The business impact of COVID-19 has and will far outweigh the financial crisis of 2008, and is changing on a daily basis. Massive changes in the economy, government regulations, and social dynamics have impacted almost every industry in Q1 of 2020. While one of the biggest challenges for organizations has been pivoting to their employees working remotely, there are several areas for concern that will provide widespread issues after, and even during, the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shift to working remotely has heightened the threat of cybersecurity for organizations. As ever-present issues have been magnified by the use of personal computers accessing company systems and data from unsecured internet networks. The risk associated with this includes:
- Lose of Patent / Intellectual Property
- Trade Secrets
- Sensitive Information on Personal Computers
- Devices Compromised by Fraud Schemes
While larger companies have IT protocols and procedures in place, smaller businesses don’t have the knowledge bases in-house or the ability to conduct computer forensics. As the dust settles and employees return to working in the office, understanding the exposure they have incurred will be critical for organizations as they move forward.
Unlike in 2008, the reach of COVID-19 has touched businesses on a global scale. Manufacturing, hospitality, supply chain, transportation, the list goes on and on, have all been confronted with a new reality. With that, terms, conditions, and deliverables of contracts, and more specifically upholding them, will be front and center. Areas of note are:
- Service Level Agreements (SLA’s)
- Pricing Guarantees
- Deliverable Deadlines
- Insurance Claims
While some organizations have already started to formulate strategies around force majeure to protect themselves from potential disputes, others are working equitably without strictly invoking contract clauses that might limit their liability.
Fraud is nothing new, and COVID-19 has unleashed a new wave of cybercriminal activity to exploit the worldwide pandemic. The lowest hanging fruit is offering up cures and remedies to the virus online. This extends to the sales of medical devices and even fake solicitations to donate to non-profit organizations. Other examples are:
- Medical Related Sales/Services
- Consumer Fraud
- Wire Fraud
There are plenty of resources available to businesses and individuals on how to avoid fraud during a disaster. But, unfortunately, it will not eliminate the number of cases that develop from this crisis.
The spike of patients in medical facilities has exposed areas of healthcare that may have needed improvement. This includes equipment, inventory, and training. Coronavirus has been the perpetual topic across mass media and social channels, and the exposure to the number of accounts of the experiences that patients have received from their healthcare providers has increased. Instance include:
- Limited Access to Language Interpretation
- Under Equipped Facilities
- Overworked Staff
Private and public entities have been quick to react to the unprecedented strain that healthcare professionals have had to endure. Even with these additional protections, there will be many cases in the coming months that will not be immune.
The effect of this crisis has hit every area of the workforce. Organizational values are now more transparent. Those businesses that truly are dedicated to their employees are coming to the forefront. Organizations with negative or outdated policies are being exposed and frustrated workers are reaching a tipping point. Issues coming to the forefront include:
- Wrongful Termination
- Hazard Pay
- Timesheet Fraud
As more and more human resources scenarios come to light, organizations that don’t pivot their human resource strategies will be at a higher risk for this expanding list of issues.
Business Moving Forward
There is an unlimited amount of unknowns that face the business world after COVID-19. While its difficult to predict what will change, or when, or how long until a ‘new normal’ is established, it is less daunting to look forward and understand what will still be in place. New and modified regulations will reshape the landscape, but as the dust settles there will be a new wave of litigation that comes out of how individuals, businesses, governments, and the world reacted to COVID-19.