Phishing Email Subject Lines You Should Know

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Even the best employees will encounter situations where they might accidentally put your organization at risk due to a phishing attack. What are some telltale signs of a phishing scam, and how can you tell when you need to be cautious? Certain phishing email subject lines can be indicative of their threat level. Let’s take a look.

Expel published a report on the most common subject lines of phishing emails, and the consensus was that they all urged the reader to take action of some sort. For employees who are impulsive and don’t think twice about their activities, this can be devastating, and that’s not to mention the businesses who employ them.

The study examined 10,000 known malicious emails and found keywords used in phishing emails. Many of them used a sense of urgency to convince the reader that action was necessary. This tactic is nothing new for phishing scams, and considering this language is also used in marketing emails, it’s no wonder that the lines get so blurry with this topic.

Ben Brigida, Director and SOC of Operations at Expel, had this to say regarding the matter: “Attackers are trying to trick people into giving them their credentials. The best way to do this is to make the email look legitimate, prompt one clear action, and lace it with emotion – urgency or fear of loss is the most common. The actions are as simple as ‘go to this site’ or ‘open this file,’ but the attacker wants you to be moving too fast to stop and question if it’s legitimate.”

In other words, simple and more direct subjects for phishing emails make for an easier hacking experience. This is reflected in the keywords utilized. You’ll notice that these subject lines also mimic those used by legitimate businesses. Here are three of the most common:

  • RE: INVOICE
  • Missing Inv ####; From [Legitimate Business Name]
  • INV####

Imagine receiving an invoice from a company with the threat of shutting down an important service that your business relies on. You might have so much going on in your business that you don’t even think twice and assume that you haven’t made the payment. Naturally, this is what the hacker is counting on. Take a step back and consult the appropriate resources before making a payment or clicking on a link. Sure, it could be legitimate—many invoicing companies and automated software use similar language—but it could also be a scam.

Other common phishing subject lines include words like “required,” “verification required,” or stem from file sharing, action requirements, or service requests. The tags that often get assigned to emails, like New or Update, don’t exactly help matters.

What are your thoughts on these phishing email subject lines? Would you or your employees click on them accidentally? Don’t take any chances with your network security—get in touch with 4 Corner IT today.

Tips to Curtail Burnout In the Workplace

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Burnout in the workplace is a severe problem in a business environment. If you are not careful, it can have profound effects on operations, productivity, and profitability in the long term. If you suspect that your employees are experiencing symptoms of burnout, you need to act on these symptoms and implement policies to protect your team from… well, themselves.

What Leads to Burnout In the Workplace?

There are many reasons why burnout can surface, including the following:

Too Much Work

Employees who have too much work to do will inevitably find themselves overwhelmed and burnt out. Not only can it affect how well a team works, but it can also have negative influences on health and wellness. According to the World Health Organization, long working hours contributed to 745,000 deaths in 2016 through various factors. This is a problem, so if you can identify employees suffering from it, you should do all you can to prevent it.

Lack of Workplace Recognition

Even if compensation is adequate for your employees, they still want workplace recognition in other forms, such as congratulatory messages and the appreciation of both management and peers. Otherwise, what is there to motivate them?

Lack of Control

People enjoy what they can control and don’t enjoy what they cannot; the same can be said for work. If employees feel like they have no say in their work, they can quickly lose motivation. Micromanagement and restriction simply for the sake of oversight can be disastrous, especially when it causes your team to burn out. Ask yourself how you might feel being managed in this way, and you’ll see what we mean.

Unfair Treatment

If there are apparent discrepancies in how different employees are treated, or even perceived ones, then there is a real possibility of it developing further into burnout. When bias and discrimination are involved, this is doubly so, and you should do everything you can to eliminate it.

Poor Workplace Relationships

Again, let’s flip perspectives and take a look at how you might feel if you had to spend hours out of your day working with strangers or people who you do not enjoy being around. Your employees certainly don’t want this, and while the case can be made that work doesn’t need to be enjoyable, this isn’t a narrative conducive to productivity and motivation.

What Can You Do to Minimize Burnout In the Workplace?

Here are some ideas to minimize burnout and help your employees regain the motivation to push forward.

Know the Signs

First, you’ll need to know when to admit that your team is experiencing symptoms of burnout. If they have issues concentrating, are increasingly more irritable at work, complain about aches and pains, or having trouble sleeping, or feel like they have accomplished nothing, they might be experiencing signs of burnout.

Identify Where It Comes From

Identifying warning signs is not the same as addressing where burnout comes from. If you want to eliminate burnout for good, finding what’s causing it will be paramount. Whether it is work, health, family drama, or otherwise, you need to find out if it’s internal and something you can control. If it’s not, then perhaps you can still find ways to resolve the problem more indirectly.

Give Your Team Back Control

If burnout comes from work-related issues, consider ways you can directly influence it. If you give your team some autonomy in their day-to-day tasks, you might be able to alleviate some of the pressure your team feels to perform as expected.

We Can Help Your Team Make the Most of Their Time

Suppose you are ready to eradicate burnout in the workplace. In that case, we bet that a good starting point is to implement hardware and software solutions designed to make employees’ lives easier and more productive. To get started with these automated solutions and managed services, reach us at (954) 474-2204.

5 Tips to Get the Most from Your Instant Messaging Solution

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Instant messaging is a solution that has picked up in the business world, and for a good reason. While email allows for more passive communication, instant messaging allows for more instantaneous communication, similar to a phone call in its urgency. But are you properly using instant messaging?

Establish a Usage Policy

Just like with other technology solutions, your company should have a policy in place that governs how your employees use it. This means that you must establish clear guidelines for the appropriate use of instant messaging. For example, having a group chat for a department is perfectly fine, but having a group that is exclusively for sharing distractions is a problem that can lead to too much wasted time.

Keep it Professional

You should always use greetings when sending instant messages, similar to the way you would if you were using emails. Using a salutation such as “Hi Name,” rather than opening the conversation with a question can make a world of difference. It would help if you also tried to use similar professional language in your IMs as you would in an email.

Keep it Short, but Keep it Clear.

As we previously mentioned, the big difference between IM and email is that IMs are designed for instantaneous responses and quick conversations rather than long, drawn-out, detailed messages. The best way to use IMs is to use it to your advantage and not use it like you would an email. If you expect someone to respond to a long IM that requires a detailed and analytic response, then it may look like the user is ignoring the message until they can find time to respond to it in the way that you expect.

Still, you’ll want to convey thoughts and ideas clearly, but instant messaging is a great place to encourage questions to prevent communication gaps.

Respect the Status Message

Most instant messaging applications allow the user to set their status. This might be something like Available, Away, In a Meeting, Busy, etc. If the user is anything but available, you should reconsider sending the message until the user is indeed available to take your message. Otherwise, there is a solid chance that the message will slip through the cracks.

Try to Encourage In-Person Communication Too

All of that said, an instant message is not a substitution for a good old face-to-face conversation. Whenever possible, you should make an effort to have in-person conversations with your coworkers and staff. This helps you avoid instances of messages being taken out of context and establishes that you can make time in your busy day to make connections in this way. It’s just good to remind your coworkers and employees that, yes, we are still people, even if half the time our communications are done from the other side of a computer screen.

4 Corner IT can help you implement the best instant messaging solution that suits your company’s needs. To learn more, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Should Your Business Consider the Four-Day Workweek?

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The traditional 40-hour workweek feels like a staple in the business world, where employees work 8-hour shifts and then head home for the day. This was not always the case, however, and there can be a case made that even the 40-hour workweek should be adjusted to at least some degree. Let’s take a look at the modern workplace, how it has changed, and how it can still be changed to better employees of all levels—including you.

A Brief History of Work and Labor

The Industrial Revolution began with farmers and independent tradesmen being replaced by the factory system. With these difficult and inhumane conditions came new pushes from President Roosevelt to include working hours in the New Deal, a concept which also inspired the United Kingdom to cap work hours at 40 shortly afterward.

The end of World War II also saw women entering the workforce in droves, where they subsequently remained, as well as African American employment in the ‘50s. The factory was essentially replaced by cramped office spaces, and the 1960s saw the development of the cubicle. While all this was going on, technology rose to become a powerful productivity tool. IBM built its first electric typewriter and business computer system, and other innovations further improved operations, such as the fax machine, laser printer, and floppy disk.

The traditional 9-to-5 shift we see today did not appear until the 1980s, a time when the World Wide Web was first introduced and the processes we are so familiar with today really started to blossom. The ‘90s also saw many new innovations, including mobile phones and email. Even after the turn of the century, employment opportunities shifted toward knowledge-based roles, and many platforms took a turn toward the collaborative side of things. The 2010s in particular saw the rise of services and the technology that empowers them, a concept that is still on the rise today.

Yet, despite all of this change, the 40-hour workweek remains largely unchanged, save for a couple of recent shifts due in large part to the ongoing COVID pandemic. Why, when technology has increased in capacity so dramatically, has the workday remained constant? Let’s take a closer look.

How Things Have (and Haven’t) Changed

Technology is the key to understanding how the workplace has developed and how we will continue to work moving forward. Take a look at the technology used in the office throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s. It might not have been as productive, but it allowed workers a break from the office environment. Compared to today’s always-on mentality and near-constant communication, it’s no wonder that the lines between work and home can blur so much.

Household roles, on the other hand, have not changed nearly as much. Working mothers continue to care for the family and prepare meals long after they have punched out of work for the day. This demographic also tends to be employed in high-stress positions like hospitality, education, and healthcare.

A Four-Day Workweek Could Help Resolve These Issues

Perhaps the solution is to simply work “less,” or reduce the time spent in the office by employees without reducing take-home pay. This also helps employees differentiate between home and office life by assigning an additional day as “off.”

A four-day workweek has been said to benefit the environment as well, as the morning commute creates a major carbon burden through today’s gasoline-powered transportation vehicles and the waste of single-use lunch packaging.

There is some pushback to this idea, however, because employers are under the impression that a four-day workweek means less productivity. This has been found to not be the case at all. If you are concerned about losing out on productivity from a shorter workweek, we can help to offset this through the use of technology that streamlines processes and workflows, something which is valuable even if you can’t bring yourself to dump the 40-hour workweek.

Your business can implement these technology solutions to improve operations, too. To learn more, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Make Strategic Decisions Better with a Virtual CIO

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Many businesses do not have the resources or budget to hire technicians to perform regular maintenance on their systems, let alone someone managing the technicians behind the scenes. The chief information officer, or CIO, is the one who would typically make these calls, but businesses that cannot hire an in-house CIO for whatever reason have the option of hiring a virtual CIO. Read on to learn about the benefits of a Virtual CIO for your business.

What is a Virtual CIO?

A virtual CIO is the same as a traditional CIO, just not on-site. A virtual CIO is an outsourced IT resource under contract with your organization to provide services involved with handling your company’s IT strategy.

The significant difference here is that a virtual CIO looks at your IT strategy as a whole and how that strategy aligns with your business goals. When done correctly, the virtual CIO encourages and informs your IT decisions, allowing you to move toward your organization’s specific goals.

The best way to illustrate the difference between technicians and the virtual CIO is that technicians are responsible for addressing day-to-day challenges and issues for your organization’s IT infrastructure. In contrast, the virtual CIO is responsible for ensuring that the business’ long-term technology goals are met. Think about the virtual CIO as the travel agent booking your vacation, planning things in the style of a roadmap each step of the way.

What are the Benefits of a Virtual CIO?

The first notable benefit of a virtual CIO is the price. Considering their status as a c-suite employee, the traditional CIO is going to require considerable compensation. Small businesses often cannot offer competitive salaries for such high-demand talent, so instead of investing in a position, you can invest in a service with more affordable monthly payments. Plus, you don’t have to invest in finding a CIO’s searching or hiring process, increasing the value you get from outsourcing.

Furthermore, there is a certain level of objectivity that comes from a virtual CIO. Sometimes people get caught up in the passion of running a business and start to make decisions that might not make sense. They let their feelings and predispositions dictate their actions. Someone from outside the organization is more likely to make more objective decisions, hence why many companies hire external auditors or consultants.

Without someone spearheading your IT efforts, they are doomed to fail. Let 4 Corner IT take this task on, and you can say goodbye to the stress associated with technology decisions. To learn more about the benefits of a virtual CIO, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.