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Is Work from Home Here to Stay Permanently?

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Almost everyone around the world is working from home, due to the imposed lockdown to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. This arrangement has a lot of benefits for both employees and employers. But, will the work from home continue even after the lockdown restrictions are lifted?

Recently, the “Permanent-WFH” trend has gained momentum in the tech industry as many companies are extending WFH policies, including:

  • Facebook starts planning for permanent remote workers
  • Amazon extending optional WFH till at least October 2020
  • Twitter saying​ that employees can opt for permanent WFH
  • Microsoft allowing WFH​ for all but “essential” workers till October 2020
  • Salesforce allowing employees to work from home for the rest of 2020
  • Google also extending WFH​ through the rest of 2020
  • Zillow making WFH​ universally available through the end of the year
  • Twitter saying​ that employees can WFH permanently if they wish
  • Square employees will be able to work from home even after the COVID-19
  • Barclays CEO Jes Staley says crowded corporate offices with thousands of employees “may be a thing of the past”
  • Nationwide announcing a permanent transition to a hybrid work model

According to a recent Gartner survey, 74 percent of CFOs expect some of their employees who were forced to work from home because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to continue working remotely after the pandemic ends.

In March 2020, RPost formalized one of the first work from home (WFH) programs to help end users during the pandemic that included a (free) e-signature, email security and encryption, and file sharing toolkit with RSign and RMail—two of RPost’s award-winning products. We succeeded in helping thousands of companies quickly and affordably adapt to the new normal with this pandemic.

Some good news is that while we are winding down this pandemic WFH program as people focus on back-to-business, we will continue to extend this for those in need, to help customers, friends, and their friends during this continuing health and economic crisis. With a 2-minute install into Microsoft Outlook or Gmail, or using our web apps, everyone is automatically enabled for RSign and RMail business licenses while this program continues. Simple and fast — install from any RSign or RMail website or partner program worldwide. After the program ends, service will continue but at free base levels (vs. free business licenses)

And we at RPost are continuing to innovate during these challenging times: Xerox released the first-ever scan-to-encrypt button for its print-scanners called Xerox Connect for RMail Encryption. Users can enjoy the convenience of the scan-to-email function and now can do so with peace-of-mind about the privacy, proof and security of their transmitted scanned information. More on this at our June 18 global partner and user conference, OPTMIZE! 2020.

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Email impostor trickiness lures HR staff to change ADP payroll direct deposits

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In these strange economic times, impostors have identified an overworked company department. With Human Resource (HR) departments handling a new onslaught of employee concerns and issues, staffing changes, and remote work policies, email imposters have inserted themselves stealthily into their world. And, they have struck gold!

Read more

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Will you be working from home ‘FOREVER’?

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A lot has been made recently about the Twitter CEO telling his employees that they can work from home ‘forever’ if they see fit. This past Tuesday, the Twitter CEO sent out a much-talked-about email (funny he didn’t use his company’s namesake product for this). The email states, “if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever [emphasis added], we will make that happen.”

Twitter asked its 5,000+ employee workforce to start working from home way back in the beginning of March and has since become a kind of canary-in-the-coalmine for firms thinking of implementing similar policies. More companies (e.g. Amazon, Facebook) now are extending their work from home policies through at least the end of 2020, and this much is now clear: working from home will be the norm—not the exception—for much longer than many of us initially thought. Here in Los Angeles, our stay-at-home order has similarly been extended “indefinitely”, so we know most of us won’t be back in our offices for the foreseeable future.

Back on March 13, Tech Essentials was among the first to offer tips on working from home, seeing that we were about to enter a period of long disengagement from our traditional offices. On March 16, RPost formalized one of the first work from home (WFH) programs to help end users during the pandemic that included a (free) e-signature, email security and encryption, and file sharing toolkit with RSign and RMail—two of RPost’s award-winning products. We succeeded in helping thousands of companies quickly and affordably adapt to the new normal with this pandemic.

Some good news is that we are still offering this pandemic WFH program to help customers, friends, and their friends during this continuing health and economic crisis. With a 2-minute install into Microsoft Outlook or Gmail, or using our web apps, everyone is automatically enabled for RSign and RMail business licenses. Simple and fast — install from any RSign or RMail website or partner program worldwide.

And we at RPost are continuing to innovate during these challenging times: Xerox released the first-ever scan-to-encrypt button for its print-scanners called Xerox Connect for RMail Encryption. Users can enjoy the convenience of the scan-to-email function and now can do so with peace-of-mind about the privacy, proof and security of their transmitted scanned information. More on this next week, so please stay tuned and be safe!

Blog | RMail & RSign

Home email, the new normal for millions of Americans

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Today the Labor Department released a report that showed over 20 million jobs were lost in April alone, boosting the unemployment rate to nearly 15%. These are levels perhaps never seen by any living American. Even as people start to venture out to beaches and parks that are opening up, most people are still remaining inside — spending more time in their home email (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook.com, Outlook Online, and other mobile and browser email programs).

When RPost first launched its E-Sign & E-Security (Free) “Work-from-Home” Readiness program in March, it was not apparent that many of those shifting to work-from-home might now be in an unsettling new situation. Some are trying to stay more connected to their jobs working extra-time from home or have been recently distanced from their employers and are dealing with company HR staff. Others may be now thinking about independent contractor work.

Perhaps a tiny bit of good news in a sea of despair is that the traditional work-from-home programs mentioned above will also work from your home email. Here are some tools to think about adding to your Gmail, Outlook.com, or home email now — especially if your new normal is going to be working as a contractor from home over the next few months or maybe longer. Check out this video below for more details:

Tech Essentials Tools (freely available) for newly independent contractors or those working from home or using their home email accounts more (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook.com, Office 365 Outlook):

  • Communicating payroll, financial, tax and COBRA/health information with employers or clients: Send Registered Email™ (marked or stealthily unmarked) – Watch Video
    • Provides you with email delivery tracking and certified proof of your email content, delivery, and timestamp – essentially a perfect record of who said what to whom and when, by email.
    • Send your independent contractor invoices attached to Registered Email™ messages to ensure an irrefutable record of timely delivery.
    • Try the Register Reply™ feature to record in a permanent Registered Receipt™ record their replies to your email.
    • Make it visibly “Registered Email™ marked” or with no markings, so the recipient just sees a plain email but you still get the Registered Receipt™ for your proof record.
    • Add encryption with one click if there is particularly sensitive information contained in the message.
    • Try RMail Message Level encryption if your content is ultra-sensitive (contains health or financial details).
  • E-Sign a contractor agreement or statement of work: RMail or RSign e-sign – Watch Video
    • Easily put your e-signature on HR forms sent to you.
    • Email your independent contractor terms to a new client for their e-signoff.
    • Email statements of work for e-signoff by all parties.

How to do this free from your web or mobile browser, Gmail, Outlook Online, and Office 365 Outlook? Visit RMail for GmailRMail for Outlook.com, or other RMail apps with free installations and service.

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“You’re Fired!” Fake Termination Emails Proliferate in this Climate of Job Insecurity

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It was only a matter of time. Fresh off their latest exploits at trying to phish for sensitive financial account information, scammers have set their sights on people’s actual jobs. With jobless claims now topping 30 million and the unemployment rate headed for new highs, cyber criminals now have fertile ground for a brazen new scam.

It goes like this: You receive an email with an unsettling subject line, “Your accounts have been terminated” or, more subtly, “Please Join Important HR meeting Now In Progress”. The message is sent from what appears to be your HR department or a company administrator, and there is text that reads, “This email is from a trusted source”, so this looks like a safe email. Here’s an example I saw:

You begin to think to yourself, “Oh no, this is it. My company is going to discuss layoffs, and I’m going to be effected in some way.” You understandably may feel that your own job is now on the line. There’s a big Zoom/GoToMeeting-like button in the email that says, “Join Now”. You’ve seen this a million times now that we’re months into quarantines. You nervously click the button and you are not taken to the real web conferencing app but some other scam site.

The thing is: you were too distracted to notice what site you were routed to. The login page is a pixel-perfect facsimile of what you’ve seen in the past except that you’re actually going to a scammer gateway page built to steal your sensitive email login credentials.

They put the text, “Email Address Password” into the password field instead of just “Password”, as you would see on your real web conferencing page. They’re hoping that you might use the password to your email account instead of your real web conference password. Without thinking, you might enter an email address/password combination (that, for many, is also the combo you use for many other accounts). Once you enter this information and submit it, you are taken to a fake page that tells “Waiting for Organizer”.  You wait for a bit and nothing happens, you assume the meeting was cancelled, and you leave a bit confused, but go about your day.

With the best internet criminals, you may never even realize that the “meeting” was not a real one, but it’s now too late. Your job may in fact be safe, but your sensitive email login info, info that may be used for your email, which is the access point for many of your activities, is now exposed to the crooks perpetrating this scheme. Or worse, that “Join Now” button that you clicked installed malware that can run havoc on the machine you now rely on to work from home. There may even be ransomware involved where you get into an ugly bind looking for Bitcoin to pay off the criminals holding your family photos hostage.

Now what? Obviously, if you are aware of the mistake you need to immediately change your passwords to any accounts that may be affected and run your malware scanner. You should also know that the E-Sign & E-Security (Free) Work-from-Home Readiness program includes email security automation services: RMail Anti-Whaling email impostor protection for Outlook and, for advanced folks, RMail Gateway inbound-and-outbound phishing and threat protection filters.

In these trying and unprecedented times, scammers are always finding new ways to liberate your hard-earned money from your accounts. This is just the latest example, and you can be sure there will be new scams like this in the future as this pandemic crisis persists. Hopefully, with some awareness (and sharing of Tech Essentials with your staff) you can avoid being another victim of these scams.

Blog | RMail & RSign

Anatomy of Phishing in this Pandemic – Spearphising is Great, Whaling Best

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If you have money, savvy phisherman and whalers will find you. With most of the world hunkered down working from home, normal processes are disrupted, so this is a target-rich environment for scammers. They are lurking. Beware!

There are many people all over the world falling for these phishing lures. With the US Government doling out trillions of dollars, these phisherman see dollar signs, thinking about all of the money transfers that they can intercept and interfere with.

Today, it was announced that even some very savvy finance guys (with teams of lawyers) are sending money directly to the wrong people — three British private equity firms were tricked into making wire transfers worth a total £1.1 million (around $1.3 million) following some back-and-forth impostor emails.

These cyber fraudsters are smart; some very smart and willing to invest time and money to learn about you and your circle of business colleagues. One tactic (of many) is to buy a LinkedIn recruiter tool which educates them on the hierarchy within your company — it lets them learn who reports one level up to whom.

Armed with these insights into your inner circle — who controls the money and who can send money — the best of them send very cleverly designed emails asking their victims to do things at their bosses’ behest. People often jump at the idea, with a feeling of importance, that their boss (or even bosses’ boss) is thinking about them enough to ask for an urgent “favor”. They reply to the impostor email and engage in a back-and-forth.

These cyber fraudsters are also patient; some are very patient. This back-and-forth email exchange could last a few days or even weeks. Then BOOM. They ask for a (modified) invoice to be paid or gift cards to be purchased for clients or even something that involves a bigger ticket wire transfer.

Sounds crazy, but we hear the stories. One recent customer support guy was running all over town (yes, with his COVID mask) buying gift cards because he got a series of fake impostor emails from the CEO of his company asking him to buy them for a client. Unfortunately, he bought and sent them. Money lost.

The challenge with these tricky tactics is those who are targeted are often the ones least suspicious and most trusting about email content.

What to do? The E-Sign & E-Security (Free) Work-from-Home Readiness program includes all-important and world class e-signature and email encryption services. And now (recently announced), it also includes email security automation services: RMail Anti-Whaling for Outlook and, for advanced folks, RMail Gateway inbound-and-outbound phishing and threat protection filters.

Most staff have no idea how to spot an impostor email lure. Most don’t even know that they have been targeted and maybe have already sent money to the bad guys. In any case, at least ask your team to install in 2-minutes the RMail for Outlook or Gmail software for an additional layer of protection.

The “New” Haves and Have Nots

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It wasn’t too long ago when the term “acclimated” did not mean you were adjusted to high altitude at your favorite rocky mountain ski resort. In the mid-1800’s, it meant you had survived a bout of yellow fever (which had a 50% kill rate) and were now immune.

Those acclimated were the lucky “haves” of the time. They were more employable; they wined and dined with socialites; and they lived without fear and anxiety of what “could” happen. (The Atlantic explains further for those historians in our readership).

Those “have nots” were not employable, as employers did not want to undergo training just to find their employees may easily have become incapacitated. They were not marriage material, as the longevity of their lifespan was entirely at risk.

We are entering a phase in this pandemic where we will likely see a resurgence of this type of worldly dichotomy — the “new” haves and have nots will not be about who has money or who doesn’t. It will be about who is “acclimated” and can roam free and without worry. The economy will grudgingly reopen. Those coffee shops, movie theaters and stadiums will fill with the “haves”, those who have been acclimated and survived the process. Baseball teams may fill their rosters by talent + “acclimation” as the “haves” are unlikely to get sidelined (or worse) due to COVID-19.

For most of us, the “new” have nots, those not yet “acclimated” (i.e. immune), we will have some tough decisions to make. What to do, who to tell that we are not yet acclimated, where to go, who we socialize with.

For “unacclimated” professionals — the “new” have nots, one decision that seems reasonable from a risk/reward perspective is the decision to continue to work from home. And there are many of us still unacclimated, which sounds more elegant than being a “have not”.

Millions of today’s work-from-home “unacclimated” professionals had better continue to gear up with the tools to make being a “have not” as comfortable and economically productive as possible.

The Florida Bar recently presented to members a webinar on the best work-from-home Tools for Lawyers (watch recording here). In addition to legal professionals, Tech Essentials recommends these tools and tips for any professional in the insurance, real estate, investment, financial, human resources, etc. fields.

One of the tools featured in the webinar is the E-Sign & E-Security (Free) Work-from-Home Readiness Program, and more and more people and organizations are opting for this award-winning all-in-one tool set that runs inside Outlook or Gmail with just a few clicks. No credit cards or telephone calls are required to get started (click here to access now or learn more).

Let’s show those “haves” that we “have nots” can be just as — or more — productive in today’s strange economic reality.