Privacy, security & reflection key to doing business during COVID-19

Posted: September 22, 2020

When Nova Scotia’s economy began to feel the impact of COVID-19, businesses turned to professional services support to find information, and to help protect employees, clients, and their operations.

Cox & Palmer was swiftly called upon for legal advice. As a full-service organization, the Atlantic Canadian law firm is used to consulting on a wide range of topics. With over 200 lawyers across Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and Newfoundland & Labrador, the firm focuses on providing advice to people and businesses across a variety of industries. That is why, when COVID-19 numbers rose in Nova Scotia, the team was able to quickly apply their knowledge of the law on topics such as privacy, security, and human resources to the current environment.

The team at Cox & Palmer have identified a range of practical steps that local businesses can take to better deal with COVID-19.

Ensure secure screening and data collection measures

When developing screening and data collection measures, businesses must also ensure they implement practical, internal privacy policies that address the steps to be taken to collect, use, and disclose any personal information that may be COVID-related. Consequently, this privacy regime must also ensure that a data breach response plan is developed and tested to limit the risk of personal information related to the pandemic (and/or collected for a commercial purpose) being accessed by threat actors with malicious intent.

Limiting cyber risks for a remote workforce

For those businesses reopening but maintaining a significant remote workforce, it is critical that employees maintain vigilance against online threats and cyber risks – such as video phishing – that could arise from re-engaging clients on such platforms as Zoom and Skype. Corporate leaders should ensure their IT departments are fully engaged in the ongoing training of employees to ensure meetings are encrypted and passwords are required to enter online discussions. Almost as important for staff returning to the office will be their reducing the risk of disclosing confidential client data (or personal information) by rethinking their workspaces and maintaining a “clean desk” policy.

Get More Advice

From employer rights to cyber security, Cox & Palmer’s resource hub offers insights into the latest legal implications for people and businesses during COVID-19.

Examine COVID-19 HR policies

Businesses should also look closely at the success (or failure) of their COVID-specific HR policies with respect to workplace safety, remote work strategies, team building, and crisis communications. As many health experts predict either a resurgence of the virus when further travel bans are lifted or COVID-19 mutates into a second wave, employees (and customers) will expect businesses to be better prepared this coming fall and winter than when the coronavirus first arrived in Canada earlier this year.

Review corporate insurance policies

A further consideration may be to review your corporate insurance policy and coverage through the lens of how the coronavirus has impacted your operations. For example, the Insurance Bureau of Canada has recently released a report summarizing how business interruption policies work and when coverage may be triggered. Reviewing these reports again – and reaching out to your broker and legal counsel for guidance –may better prepare you for however the pandemic plays out over the rest of 2020.

Leaders should evaluate corporate response

What is critical for businesses in any type of crisis – pandemic or otherwise – is that leaders take time to carefully look at how their initial response unfolded, consider lessons learned, and implement any necessary organizational changes to improve how things will be handled in the future.

During this pandemic, those lessons are plentiful and happening in real-time. Business leaders can take advantage of these opportunities by seeing how things are unfolding as the coronavirus continues to spread (or re-emerges) elsewhere in the world and reframing their own response closer to home.

From updating internal HR policies to rethinking novel privacy considerations during the pandemic, now is the time to evaluate your response and think critically about what worked (and what needs improvement). COVID-19 is here for the foreseeable future. Now is the time to better prepare your team and your business because no matter what happens over the months to come, your customers and clients will expect nothing less.

Have a Story to Share?

Halifax Partnership’s Investor network is made up of approximately 100 private, public, and post-secondary Investors. Our Halifax Reopening series features insights, experiences, and best practices from our Investors as our city reopens and we return to business in this new environment. If you are an Investor and would like to contribute, please contact us.



This website uses cookies
This website uses cookies to improve user experience and analyse website traffic. By using our website without adjusting your cookie settings you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.