Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Using words to battle cyber losses

By Brian E Finch

Words matter when it comes to cyber security.

With security concerns dominating today’s corporate planning from the board on down, the chief information officer (CIO) often comes in as a technical expert, providing an analysis of the threat environment and what measures should be taken to prevent successful cyber attacks. And of course, the CIO is there to explain what happened when the inevitable successful attack happens. However, CIOs can do much more — and better protect the corporate bottom line — with just a little thought and some assistance from their lawyers. By using some careful contract language developed in collaboration with counsel and contract administrators, CIOs can be in a prime position to shift liability away from their company in the event of a successful cyber attack.

Let’s start with a fundamental premise: when entering into a contract, the terms and conditions of the contract should be clearly spelled out, with each party’s responsibilities clearly defined. That’s something every first-year law student is taught and every good business executive knows by instinct…

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