the boy went to bed, Dad continued their Internet search, and at one point logged on to that engineering firm's Web site. Golden clicked on one of the site's links and landed in a cyberporn site.
Danger! Danger! Beware of sticky situations--read Cyber Safety to make sure your site is on the same side as the law.
"The ISP told me it was a new link that an outsider had attached to that firm's page," Golden says. "Apparently, the engineering firm's webmaster hadn't checked the site in a while. If I had been a litigious person and my son had been there with me, I could have sued for emotional distress." The lesson: Check your Web site often for "surprise" links that might have been attached by mischievous hackers.
Many dotcom entrepreneurs are aware of the new problems, such as identity theft, hacking and denial of service--and some policies now provide insurance coverage for them. Coverage is also available for problems caused by computer viruses, data theft, system failure and privacy issues. Check with your agent to determine which companies are offering it, and do some comparison shopping.
"This is a challenge for the insurance industry because it's all so new and the suits are just being filed," Golden says. "You need to find out how Internet-savvy your insurance professional is."