Virtually Anything

Archive for January, 2008

Client/Investigator Privilege

Posted by collinsadmin on January 21, 2008

Investigative professionals and associations have very strict codes of ethics.  In general they are the same with a few additions and/or a few deletions but what seems to always remain the same is confidentiality. All investigative professionals whether it be private investigators, judgment recovery, bail enforcement agents, collections agencies, or repossessors have the obligation to provide client/investigator privilege. So where does the breach of client/investigator privilege end and normal everyday business begin?

Some would say unless the person who knows anything about the case is licensed in that field, it would be considered a breach of privilege.  This is a legally untenable position, which, if applied to all situations, would have the majority of professionals in trouble. It would eliminate the possibility of all of the following situations:

  • Unlicensed office secretaries, receptionists and assistants.
  • Unlicensed internet service providers.
  • Unlicensed photo developers.
  • Unlicensed sub-contractors of any kind.
  • Unlicensed computer repair techs. 

The standard consensus about breach of client privilege is, as long as somebody is doing work for the investigative professional, it is not a breach of confidentiality.  Sometimes business owners need to seek the help of outside professionals. It is both ethical, and good management to do so. The key is to select outsourcing professionals who are trustworthy, and who understand and respect the client confidentiality standard. 

Here are a few tips for increasing security when working with third party professionals:

  • Do a thorough background check on those whose services you utilize
  • Check references
  • Interview the person
  • Go with your gut feeling – often this is based on subtle, unexplainable reactions to body language, verbal inflection, or wording that you cannot pinpoint, but which all originate from legitimate informational sources.
  • Start with small tasks which are not highly sensitive. Work up to more confidential tasks as trust develops, and not before.
  • Create a good contract, which spells out your expected level of confidentiality, and their status as your representative for the tasks in question (so you have legal proof that they are acting on your behalf in the jobs in question). 

Ultimately, investigative professionals as well as other small business owners need to do their own due diligence before hiring anybody.  If the company being considered for hire won’t allow any type of “investigation”, run as fast as you can in the other direction.  If they won’t let potential clients do reasonable background checks (in relation to the confidentiality of the job in question) then they have something to hide.

Confidentiality is a serious issue. But the law provides for assistants and other helpers. Choose wisely, and your business can grow smoothly through any phase, even when the amount of work you need assistance with is small.


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A Few Ways To Use A VA For January 14th’s National Clean Off Your Desk Day

Posted by collinsadmin on January 11, 2008

Many small business owners work late into the night just trying to see the top of their desk, getting to the point where they see a small square of the desktop and feeling as if they accomplished something; only to come back in the morning to see that the ever elusive messy desk fairy has struck during the night. After letting out a huge sigh of disbelief, they sit down at their desks and gradually one by one start going through every post-it note, scribble paper and other papers hoping to find that one little square of desktop once again. This gets frustrating and overwhelming.

Being that January 14th is National Clean Off Your Desk Day, small business owners could always spend this one day a year and forward all their calls to voicemail, lock their doors and post a sign that says do not disturb but chances are potential clients will just go to a competitor and what about those other 364 days a year when their desk is cluttered.

Maybe they should think of hiring a Confidential Virtual Assistant. A Confidential Virtual Assistant can assist in keeping small business owners’ desks cleared by:

  1. Taking those scraps of papers and organizing them based on importance in an easily accessible computerized document where each task can be marked off as it’s completed
  2. Any papers that have daily reminders can easily be computerized so it automatically pops up on the clients computer when it is turned on
  3. Any correspondence that needs to be sent to clients, a CVA can very easily type it up and send it to the business owners clients.

The list of ways a CVA can help keep that desk cleaned off is endless.  Using a CVA would allow that desk to stay clean and clear for more than just one day.

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