- Long-term MSP (Managed Services Provider) for all your IT, phone, and security needs
- "Special needs" implementer to augment the day-to-day tasks of an internal technical staff (e.g., initial setup of a new server or new phone system)
- Reliable "go to" solution provider for the occasional break-fix issue (HelpDesk and dispatchable techs)
Managed IT Services
…and your budget!
In an MSP role, Andromeda offers a range of service plans—anything from month-to-month "time & materials" based assistance to fixed service contracts that permit "no-brainer" conformance to an annual budget. We even offer V.I.P. plans which permit you to "jump the queue" for HelpDesk and remote technical support assignments! Beyond the functions you would expect from a full-service MSP:
- Reliable & Fast Hybrid System Backup / Business Continuity Solutions
- Fast Data Recovery
- Network Management including 24/7/365 monitoring
- Virtual CIO role
- Security (spam control, anti-malware, containment & cleansing)
- End-to-End Internet Access & Web Hosting
- Email Account Setups, Mobile Syncing, Hosting, Archiving, and Cloud storage/services in Lockport, IL (e.g., Microsoft Office365 setups)
- Software Application Deployment & Database Repair
- Automated Patching
...Andromeda can offer so much more: a single, expert source for a full range of physical security systems which can (and should) freely interact with your data network:
- Telephone systems—both hosted VoIP and traditional on-premises
- Building/Door Access Control
- Security Camera Systems and Video Surveillance
- Burglar Alarm System Installation & Monitoring
So, not only can we provide professional service for the full gamut of physical security needs of your growing organization, we are uniquely positioned to integrate those systems with any elements of your data and voice network. It is this integration that extracts the full power and usefulness of these systems for your organization.
- System design (for new networks or expansion of existing ones)
- Ordering/delivery/installation of network components
- In-wall & in-ceiling wiring & access boxes in new or existing structures
- Integration with your current network, security systems, alarm systems, door access…
- Computer configurations, email/network accounts, firewalls, security software…
- Complete system testing and staff training
But our job doesn't stop there. Once your network is operational, we can continue to support you with preventive maintenance packages, innovative approaches to data backup, virus and Malware control, and anti-spam solutions.
Computer Network Infrastructure – Switches, Routers and Firewalls
Having a solid network infrastructure is critical to keeping your systems running well and with minimal downtime. Truly, a $20 network switch from the retail store down the street or the guy you know that "does some wiring on the side" is not going to get you where you need to be. Neither are onsite-only or Cloud-only backup solutions!
Knowing that network wiring and switches are the vital backbones of your operation, Andromeda employs only experienced technicians and uses only business-class networking gear:
HP network switches • Cisco routers • Sonicwall & Netgear firewalls
WANs, VPNs – Multiple Locations and Remote Access
We specialize in extending your network beyond the four walls of your main office. This might include remote or branch offices, mobile employees or remote access from your house for voice, video, file sharing and much more!
Wireless networks are quite popular and are fast becoming indispensible. However, they generally cannot achieve the same level of performance as traditional wired networks where security, reliability, and bandwidth are of premium importance. Still, a wireless network is a great solution for a few roaming laptops or tablet PCs overlaying your wired office areas. To overcome the potential shortcomings of wireless, we use HP and Cisco Wireless Access Points, and we can guide you through the do’s and don’ts of implementing a wireless network to avoid the pitfalls.
Computer Network Design and Infrastructure Wiring
Whether you are adding a few offices or doing an entire build-out from the ground up, Andromeda Technology Solutions can help. We can provide infrastructure wiring for your voice, data, TV, cameras, overhead paging, etc. Having one company to handle all your wiring needs eliminates trying to coordinate vendors, minimizes labor overlap, and decreases cost.
We are also available to assist in the design of your wiring. While architects generally do a good job with this layout, we have a unique real-world approach that tends to be more in line with what is actually needed for a working office. Involving us early in the process will minimize the chance of having to run additional wires after your construction is complete…when it's much more expensive to install!
Web/Email Hosting & Web Design
"Commodity" web and email hosting seem like great solutions…until they go down OR you need to add a new account OR remove an ex-employee's access OR countless other items that need attention more regularly than you initially imagined. Ideally, your IT service that performs these functions for you should also host your web and email accounts to avoid delays, transfer issues, and any number of other potential mishaps. Andromeda is pleased to offer comprehensive hosting plans to do just that. Through our plans, you can also choose additional premium services like website hit tracking and statistics reporting.
Andromeda is also pleased to provide web design services—anything from simple informational sites to complete new site designs featuring animation/video, multi-tiered navigation, database-backed forms and social media interaction. We also have proven expertise in the art of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)—a "must" for any company that needs to generate new business leads from its on-line presence!
Andromeda Tech Press
As part of our service, it is important to keep our client-partners well informed on IT developments, news, and best practices. Here is just a sampling of typical items from our Andro-PediaSM library archive:
Don’t Use Public WiFi Without Reading These Data Security Quick Tips Apr 03, 2017
We are all guilty of it: connecting to free public WiFi. Whether it is at the coffee shop, hotel or airport, the temptation to check e-mail and surf the web is just too strong to resist. As with anything technology related, free networks pose a number of risks to your data security. Here are a few tips to help you keep your information safe.
Data Security Quick Tips for When Using Public Wifi
Confirm The Network Is Legit –
It is common for hackers to set up fake clones of public WiFi access points. The hacker sets up the clone to get you to connect to THEIR WiFi over the legitimate one made available to you by your neighborhood coffee shop or restaurant. Connecting to a hacker’s access point can expose critical data and passwords. To avoid jumping on an unsafe network, verify the name of the WiFi your location is providing.
Enable A Firewall On Your Devices Or Use a VPN
A dependable firewall will help protect your sensitive data. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts traffic between your device and the VPN server, which makes it much more difficult for an intruder or hacker to access your sensitive data and improves your data security. You can try to set up your own VPN for personal devices but we suggest professional support for any of your work devices.
Turn Off File Sharing & Keep Devices from Automatically Joining Networks
Sure, file sharing is a great way to collaborate and send photos or other documents simply and quickly with friends, but leaving this function on only leaves you vulnerable to intrusion. As an extra data security measure, make sure you turn this feature off whenever you aren’t at home. In addition, cellphones can be set up to automatically join networks with free WiFi. Does this help you save on data? Sure! But it also sets you up to fall victim to scammers. Make sure you never allow your device to join a network without getting your permission first.
Don’t Access Financial Sites Or Make Purchases
NEVER access financial, medical or other sensitive data while on public WiFi. Also, don’t shop online and enter your credit card information unless you’re absolutely certain the connection point you’re on is safe and secure. This is simply asking for trouble and breaks the data security’s number one rule.
There are many ways for you to protect your data and secure your devices from hackers and those that wish to do you harm. The surest way to protect yourself is a trusted IT partner who can ensure your devices have proper protocols in place. If you are concerned about your own devices or those of your employees, give us a call. We are always available to help.
The post Don’t Use Public WiFi Without Reading These Data Security Quick Tips appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.
5 Critical Components Any Professional Disaster Recovery Plan Must Have Jul 03, 2017
We hear a whole lot about ransomware and cyber criminals these days. Andromeda helps our clients combat most data breaches with multi-tiered security solutions and employee training. But, every business is still vulnerable to incident. That is why a full proof and dependable Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity plan is an essential. Before you hit the world wide web searching for DR solutions and backup plans, take a look at these 5 critical components any professional disaster recovery plan must have.
Your disaster recovery plan should consider appropriate business continuity variables.
Disasters happen; they come in many shapes and sizes. Server crashes, accidental file deletion, physical disasters such as fire or flood and the increasingly common ransomware or malware infection are all scenarios.
You must ask two important questions yourself in regards to business continuity:
- How much time can pass between recovery points, ie: how much data can you afford to lose; this is commonly known in Business Continuity as RPO – Recovery Point Objective
- How much time can pass between the disaster and recovery, ie: how much time can you afford to lose; this is commonly known in Business Continuity as RTO – Recovery Time Objective
Ideally, your RPO and RTO are as low as possible.
A good Disaster Recovery Plan will consider these factors and have various options for restoring files, folders or even whole servers. On top of that, it is important that these options take into account minimalizing data loss and interruption.
Data should be stored both locally and offsite.
Many people have an easy time seeing the value in the offsite backup. Whether that’s tape drives taken offsite daily, external USB drives treated the same, or data sent to the cloud for storage, it carries with it a feeling of great comfort knowing that “if the building burns down” the data is still safe.
What few realize is what we mean when we speak about downtime, for incidents that are not quite as catastrophic as a burning building. In those cases, it can take an unacceptable amount of time to get your hands on that offsite backup or to download an entire server from the cloud.
With a Disaster Recovery Plan option that offers backups both locally and offsite (cloud based), you are able to restore large quantities of files and entire server images quickly. Your onsite device should also have the capability to virtualize as a temporary server in the event your main server crashes.
Find a disaster recovery plan option that provides multiple restore options
When you think about restoring from a disaster, you may believe that so long as you have a version of your data somewhere, you are secure. In reality though, your recovery time objective can be greatly impacted by the different options available to you after a disaster. A disaster recovery plan with multiple options for virtualization, restoration and data access is an absolute must.
You may have heard the term “virtualization” before. Being able to virtualize your server either on a physical device at your location or in the cloud simply means that you have a temporary solution that will keep your business up and running while you resolve whatever issue corrupted your data, server or situation in the first place.
A catastrophic hardware failure can put your business down for hours, sometimes days. Rushing that process up can incur huge costs as well: rush delivery, emergency dispatch etc. In the event of a hardware failure, a virtual copy of your last backup can be spun up. Once completed, you can resume working swiftly. This quick recovery allows you to deal with hardware replacements, scheduling and budgets in an organized fashion.
A top tier solution will provide you with onsite virtualization and an option to virtualize in the cloud. Cloud virtualization is not as quick and can produce some lag time. Nonetheless, in the event your backups are stolen or disaster strikes your building (fire, flood etc.) – the ability to spin up and virtualize data from the cloud means that your business is not at a standstill.
Find out what type of support a vendor provides for disaster recovery plans.
Your company does not want to struggle to get their files restored. You can’t wait hours and hours to restore a file you accidentally deleted. Don’t wait for hours to hear back on the status of a data restore. Your IT partner should understand the solution they are providing and be able to work with you directly. Cut out the intermediary. Ensure your vendor monitors all the warranties, all the software support calls, and all monitoring; ensuring your backups are humming all day every day – as they should be.
Don’t trust just any business continuity or disaster recovery plan solution.
There are literally hundreds of options out there for Disaster Recovery. A quick Google search will give you pages of results. Comparing them is mind numbing, and if we are being honest . . . who takes the time to do all that? Your first step is to find an IT partner that you trust. Check their references. See if they have case studies to show how a disaster recovery functions with the product. Ask for a demonstration of the product. This is serious stuff and you need to trust the hands maintaining and protecting your data.
The post 5 Critical Components Any Professional Disaster Recovery Plan Must Have appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.
HIPAA Compliance, Enforcement Top Priority For New Agency Head Sep 16, 2017
Roger Severino is a man on a mission. If you’re not familiar with the name, and your company has to comply with HIPAA regulations, then you’ll probably be hearing a lot about (and from) him in the months and years ahead.
Mr. Severino was recently appointed as the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office For Civil Rights, which makes him the agency’s chief enforcer where HIPAA violations are concerned. His stated mission is, in his own words, to find a “big, juicy, egregious breach case to use as an example from which others can learn.”
Since taking over the office, Severino has been hard at work. He has just completed a massive overhaul of the agency’s “Wall of Shame,” which is a website that lists all the breaches they’ve investigated, and all the companies found to be in violation of HIPAA regulations.
One of the most common complaints about the Wall of Shame was not that it existed and shined a bright light on HIPAA offenders, but that it was extremely dated, and only offered a simple alphabetic listing of companies.
The new website provides complete and better information about not just who has been found to be in violation, but whether they’ve taken steps to correct the problems, and what their current status is.
Even so, it would be a mistake to view Severino as a friend. His job is to make sure that people who violate HIPAA regulations are raked over the coals for it, and as he himself has stated, he’s on the hunt for a company to make an example of.
If you work with PHI or PII, you’d best be sure that you’re following HIPAA regulations to the letter. Otherwise, the next time you hear Mr. Severino’s name, it could be on an official piece of correspondence from his department. Don’t be his target!