Several months have passed since I posted my last blog. No excuses, but adapting to a pandemic has been my major priority. Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for everyone across the globe.
Stay at home orders
All situations that most people would never have fathomed in January of 2020. But like some famous person once said, "never let a crisis go to waste." The challenges created by the pandemic have created many opportunities to explore and implement new concepts for the future of work and commerce.
Those who stared at computer screens, responded to emails, and made phone calls all day as part of their job soon realized that they could perform the same functions at home. No need to commute to a central office environment when all we need is a computer, internet connectivity and a phone to be productive.
Some professions that would never have embraced virtual environments have been forced to adopt to a world that shuns in-person interaction. For example, the pandemic has been a godsend for many who advocated the approval and implementation of tele-health. Many realized that for routine visits to a health provider, there is no reason to visit a doctor’s real office. Just take your own temperature, take your own heart rate and call a doctor.
Ordering items online and picking them up at stores has become a normal business activity. It really is puzzling why retailers never implemented curbside pickup before 2020. Better yet, ordering online and having items delivered is how many consumers expect to shop (well, maybe Amazon put several more retailers out of business during the pandemic).
What Have I Been Doing?
Personally, I took this period to push the envelope of my expertise. I started online courses at University of South Florida in digital forensics and cybersecurity. Eventually, I decided to make it official and pursue a Master’s of Science in Cybersecurity. All online courses!
As a litigator, I am usually in court several times a month. As you can imagine, I have not been in court since last year March. All my court hearings have been conducted remotely using Zoom (ohh wonderful Zoom).
Last year March, several mediators were totally against conducting remote mediations. Mediators quickly realized that if they wanted to earn an income during a prolonged pandemic, they better figure out how to effectively conduct remote mediations (Zoom to the rescue once again). All my mediations have been by Zoom, and all were successful.
What about client interaction? I’ve seen more clients virtually than ever before. What used to require a short trip or sometimes a long plane ride to see a client, now is as convenient as logging into a remote meeting platform.
Trials you ask. Last week, I observed a jury trial by Zoom. In my personal opinion, jury trials through remote platforms might become more common, or even the preference for trials in the future.
Yes, we have seen an uptick in adverse cyber events (hacks, ransomware, DDoS) because everyone is relying on cyberspace to survive in a pandemic. I liken this to everyone gathering at a subway station at rush hour in Paris – pickpockets are lurking. So, now that everyone is gathering in cyberspace, hold on to your virtual wallets and be vigilant.
Hooray for Convenience
All in all, the pandemic has shown us that what used to be considered mere convenience – remote work, tele-health, virtual trials, online purchases and delivery – is now the way companies and professionals will conduct business in the future.
~ Florida Cyber Lawyer, Robert Stines, Esq., CIPP