The Federal Reserve Bank of New York Cyber Security Study is Scary

If there is one industry where both organizations and consumers alike would want the most stringent levels of cyber security, it is likely the financial services industry. The fallout of even one successful hacking event attempted on a bank, a credit card company, a credit reporting agency, has far reaching consequences for both consumers and the smaller companies that interact with these financial entities.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s recent report, “Cyber Risk and the U.S. Financial System: A Pre-Mortem Analysis“, firms associated with financial services are 300 times more likely to encounter a cyber attack within any given year, than other firms in other industries. This should be a wake-up call to all of the smaller organizations who depend upon the integrity of the data they receive from these larger financial institutions. While smaller firms have no control over the larger financial entities they interact with, there are steps they can take on their end to stop a cyber disaster in its tracks before it reaches their internal systems.

Maintain System Updates

Hackers are continually on the lookout for outdated systems, browsers, and other types of software that make it so much easier for them to penetrate a computer system. Every organization, whether related to financial services or not, should have a comprehensive plan that includes keeping track of all their various types of software and applying any software updates in order to stay abreast of the latest versions, patches, etc.

Regular Vulnerability Testing 

It’s not enough to hire a technology firm to do a one-time-only penetration and vulnerability test to look for weak areas in an internal computer system. Software changes continually and vulnerabilities can occur in areas that were previously deemed safe. Financial service organizations need to conduct regular vulnerability scans and penetration testing to ensure previously safe systems are still secure.

Harden Emails 

Hackers love to target email servers because it allows them an opportunity to gain access to internal email accounts and pose as employees in the organization. Malicious hackers can then ask for confidential information from another employee, who doesn’t realize they are interacting with a cyber attacker. Hackers can also send out emails to an organization’s clients and infect their networks with malicious code. A financial services company that does not harden their email activity, runs the risk of exposing confidential or sensitive data to bad actors and/or receiving a poor reputation within the financial services community for passing on a cyber attack nightmare to their clients.

How to Stay Safe

It is possible for even smaller financial organizations to secure their computer systems to prevent the chaos that occurs from a cyber attack. While smaller firms may not have the resources to hire a full-time IT professional, there are IT management companies that offer security services to their clients. By hiring an external company to provide cyber security, even smaller firms can have access to professional management of their data without adding the burden of investing in a full-fledged IT department.  

Small firms who hire these types of IT companies should expect them to create a comprehensive plan detailing how the IT firm plans to secure the client’s data. An external IT firm can analyze their client’s computer resources and make suggestions on how to protect critical, sensitive data from becoming vulnerable to attack both from within the company and from without. At the very least, the three key points of maintaining system updates, regular penetration testing, and securing email traffic should be part of the IT company’s security plan. 

If you need help securing your financial service-related or any other type of organization, we can help!

Please contact us today for more information.

Keeping Your Inbox Clear

Keeping Your Inbox Clear
Keeping Your Inbox Clear

Greek mythology tells of Sisyphus, a Corinthian king who was punished in Hades by being forced to continually roll a giant boulder up a hill. As soon as he would reach the top, the boulder would roll right back down, and his task would start over.

If keeping your e-mail inbox clear feels like a Sisyphean task, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve put together some tips to help you cope with the challenge and manage your inbox like a pro.

Intentionality

Just like checking your actual physical mailbox, checking your e-mail inbox should be an intentional act that’s accomplished at set times. Barring the rare case of emergency, you should not allow the ding of your e-mail alert to rule your day.

Though the frequency of how often you check and respond to messages will depend on your situation, one thing you should not do is just keep your inbox open on a rolling basis. Instead, intentionally set aside times to read and respond to e-mails.

Prioritization

As you deal with your e-mails, prioritize organization over responses. Allow us to explain why. If your goal is to respond to each e-mail as it comes in, you will quickly feel overwhelmed with the task and due to the enormity of the task, you may lose important messages in the shuffle.

Instead of responding to each e-mail one by one, quickly toggle through all your current messages, organizing them into folders as you go. Only e-mails that require an immediate response should be left in the inbox, to be cleared as soon as you’ve responded. If e-mails do not require an immediate response (that is, if they’re informational or require thought or research on your part first), they should be sent to a different folder. In this way, only your immediate tasks at hand will be left for you to deal with.

Consistency

This program only works, of course, if you make it work. If you set up your times and your folders but then fall quickly back into bad habits, you’ll see no results. Consistency, however, makes a huge difference. Plan your work and work your plan — always.

We Can Help

For more information on best practices for keeping up with e-mail, or if you would like to hear more about our premium services, please feel free to contact us at any time. 

We look forward to serving you. 

A Quick Guide To Inserting A Logo In Outlook Signature

A Quick Guide To Inserting A Logo In Outlook Signature

how to insert logo in outlook signatureHave you been wondering how to insert logo in your outlook signature? The process is pretty simple even if you are not very familiar with Outlook. According to this article, creating and selecting a signature is not that difficult in Outlook. However creating the signature you want with for example a company logo in it can be quite of a hassle.

First, make sure you have a picture copy of the logo saved separately. It should be in a location that should be easy to find, like in the My Documents folder or the Desktop. But whatever works for you is fine.

Second, open Outlook. Click on File, then on Options on the left-hand side.

A new dialog box will open. Click on Mail, then on the Signatures (button along the right side).

This will open the Signatures and Stationary box. Inside, you will be able to see your different signatures and settings.

If you do not have a signature yet, to create one, click on New, and name your new signature. Once you click OK, you will be able to create the signature to your liking inside the open box in the bottom of the Signatures and Stationary box.

Third, once you’ve created a signature, add the┬álogo. Simply select where you’d like to add it, and click on the add picture, or image icon. If you have the latest version of Outlook, it’s the second to last icon above where you’re creating your signature.

Once you click on it, it will allow you to pick your logo image.

Click Save, and you’re done. Your signature has a logo.

To add a logo to an existing signature, simply highlight name of the signature by clicking on it, and select where you would like to place the logo. Then follow the same steps to add the logo by clicking on the image icon. Don’t forget to save.

And you’re done! Outlook has many incredible features to help you conduct business, and allowing you to add logos to your signatures is only one of them.

To learn more about how Microsoft Outlook can streamline your business, contact 4 Corner IT.

Best Time to Send a Mass Email: Capturing an Audience and Assuring Security

Best Time to Send a Mass Email: Capturing an Audience and Assuring Security

What's the best time to send a mass email?

Have you ever wondered what’s the best time to send a mass email?

If you’re a company just getting started and need to send out mass emails to promote yourself to customers who opt in, it can be a challenge to determine when those emails are most apt to be read. That’s especially true if you’re sending these emails internationally as part of a global reach. In that regard, you may have an even bigger dilemma in reaching people in different time zones.

What does some of the evidence in the online world say is the best time? And what can you do to assure your customers that the email you’re sending isn’t spam or a phishing scam so it doesn’t get automatically deleted?

Is the Lunch Hour the Best Time of the Day?

Some evidence suggests sending a mass email during the lunch hour is the best time, because people are more apt to be reading email during this time of the day. Despite that, contradictions seem to exist on what day of the week mass emails should be sent. While it seems that people read their emails on Monday mornings, click-throughs are more apt to happen later in the week or even weekends when people have more time to read emails carefully.

Much of the above, though, seems to deal with outside factors like what kind of people you’re sending to, and even where they live. If you’re catering to a foreign audience, then you’ll have to send your emails at odd times in your own time zone to accommodate the time zones overseas. It could mean getting up in the middle of the night your time to accommodate your foreign markets.

Capturing everyone at the best time will be much trickier. Trying to capture as many time zones as possible in the daylight hours will obviously be to your best advantage. Even if the email arrives in the early a.m. hours for some time zones, it might be read first by the customer because it’s likely to be their top email in their inbox.

Avoiding Misunderstandings of Spam or Phishing

The worst nightmare of a mass email campaign is having a subject line that’s perhaps misconstrued as spam or a phishing scam. With so many people and businesses being duped by legitimate-looking emails, you can understand why the scrutiny is more intense now. That’s why you should always send your email with the name of your company in the subject line so people can readily identify you. If they don’t recognize your name, it gives them a chance to Google your company to see if you’re real.

Also, send your mass email from an address that looks familiar. An email address that sounds offbeat might set off alarms it’s some kind of phishing scam an employee will instantly delete.

Here at 4 Corner IT, we help companies deal with removing viruses all the time from suspicious emails. We can help manage all of that for you around the clock through our IT consulting service and IT support.

Contact us so we can start working with you to help you send and receive emails responsibly without having confusion over whether they’re safe or not.

To BCC, CC or To? Tis the question

To BCC, CC or To? Tis the question

You’ve probably been sending emails for the better part of the past 15 to 20 years. They have become an essential communication tool, but did you know that there is a generally accepted etiquette when it comes to email?

Most of us focus on certain rules when it comes to writing the body of the email, but few of us really look at the To; CC and BCC fields. Indeed, many people don’t use these fields in the right way, which can lead to trouble in the future.

Below are some tips on how to properly use the To; CC and BCC fields in emails.

To

The To field is typically used for contacts who you want to communicate directly with. If you add a few people here then you need to put their names in the salutation part of your email e.g., Hi Tom, Neena and Irina. If you are sending out a company wide announcement, or an email to your team, you can put the individual addresses in the To field and instead of addressing everyone individually use something like: Hello Team.

One of the unwritten but largely accepted email rules is that if an email address is in the To field, you’re saying it’s ok for other recipients to email one another regarding the email. There is a common perception that you should limit the number of people in the To field. There’s no real limit on how many addresses can be included, as long as all the recipients are directly involved in the subject of the email. Even if it’s 1,000 people you can still put them in.

Where this view of limiting addresses in the To box stems from is that more email addresses make the email look unwieldy and could anger people who want their email address kept private. Many users create groups and give each group a name which will show in the To field to all users. This will often eliminate the issue of people wanting their email addresses kept private while simultaneously cutting the number of email addresses people have to scroll through.

CC

CC stands for Carbon Copy and is usually used for people who should know about the content of the email but aren’t directly involved. As such, contacts who are CC’d are not expected to be a part of the conversation but can jump in if they want to. CC can also be used to tell the recipients that they aren’t the only people who have seen this email; if you CC management, most people will see this and will likely be more inclined to follow through on the content of the email.

BCC

Email addresses in the BCC, Blind Carbon Copy, will receive the email, but recipients in the To and CC fields won’t see the address of those in the BCC field. BCC is most commonly used for mailing lists, or other periodicals and for when recipients request that their email address be kept private.

You should be careful with BCC though as, for example, if you are sending an email with sensitive information to one party, and you BCC another, you get in hot water if either party finds out and is not happy about what might be thought of as secret sharing.

These are just a few simple tips to ensure you follow email etiquette. If you would like to learn more about better ways to send emails, please contact us, we can help.