How Can A VPN Help Businesspeople

Historically, using a virtual private network (VPN) has been a time-consuming and complicated process, making it effectively inaccessible to most internet users. However, as technology has advanced, new methods of protecting privacy have become available. VPNs are a great way to secure all internet traffic by encrypting all data going in and out of the device. They do this by creating a VPN through which all data is sent. This data is encrypted and wrapped up in an encrypted tunnel, then sent through the internet to its destination. Although there is a range of benefits for the average internet user, what advantages do VPNs provide businesses?

Cost-effective

A VPN is often a cost-effective security measure that most businesses can operate. However, many large corporations will set up private VPNs. Multiple layers of security can be prohibitive for smaller companies. Nevertheless, there are lots of options they can choose from, the better-known brands offering competitive deals. You can see some NordVPN coupons here, which can save you even more if you are in the process of choosing a VPN. Nord VPN is among the most popular options due to the range of features they provide, making it straightforward for business people to protect themselves. Furthermore, they have a vast array of servers worldwide, which you want to see in a VPN.

Increased Security

Businesses find themselves in a never-ending battle against cybercriminals. With the emergence of new technologies, like VPNs, business owners have more ways to protect their systems and data sources. As the lines between business, personal, and public life continue to blur, it’s more important than ever for companies to get the most from their network infrastructure. The best way to gain this is by investing in a VPN service, which provides an encrypted tunnel between your internal network and the public internet. These services are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of users.

Protect Your Important Data By Encrypting It

These tools are a proxy network that uses encryption to secure your internet connection. Most VPNs use a client-side solution to encrypt traffic and provide an IP address to the client. Using a VPN, you do not have to install any software on the client end since the VPN does it for you. This is great if you are an average consumer looking to protect your banking information, but it is vital for businesses. If you regularly deal with sensitive information pertaining to business operations, this encryption adds an extra layer of safety.

Public Wi-Fi Protection

Most busy businessmen and women will usually find themselves conducting business on the go. This invariably means that they will be connecting to public Wi-Fi networks wherever possible. However, these can pose unacceptable security risks. Public Wi-Fi security is getting more attention these days because of the increasing number of incidents that involve people being attacked and the use of public wifi hotspots and other devices being hijacked by hackers. The reasons are numerous. The routers themselves are poorly secured and have default credentials. In addition, hackers are taking advantage of this by exploiting the weak security to steal sensitive data or infect devices with malware or ransomware. This leaves two options: stop working (which is often not an option) or use a VPN.

Multi-device Protection

Nowadays, smartphones are the most commonly used devices to access the internet, especially on the go, which is why it is crucial to have a VPN on your phone in addition to your computer or laptop. Many VPN providers allow you to connect multiple devices simultaneously, so you can protect your computer, smartphone, and tablet from being compromised. It is ideal if you regularly use multiple devices or ensure that all the devices on your network are protected to use a VPN that provides this multi-device capability.

What Should A Business VPN Include?

While you might not be as concerned with online privacy as you are with online security, you still want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for when it comes to VPN services. It can be challenging to decide which VPN is right for you, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

Speed

You all know that VPNs are a great way to bypass internet restrictions and increase safety. However, we may not be aware of the impact VPNs can have on download speeds. Since your data is being routed via encrypted networks, there will be some slow down in speed. However, the better-quality vendors offer different options that allow you to improve this if needed, such as choosing other servers worldwide.

Number Of Servers

One thing to look out for is the number of servers under the control of the VPN provider you choose. The more they have, the better it will be for you. More servers mean more choice, so if something goes wrong, like your speed slowing down, you can change over to another.

Security

Security levels can vary from one provider to the next. Tunnelling Protocols, such as Point-to-Point, are faster. Despite these advantages, though, it is still considerably less secure than OpenVPN, which utilises SSL/TLS.

Data Logging

Data kept by VPN providers about the usage of their service is called VPN logs. It is imperative to remember that your internet service provider has access to everything you do online. Your VPN provider now has access to everything that is ordinarily visible to your ISP. Therefore, you must find a provider that doesn’t keep any form of log data.

Cost

Smaller businesses will often be on a budget, so checking costs is vital. Luckily, most VPN providers offer affordable, multi-year deals. However, don’t only choose on price, other features are just as important.

Support

As a businessperson, you need to focus on the job at hand. So if anything happens to your VPN, you want a dedicated helpline or email to contact. They should at least have a comprehensive help section on their website.

A VPN is a vital tool for busy people always on the move. They can protect data using encryption and provide security in public locations. Numerous options are available, and you must consider them all carefully to make the right decision.

Top Reasons Why Healthcare Businesses Get Sued In 2021

Healthcare businesses work in one of the most sensitive and risky fields, human error or negligence can cause life-threatening problems, and can even lead to death. The stakes are high when dealing with a patient’s health, when things go wrong, it can leave healthcare businesses vulnerable to lawsuits. There are around 85,000 lawsuits filed for medical malpractice every year, and an estimated 1 million injuries related to medical care, in the US alone! With the worldwide pandemic, there are now even more cases than ever. Here are some of the top reasons why healthcare businesses get sued in 2021.

Delayed Diagnosis And Misdiagnosis

The most common cause of lawsuits filed against healthcare professionals is that of misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis. With about one-third of all cases pertaining to these reasons. The problems that can come from an incorrect diagnosis can be severe, with no fault on the patient, with many cases leading to incorrect or unnecessary surgery, the prescription if incorrect drugs or a serious issue can go untreated. Up to 12 million patients are affected by misdiagnosis each year, with up to 80,000 deaths related to negligence in diagnosis.

One of the top things a healthcare business can do to avoid lawsuits is to prevent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis by putting in extra effort and care in the diagnosis process with patients. Healthcare professionals should seek a second opinion on complicated diagnoses, they can also work with nurses to do a preliminary diagnosis to determine the priority of patients. Having a well-trained and competent staff that can spot serious issues and double-check a doctor’s diagnosis can save lives and reduce the risk of ending up in court.

Mistakes With Prescription Drugs

The American Food and Drug Administration is said to receive upwards of 100,000 medication error reports annually. Wrongly prescribed medication is a big problem and is one of the top reasons why healthcare businesses get sued.

Medication errors can come from both patient/caregiver and healthcare professionals. There are nine types of medication errors from healthcare businesses that could lead to a lawsuit, including failure to prescribe a drug, prescribing the wrong drug or dosage, failure to take into account a patient’s medical conditions or drug allergies, or prescribing drugs unlawfully. This is unfortunately quite common with up to 1 in 5 American patients who have received a medical error during hospital stays or receiving health care. Doctors, pharmacists, and caregivers can all be liable for suing from errors with prescription drugs

Medical Procedure Errors

In the United States, there are around 4,000 surgical errors each year, with some resulting in death. Medical procedures and surgeries pose risks either through error, medical complications or because of the complexity of a procedure. When we go in for an operation we are putting our lives in the hands of the medical professionals, but sometimes errors will occur and could lead to a lawsuit from the patient or their families. Some of these errors can include performing surgery on an incorrect body part, performing a procedure on the incorrect patient, complications with anaesthesia, not following proper medical procedures, or even leaving medical materials inside the body. Medical malpractice cases end 96.5% of the time in settlements, with the average malpractice settlement in The United States is around $300,000 and can have huge implications for any healthcare business.

Medical Malpractice Claims Due To COVID-19

Throughout 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the planet, hospitals and healthcare professionals came under a huge amount of pressure from dealing with the virus and the increased number of patients. Through April and June of 2020, there was a 400% increase in medical malpractice reports, with the increase being linked to COVID-19. Following proper pandemic procedures, sourcing the correct medical equipment, and giving proper support to medical staff can help reduce the chance of medical malpractice in the very trying and difficult conditions that have been experienced due to the pandemic.

What Actions Can Be Taken By Authorities?

If a healthcare business is suspect of fraudulent activity or medical malpractice, it may be subject to investigation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). If you suspect your healthcare business is under investigation, you may need some OIG investigation tips to help avoid some of the consequences of a conviction. If a healthcare business is in an investigation, it can lose funding from federal programs, receive sizable fines, and can even face criminal charges and medical licenses revoked.

Healthcare Businesses Should Keep Up With The News

Keeping up with current events in any field is important for any business. For businesses in the healthcare industry, it can be important for following medical developments, pandemic-related news, and news relating to medical lawsuits or changes in medical malpractice policy. You can follow or use certain news platforms to follow industry-specific developments or to publish press releases relating to the field. Taking these steps can help any business interact with other professionals in the industry and keep up-to-date with industry news and developments.

Fraud

Finally, Fraud can be a huge issue in the medical field, with over 300 convictions and over $6 billion in fraudulent claims. Both patients and medical practitioners can be convicted of fraudulent activity and can even result in jap time. The economic cost of fraud can be huge, with an estimated 3-10% of all medical expenditure being fraudulent.

Medical malpractice and fraud will continue to be a big issue throughout the rest of the year. With huge pressure on the healthcare system due to the ongoing pandemic, it will continue to be a difficult and stressful time for healthcare professionals and businesses. Following proper medical practices and taking pandemic precautions seriously will be required to help reduce the instances of healthcare businesses facing lawsuits, fines, loss of licenses, or criminal convictions. It is the responsibility of every healthcare business to take rigorous measures to make sure their standards and practices are of the highest possible, and all precautions are taken to ensure the safest and most honest treatment for its patients, and the proper care and support for its medical employees.

Planning to Relocate Your Business? Here Are Some Moving Tips

Moving your business can be a daunting idea, but sometimes changes have to happen, and if you are planning on relocating your business then you have come to the right place. You need to plan your relocation carefully and thoroughly to ensure a smooth transition without any unforeseen problems. To help you make this happen we have put together 7 of our top tips for moving businesses and offices.

1. Start Planning Now

There is no time like the present, and as soon as you have made the call to relocate your business you need to start planning immediately. There will be a lot of details to consider and a lot of things that you need to research. This might sound as though moving will be an overwhelming process, but if you get a grip on the planning stages early on then the process will be very manageable. Naturally, if you leave everything to the last minute this is when things can get tricky and obstacles that you did not plan for will certainly arise and cause issues in the moving. Ideally, prepping at least 6 months before a move will give you enough time to plan all the nitty-gritty details. For instance, will you need cables and wires installed at the new office? Do you need to hire engineers to set up systems? The last thing you want is to arrive at your new office and find that your employees cannot do their jobs because the office is not ready.

2. Compare Office Removal Quotes

Office relocations can be complex and you need to hire a moving company that can provide special care and planning. There will be plenty of options to consider and so to make sure you pick the right office removals teams you will have to invest your time to research options thoroughly. When relocating your business you will have to think about moving documents, IT equipment and office furniture. All of these are important to your business, so having a team that understands the importance of business relocation will ensure that your things arrive safely and on time in the new location.

3. Prepare Your Employees

Another way to ensure a smooth relocation of your business is to prepare your employees early on. Talk to senior staff first to make sure everyone is on the same page and then talk to all employees. Make sure you give staff enough time to process the news and reiterate that they can come and talk to you / other senior members of staff about what the move entails. Consider all the information that they may need prior to the move and make sure this information is given to them with plenty of time prior to the moving date.

4. Update Business Branding

Relocating your business does not just involve moving offices, in fact, there is a lot of admin and paperwork that goes with it. You will have to update business cards, contracts, mailing lists, email footers and billing addresses. Do not leave this to the last minute because you will find that this part of the process does require a good chunk of your time. This is also a good time to upgrade your businesses branding, and so if you want to make any amendments to your logo or your businesses’ style as a whole, then now is the time to do it. Relocating businesses provides the perfect excuse to make changes within the business and in the branding of your business.

5. Hire The Necessary Business Services Beforehand

When moving to another office it is important to know what is included in your office rent. For example, are cleaning services included? If not you ought to think ahead and plan to hire cleaning services, maintenance services, security services and any other services that your business will need. Once again, do not leave this to the last minute because these services are vital to a smooth and successful running of a business. Your employees won’t be very happy if anyone and everyone can come into the building because there is no security. Likewise, they will also not be happy if the office turns into a dump because no cleaning teams are operating. Always think ahead.

6. Map Out The New Office

Get a blueprint/floorplan of the space you are moving into and take the time to map out your new office. A good layout is vital to your business, as research has shown that how an office is laid out can positively impact productivity and staff performance. Consider using software such as Photoshop to help create a visual guide. Play around with different ideas and create options for staff to give their feedback on. This is a good idea for several reasons, namely, it helps your staff feel more involved in the move and it allows them to voice their opinion, which makes them feel valued. The importance of this is not to be underestimated, as employees who feel valued often work far more effectively and efficiently.

7. Business Address Change Notifications

Your business address will need to be changed and you will have to think about the best way of letting your customers, partners, business banks, supplies and the post office of your address change. There are more people/services than you might initially expect who need to be alerted of your business relocation. Consider sending out emails, texts and newsletters to your customers. While it might seem like overkill, it is better to cover all grounds and make sure that all your customers are aware of the change. When it comes to professional services, you will likely have to write letters of verifications, make calls and have meetings in person. The latter will take more time, as unfortunately, you do not have control over how long the banks and other professional services will take to update the relevant information.

Relocating your business is a big step, but it does not have to be overly complicated or stressful. Take the time to plan and research thoroughly, and this will set you up for a smooth transition. The more prepared you are the better because you can be ready for any unforeseen nightmares.

Norton Rose Fulbright advises lenders on Emirates NBD’s debut loan

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised the book-runners and mandated lead arrangers on a US$1.75bn ESG-linked credit facility to Emirates NBD Bank PJSC (ENBD), involving a syndicate of leading international banks. This is ENBD’s debut ESG-linked loan and one of the region’s first sustainability-linked loans.

Bank of America and Emirates NBD Capital Limited were appointed as Global Coordinators and Sustainability Coordinators and ING Bank NV and HSBC Bank Middle East Limited were appointed as the Sustainability Advisors.

Evidencing its commitment to measurable environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, ENBD has added sustainability metrics including gender diversity in senior management roles and water conservation to the pricing of its loan. The Norton Rose Fulbright team assisted with the review of the ESG performance requirements, advising the Mandated Lead Arrangers, and incorporating the ESG KPIs into the loan documentation.

The Dubai-based Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by banking and finance partner Nicholas Robinson, with advice on the ESG side from partner Louisa Lynch, head of Norton Rose Fulbright’s sustainability practice in the Middle East region. They were supported by associate Noren Bhulji.

Nicholas Robinson commented: “We are proud to have advised the lenders to Emirates NBD on this landmark ESG-linked credit facility, and expect this type of loan will be the first of many for the region as the world looks towards more sustainable financing options. Promoting sustainable finance ahead of 2030 is a $1.5 trillion focus for Bank of America, and this loan helps the bank work towards its aims to create a greener economy through lending, capital raising, advisory and investment services to help low-carbon and other sustainable businesses.”

Louisa Lynch added: “ESG continues to grow in importance for organisations, with 2021 seeing more and more businesses putting proper measurable objectives in place to track their ESG performance. This is a milestone for the region, and ENBD is truly market-leading in its efforts to track and add meaning to the strides it’s making in gender diversity and water conservation.”

Roadmap out of lockdown fuels record jump in consumer confidence

The first three months of 2021 saw a record quarterly rise in consumer confidence, rising six percentage points in the first quarter, to -11%, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker. Every measure of confidence saw both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter growth, as consumers journey out of lockdown with a spring in their step.

Deloitte’s analysis is based on responses from more than 3000 United Kingdom consumers between 19th and 22nd March 2021, as the United Kingdom’s phased lockdown easing remained on track.

After entering the year under the tightest of lockdown restrictions, the reopening of schools helped boost sentiment around children’s education and welfare to -11%, up six percentage points on the previous quarter. Coupled with the continued speed of the United Kingdom’s vaccination programme, sentiment around health and wellbeing improved eight percentage points, to -26%, the highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With restaurants and physical non-essential retail remaining closed in Q1 2021, consumers’ pockets improved this quarter. Household disposable income saw a seven percentage point boost to -10%; marking a 17 percentage point improvement compared to the same period last year. Further, consumers’ confidence in their level of debt has tipped over to the black, at 1%, for the first time in ten years.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, commented: “The United Kingdom is primed for a sharp snap back in consumer activity. High levels of saving, the successful vaccination rollout and the easing of the lockdown set the stage for a surge in spending over the coming months.”

Economic recovery

The start of the pandemic in Q1 2020 saw economic sentiment plunge to an historic low. However, armed with a clear map out of lockdown, extended furlough support through to the autumn, and the vaccination programme continuing, consumer sentiment on the state of the economy grew to -61%, a quarterly rise of 12 percentage points.

With CFOs also hiring at their highest levels for nearly six years, consumers are optimistic about both their job security, and opportunities and career progression; each up by six and seven percentage points, respectively.

Stewart continued: “The eventual peak in unemployment looks set to be far lower than had been feared, and far lower than following any downturn in the last 30 years. With employers anticipating a return to the office by Q3 2021 life should start returning to something which, though far from normal, is closer to it. The risk to this upbeat outlook is the emergence of new, vaccine resistant variants and a third wave of cases. With global case rates rising we’re not completely out of the woods.”

Consumers signal a Q2 spending spree

In an encouraging sign that consumers are preparing for further lockdown easing, discretionary spending grew this quarter, albeit by one percentage point. While net spending in most of the discretionary categories remain below where it was a year ago, there was strong quarterly growth in demand for holidays and categories related to socialising, such as going out and eating out.

With late June earmarked for the last of social distancing measures to lift, consumers expect to increase their spending across almost every essential and discretionary category. Net discretionary spending is anticipated to become positive for the first time, meaning the number of consumers expecting to spend more exceed those anticipating to spend less.

Reflecting consumer eagerness to spend, ‘going to a shop’ topped the list of leisure activities consumers are most likely to do after lockdown, with 63% saying they’d plan to return within a month of measures lifting.

Ben Perkins, head of consumer research at Deloitte, commented: “Although April 12th marked what many hope will be the permanent reopening of non-essential retail stores, mass remote working will continue to impact footfall on the High Street. Shopping behaviours have changed significantly during the pandemic, with some consumers discovering the convenience of online retail for the first time. It’s likely that many of these changes will continue beyond the end of the pandemic. Whether shopping online or in-store, though, if consumers remain confident about their income, then an increase in consumer spending could become the driving force for growth as the economy reopens.”

Consumers head out, but remain hesitant about large events

With the exception of spending on in-home entertainment – up one percentage point in Q1 2021 – overall leisure spending this quarter remains well below year-on-year comparables. However, with lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, consumers are gearing up for a long-awaited return to hospitality and holidays.

Whilst limited to takeaway options over this period, eating out saw the biggest quarterly rise in net spending, up ten percentage points, to -43%, followed by drinking in pubs and bars; up nine percentage points compared to the last quarter.

Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “Consumers embraced a brief cold snap this quarter, by heading to parks for picnics and takeaway coffees, for a chance to socialise with other households. With more restrictions lifting, albeit still limited to outdoor settings, warmer weather and pent-up demand could bode well for the leisure sector as it opens up further.”

Consumers are also looking to get away, with spend on holidays up seven percentage points this quarter, to -31%.

Oaten continued: “Whilst international travel for leisure remains restricted for now, consumers are still keen for some time off. Many will have accumulated vouchers from cancelled trips in 2020 and will be looking to rebook whilst they remain valid. For others, ‘staycationing’ offers another chance this summer to explore new areas around the United Kingdom.”

Whilst consumers seek to socialise again, they remain more hesitant, at least in the short term, on attending large events and festivals. Just 7% said they’d go to a live event within a month of being permitted to, with 25% preferring to wait six months or more.

Oaten concluded: “Leisure consumers remain cautious on large events, and the reopening of these might not immediately see pre-pandemic crowd sizes. The continued vaccination programme could be key to boosting consumer confidence to return to large events.

“Likewise, just 15% of consumers said they’d return to gyms within a month of reopening.

“The prospect of sharing gym equipment or working out in an indoor setting may be behind the caution consumers are displaying with regard to returning to gyms. Equally, after a year of exploring at-home fitness options, it could be we’re also seeing the start of more permanent shifts in consumer behaviours.”

85% of consumer business leaders prioritising sustainable growth

Mike Manby, partner and consumer growth leader: “The rate of change and disruption is making companies rethink what it means to be a consumer business, not just in the short term but also over the next ten years. Whilst much of the past year has been about survival, consumer business leaders are turning their focus to profit and sustainable growth in the year ahead. This is despite the challenges of pressured profits and significant cost reduction programmes in place. Whilst these ambitions mean leaders face the perennial conundrum of how to do more with less, it also sets out a new blueprint for business.

“Whilst we have seen distress, many consumer businesses across the board have also shown immense resilience in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most notable has been the shift to online platforms, with innovative online experiences created for consumers to continuing engaging with their favourite brands. It’s encouraging to see so many consumer businesses seeing the switch to online as impetus for further innovation, and no longer a future risk.”

David Sharman, partner and value creation services lead at Deloitte: “With revenues and profits in decline, and uncertainty surrounding the economic recovery from COVID-19, business leaders must make difficult choices.

“Survival cannot become the default mindset for consumer businesses. Indeed, when we asked business leaders to identify their strategic priorities over the year ahead growth was their primary concern. At the same time, 81% have made reducing costs a priority, meaning that the pursuit of growth will need to be balanced by financial discipline, and clear targets around return on investment. Consumer businesses must find a way to do more with less, or at the very least with the same amount of investment to ensure that growth is profitable.”

Key findings:

  • CEO and CFOs of consumer businesses identify priorities for the next 12 months as profitable and sustainable growth (85%), developing existing products and services (70%), and introducing new products and services (52%).
  • Over the same period, however, profits are expected to fall as a result of both COVID-19 (41%), and Brexit (50%).
  • Cost reduction programmes are also anticipated to ramp up in 2021 due to the pandemic (73%), and ongoing impact of Brexit (44%).
  • In the short term, the highest risks to business growth are identified as COVID-19 (78%) and the state of the UK economy (59%). Over the next five years, this is superseded by competition from challenger brands and new entrants (57%) and disruptive business models (54%). However, the biggest threat to growth over the decade is identified as climate change (50%).
  • 65% of leaders do not see the switch to online as a risk in future, as their response to COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened the online presence of consumer businesses.