Should I Use The Pickle Jar Theory For Managing My Employees?

June 20th, 2022

Improving workflow productivity is a key objective for many in managerial positions and running businesses across the U.S. 

However, with the rise in workplace distractions and issues that arise with remote productivity management, it is notoriously difficult to improve productivity. Improving productivity can improve your return on investment (ROI) and lead to great success. 

One way of managing your employees is by using the pickle jar theory. If you’ve heard of it, you may be wondering what this theory is, how it works, and if it works to improve employee productivity.

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How Deep Work Can Help You Achieve Your Productivity Goals

June 13th, 2022

Improving productivity at work is a major priority for most businesses. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving your productivity goals, but you can consider deep work for productivity and better time management

Maybe you’ve heard about deep work (or maybe you haven’t). Deep work is something that you should at least research and consider when it comes to improving productivity in your workforce:

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7 Security Red Flags IT Often Miss

June 6th, 2022

Keeping your company safe from security threats is a key part of a healthy organization. Unfortunately, with the rise of cybersecurity threats and new cyberattacks emerging each year, it can be difficult to spot and find security concerns risking the welfare of your business. 

Luckily, there are red flags that a business owner, IT professional, or security manager can look out for when it comes to security. Not only should you have a firm security plan in place, but also keep these security red flags on your radar to ensure your important business information is kept safe.

7 Security Red Flags IT Often Miss

When it comes to important security red flags, these are the ones that often get overlooked, and they may surprise you!

1. You Get a Lot of Spam

Spamming is a technique of email phishing that threat actors use to try to take advantage of businesses through email. Spam emails can be very annoying, but, in general, you may be brushing this off as innocent but annoying. Unfortunately, spam emails are an indicator that your email filtering systems aren’t working effectively. 

The more spam your business receives, the greater risk you and your team are at of being exposed to malicious spam and phishing scams, a social engineering technique to gain access to sensitive information. 

Additionally, the deluge of spam emails makes it harder for your employees to identify spam and phishing attempts, which puts your company at greater risk for a phishing attack. Twenty percent of employees are likely to click on a phishing email link, risking your business falling victim to credential theft or malware.

If your inbox is regularly full of spam it also makes it harder to work. Connect your IT and security teams together to conduct a review of your organization’s emails to tighten up controls. Check to make sure your email is not routinely accepting email from all domains globally especially if you don’t conduct business globally, and adjust if this should not be the case.

2. You Have Poor Communication With Your Information Security Team

The IT department might focus on managing information technology systems, setting up technical workflows, and software. They aren’t always your #1 security team (and really, they shouldn’t be). If your IT and security teams are separate, be sure that they are in regular contact with each other over basic cybersecurity protocols, red flags, and annual updates, like employee training. 

Your security team should be connecting with your IT department or managed services IT provider to share key metrics, concerns, and protocols. This should be a trust-building relationship, as one party may notice a cybersecurity breach before the other and can help resolve the matter quickly. 

Set up regular meetings with your IT department, service provider, security team, and/or C-level executives to make sure you’re all on the same page.

3. Your Workforce is Lacking Security Awareness Training

With the rise in frequency and types of cybersecurity breaches that are available each year, your company needs to stay on top of it and provide security awareness training to your staff. Strong cybersecurity awareness training should not only occur regularly, but it also starts to infiltrate your company (in a good way), becoming a part of your culture. 

This training will help your employees to identify dangerous spam emails, security alerts, and security breaches. And it should be used in hybrid workforces so that your employees notice security concerns both in the network and with in-office security controls, like who has network access, who is accessing company equipment, and more.

Not training your employees can result in a devastating attack. Focus on end-user security training and cybersecurity awareness to improve the staggering 69% of employees who can’t identify a suspicious email and who may fall victim to click-bait!

4. Your IT Department is Frequently Chaotic

Let’s be honest, it’s quite normal for work to feel relatively chaotic. This is due to the number of moving parts in any given business. However, chaos and busyness aren’t always signs of a busy workforce and could serve as a business distraction. 

Your IT department (which again should be different from your security team) might also be routinely busy with IT emergencies altogether different from security threat emergencies, and it could mean that keeping your regular security system updates fall to the wayside. Over time, deferred work and strategic planning become technical debt and increase the number of vulnerabilities present in your workforce. 

Take a moment to review your IT budget and identify if more can be done to improve the state of affairs here. Adequately funding your IT department and security team can ensure that your strategic objectives, like security and maintaining security in your hybrid workplace, are hit. Not only that, but we highly recommend installing a network-wide monitoring system, which can alert your security team to these critical vulnerabilities and breaches the moment they occur, and keep you abreast of other company concerns as well.

5. Your Data Security Budget is Merely a Line Item

Another key security red flag is simply that you’re not taking your security seriously enough. If your security budget is merely a line item in your accounting system, then this means that you aren’t taking the time to a) learn what needs to be done to ensure optimal security and b) not taking the risk and impact of a cybersecurity threat seriously. 

Cybersecurity touches every single component of your business, and by funding it, you are given a greater chance to protect sensitive data, HR files, intellectual property, sensitive consumer data, applications, software, and your key products. 

The frightening reality is that not many businesses spend enough on security. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a whole lot more to drastically improve your security system with monitoring software. While monitoring software should always be used with antivirus software, antimalware software, and firewall, among many others, an employee monitoring system can keep your data visibility high so that you see everything that goes on in your company. 

From data movement to data being copied, deleted, or saved, you can keep your data safer with employee monitoring software. You can also be aware of suspicious log-in times, suspicious employee activity, and unauthorized user access. 

6. You are Missing Key Security Updates

Security updates are in place for a reason. When a vulnerability is found in a security system, this is considered a security weakness and can be exploited by experienced hackers. On the first day that your vulnerability is found, it’s called a zero-day vulnerability and it can be very rare for a hacker to exploit this vulnerability. 

It’s important to not miss these security updates, which are essentially code patches that help seal up the vulnerability. If you do, and it’s been a few weeks since you’ve updated your security, then you’re putting your company at risk for greater security threats. 

Keep your company more secure with monitoring software that can detect cyber threats in your system before your IT and security department does, which is especially important if you fall on your updates.

7. Your Special Access and Visibility (As an Executive) Makes You a Target

Some businesses simply have executives, like yourself, or key members of the business who are visible to the public or have special access. These individuals are considered a higher target because they have unique access to company systems, information, and credentials. And statistics suggest that nearly 1 in 5 individuals in a company will have their credentials stolen. The chance it will be a high target individual makes this risk even higher.

It’s important to keep high visibility and special access individuals more secure than others because these individuals will be regularly subjected to phishing attacks, spear phishing, and even whaling attacks. This can risk credential theft but also identity theft for the high visibility individual and sensitive customer information.

To combat this, your program administrator should use extensive security measures like two-factor authentication, encryption, VPN access, company computers, and regular training. This will ensure that employee credentials will be hard to steal, and, even then, the hacker will have a harder time gaining access to the sensitive information the executive has access to.  

Importance of Strong Security Defense System

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) reports that cybersecurity remains the top priority for 2022. And, with the average cost of a data breach at $4.24 million in 2021, companies also experience long-tail costs of cyber attacks, like reputational damage, business disruption, lost sales, specialty IT remediation, and fines – all of which can plague an organization for years after an attack.

When a company suffers a cyber attack, there is a lot at stake that can be lost. Not only is your company’s reputation at risk, but with the cyber attack, you automatically lose your competitive edge. Additionally, you can lose money, time, and customer trust in the process.  

It’s important to have a strong security defense system in place so that you don’t get hacked and risk your sensitive information being obtained by cyber criminals. Drastically improve your company’s security with the SoftActivity employee monitoring system for effective and comprehensive security tracking.  

By SoftActivity Team.

Managing Productivity and Efficiency In Work From Home Environments

May 30th, 2022

Improvements in technology have allowed for more remote work opportunities. While remote work comes with its perks, it also causes a lot of distractions and productivity concerns. 

Luckily there are tips and tricks that remote workers, remote managers, and flexible businesses can employ to keep remote team productivity and efficiency high even in a remote work environment. 

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Is My Company Secure With Remote Workers?

May 23rd, 2022

More and more businesses are experiencing remote workers. Whether they made the shift to work from home in recent years or have been doing it for a while, it’s important to understand if your company is safe with remote workers.

It’s possible to have high security with remote workers, but you have to make sure that this is the case. It won’t happen automatically! Here’s what you need to know when it comes to company security and remote teams. And why you need to adopt employee monitoring as extended endpoint security and data protection. 

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Is Measuring Only Productivity Bad? Here’s What You Should Also Measure for Company Success

May 16th, 2022

Managers in the modern workspace regularly attribute productivity as a core metric for improving an organization’s production, efficiency, and bottom line. 

Employee productivity metrics are core to what we do, but many businesses and project managers get bogged down with fine-tuning these metrics to near-perfect performance. Instead, managers should look to company culture and what about your operations really matters to drive success.

Don’t fall into the trap of productivity.

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Why Productivity And Compliance In Finance Go Hand-In-Hand

May 9th, 2022

When it comes to keeping your organization secure and operating efficiently, most businesses in finance recognize the importance of compliance. Compliance in the financial services industry is a basic requirement, and unfortunately, it can take a lot of time, money, and operational manpower to get it right. 

Luckily, financial services firms can take advantage of productivity optimization and employee monitoring software to tackle both productivity and compliance issues in their daily operations. 

Here’s why productivity and compliance go hand-in-hand in a finance firm. 

The Importance of Compliance and Productivity for Your Bottom Line

Most businesses in financial services require the exchange of sensitive data. From sharing personally identifiable information (PII) to payment data and billing information, a company’s finance department or financial institution must protect sensitive banking data. 

Data privacy is controlled by a number of regulatory laws, like CCPA and GDPR. Regulatory compliance makes data handling security necessary, but financial firms often overlook the impact that productivity management can have on compliance needs.

Financial organizations see compliance as a necessary evil, but unfortunately, they often see it directly conflicting with efficiency requirements and needs. Compliance requires employees to go through training, ongoing monitoring, extra security steps, and safety around sending information. These are natural roadblocks to optimized efficiency and come with large costs. However, with a strong compliance program, your financial business can have more success and spend less time paying fines, managing audits, and troubleshooting compliance issues.

With the right management, businesses can operationalize and optimize both processes. In doing so, financial institutions can save on compliance costs while also improving customer experience. 

How Can Improving Productivity Improve Compliance?

Whether you are a financial advisor, financial institution, or provide general financial services, compliance is mandatory in your line of work. Financial businesses must often follow a number of compliance requirements:

  • Collect, analyze, and safely store personally identifiable information, sensitive banking information, and social security numbers on hard drives that are PCI DSS compliant
  • Send sensitive data inter-departmentally and online
  • Protect and encrypt sensitive information on network servers
  • Monitor transactions for anti-money laundering and fraud
  • Report suspicious transactions to FinCEN and other financial crime agencies in the United States and North America
  • Risk management
  • Restrict and offboard risky clients
  • Provide training and security for company employees, contractors, and third-party users

All of these steps naturally make normal operations slower. Most businesses account for this additional time and budget for it; however, project and team managers can optimize productivity with productivity monitoring software. 

If your business is moving into mobile apps development and digital transformation, then the need to monitor your company becomes even more crucial. Productivity monitoring software does not only look at productivity and efficiency, but it can also track security and endpoint vulnerability. Therefore, this software can keep up with product additions while maintaining operational efficiency. 

By looking at productivity, managers also clue into the normal compliance process that should be ongoing in their company. If your employees are skipping steps, like failing to block time for reporting SARs or not performing compliance audits, then this could alert managers to potential noncompliance issues. 

Productivity monitoring only works for compliance if the reporting and back-end are set up properly. This means that businesses need to input tasks related to compliance so that employees can track those tasks. If employees aren’t using those tasks, then follow-up and disciplinary action can then be taken. 

How Managers Can Use Both Productivity and Compliance Today

Managers within finance are distanced from the compliance needs of their staff. Using a productivity management system can allow managers better insight into how those compliance tasks are being handled and provide the next steps. 

Here’s how managers can use both productivity and compliance management together:

  • Set up a productivity monitoring system to track tasks, time for tasks, applications visited, and web pages visited, among others, to monitor the tasks that employees complete during work hours.
  • Set up keystroke logging to provide additional protection for your customers and staff against non-compliant features.
  • Audit communications internally and externally (including emails) to review compliance protocol and make noncompliance processes compliant and more efficient.
  • Set up workflows for regulatory change, including access to automation technology, rather than going through the manual process of tracking and updating your compliance program.
  • Organize an audit trail automatically, rather than going through it manually.

With a monitoring system like SoftActivity, managers actually gain access to insider threat protection as well. Managers can be alerted to potential security breaches to stop, mitigate, and recover as fast as possible. It can also help managers in reporting to customers the occurrence of a data breach within the times required by compliance (often around 48 hours). 

Through monitoring software, managers have a one-stop-shop for keeping tabs on employee tasks, minimizing employee threats, and keeping your company compliant. It can also improve the company culture, employee satisfaction, and employee retention so the company does not have to continually hire new employees due to high turnover. 

High turnover for finance and compliance can be challenging because the onboarding process is extremely time-consuming and costly. 

With productivity and performance monitoring software, employers can have greater insight into weak points in company performance, issues with team workload, and can take early steps through 1:1 meetings to minimize company turnover and noncompliance and boost employee engagement and productivity.

Improve Productivity and Compliance With SoftActivity

Businesses in the finance sector have a lot to worry about. Whether it is maintaining money transmitter licensing or adding new products that are compliant, businesses need to know that their internal compliance operations are functioning smoothly. This will minimize the chances of an audit, fine, or company shut down due to noncompliance. 

By monitoring productivity, businesses have greater insight into the regulatory requirements being followed, the amount of time regulation management takes up, and opportunities for productivity gains. You can’t look at one (productivity or compliance) without considering the other. 

Employee monitoring software virtually guarantees greater productivity. Businesses can use this software to:

  • Track applications and websites visited
  • Monitoring compliance risk in internal processes
  • Manage compliance-related tasks, assign appropriate tasks, and delegate work when needed
  • Track time spent on compliance vs. non-compliance

To increase productivity and compliance efforts, consider SoftActivity. SoftActivity is a security and productivity management software for businesses. Installing the software allows managers insight into remote workers, company compliance, and key performance metrics. Set up tasks for productivity and compliance measurement so that your finance company continues to be a well-run machine!

By SoftActivity Team.

6 Simple Things Fortune 500 Leaders are Doing Each Morning for Improved Productivity

May 2nd, 2022

We look to our leaders for insight and motivation. It’s no surprise, then, that we look to managers and leaders of Fortune 500 companies to understand how they prepare for their day for maximum productivity and efficiency

Applying any of these morning activities into your daily routine as a manager or into your company workflow as a principle of practice can improve overall company morale, employee performance, and productivity levels. 

Here are 6 things that Fortune 500 CEOs and company managers are doing in the morning to inspire action and avoid productivity challenges in the workplace:

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