enhanced business phone features
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Enhanced Phone Features For Enhanced Business Part 1 (3 Part Series)

We regularly reach out to clients for feedback on our products and service. Over the twenty plus years we have been in business, at least one thing has remained constant. Phones are a necessity for every business and professional phone systems remain a mystery to most users. Just like the other technologies in your office, your phone system changes with time and modern phone systems have many new enhanced phone features. These phone features can improve productivity, improve accessibility and assist with client relations. There are many different enhanced features available to you. With this in mind, we are bringing you a three part series focusing on enhanced phone features for enhanced business.

 4 Enhanced Phone Features You Didn’t Even Know You Needed

Twinning

The first in our phone features list is Twinning. Twinning allows a primary extension and a secondary number (extension or external) to operate together as a single telephone. When a call presents to the primary phone the secondary will ring. If the primary telephone does not ring, for example in Do Not Disturb, the secondary phone will not ring. For example, imagine you have twinning set up for your mobile phone and your office phone. When a call comes through, both phones ring so you can receive calls whether you are in the office or on the road (of course, as mentioned, you may set your phones to Do Not Disturb because you are gone for the day, or in a meeting so you aren’t interrupted by phone calls 24/7).

Internal Twinning

This next phone feature is typically used in large spaces like workshops or warehouses where team supervisors may have a desk with a fixed phone but also have a wireless extension (e.g. DECT). When a call is made from either internally twinned phone, the call will appear to have come from the primary phone (when the secondary is an extension on the IP Office system). Other users of the system need not know that the supervisor has two different phones.

Mobile (external) Twinning

A typical use for Mobile Twinning would be for a salesperson or other employee who has a desk extension but is often out of the office. They can give out one phone number to clients, but it will ring their mobile/cell phone as well as the desk extension. External mobile devices can be set as twinning targets even if the primary telephone is logged out.

Mobile Call Control

This enhanced phone feature allows a user who has answered a twinned call on their mobile phone to use features they would normally only be able to access on their desktop phone (i.e. transfer calls, park calls, conference etc.) There is traditionally a sequence such as ** (star star) that the user must enter to engage this functionality.

If any of the above look like something your business is missing, feel free to give us a call. Make sure to check back in for part 2 of the Enhanced Phone Features series next month

3 Add-On Features Your Burglar Alarm System Can Provide
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3 Add-On Functions Your Burglar Alarm System Can Provide That Have Nothing To Do With A Burglary

A Burglary is something every business owner fears. Whether you are the owner of a retail location, restaurant, warehouse/manufacturing facility or even the owner of a B2B service based office, you are vulnerable to theft. It may be hard to imagine but it is the reality. The good news is there are protective measures available for your business and they protect you against multiple types of theft. Providing a reliable burglar alarm system, access control, camera systems, integrated security and proper IT procedures are just a few that we deal with every day.

For the purpose of this article, we want to focus on the traditional burglar system. When most people think of a burglar alarm system, they imagine a key pad at a main entrance, sensors throughout the building that detect movement, maybe a few glass break sensors etc. These are all traditional components that, when programmed by professionals who understand YOUR business, can assist you in preventing a break in.

However, where else can your professional burglar alarm system assist you? Can it do anything for the business besides catch a thief from breaking in during the middle of the night?

Of course it can!

3 Add-On Functions Your Burglar Alarm System Can Provide That Have Nothing To Do With A Burglary

Panic Button – You may install a panic button in multiple locations with many different functions:

  • A hidden switch for employees
  • Public switch for patron/employee use
  • Hand held device or lanyard for patron/employee use

This allows employees or customers in your facility to press the panic button and send a direct alert to police silently without allowing a troublemaker to know what is going on. Another use for a panic button is as an alert that someone is hurt and needs assistance.

Temperature Sensor – If you have a server room/closet, there is probably someone in charge of regulating the temperature. Equipment in those rooms is temperature sensitive. If it gets too hot or too cold, your important IT and Security hardware is easily in danger of malfunction. A good burglar alarm system has sensors for temperature that can be placed in rooms such as these. You can program the panel to monitor the room. This way, the moment the temperature leaves acceptable ranges the system will alert appropriate staff before a bigger problem occurs.  A similar concept applies also to coolers or devices which store anything perishable, even medical supplies.

Water Sensor — Obviously, your IT closet has water-sensitive equipment . . . but, what fun would that same example be here? Did you know that you could use your burglar alarm system to monitor areas that are prone to leaks or standing water? You know you are thinking about that annoying sump pump. With proper placement, a water sensor connected to your burglar alarm can help you rest easy during flood seasons, heavy storms and your run of the mill-plumbing problem.

How To Acquire A Burglar Alarm System with Andromeda

There are many ways your burglar alarm system can assist your business with day-to-day function and maintenance. Sharing your concerns, specific needs and desires with an experienced burglar representative at Andromeda can not only help you sleep better at night but be more productive throughout the day.

Check out more information on our Burglar Alarm Systems and Services.

hacked website
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Your Website Got Hacked . . . Now What?

There are few worse feelings in business than going to your website only to find it suspended due to malware or a cyber-attack. You start to wonder, “Did I do something to cause this?”, “Why was my website hacked anyway?”, and “How can I get my site back up as quickly as possible?” The answer to this is simpler than you might believe, cyber criminals and hackers do not discriminate. You have data . . . data is valuable . . . they want cash.

Website security is a necessity for its health but most importantly, security is important because it creates trust for both your user and major search engines. A website that crashes due to malware attacks can cause the hacked website to become ‘blacklisted’ – meaning, search engines will not show the site in searches as not to infect users.

So what should you do if your website falls victim to hacking? Well, follow these steps and they should get your website back up-and-running in no time.

5 Steps for getting your hacked site back online after malicious infection attempt

  1. Run an anti-virus scan on your computer – Sometimes, hackers get into websites thru a hack on a local machine. Once allowed access into your machine, the hacker can watch your activity, gain access to passcodes and gather other vital security information. Before you do anything to fix the attack on your website, run an anti-virus scan on your local machine to make sure it is clean and safe to use.
  2. Change all passwords on all accounts– The next thing you will want to do is change all passcodes associated with your website account. This will mean CMS (content management system) template passwords, FTP passwords, and cpanel passwords (if your server has access to a cpanel). If your site is down due to a hacked system, you can reach out to server support. They can assist you with whitelisting your IP so you can make the necessary changes and perform the necessary cleaning. As mentioned in step 1, hackers get access to your site by stealing password information, by changing passwords; you remove their access to the site.
  3. Upgrade CMS Template to newest version– The next step is to upgrade the software for CMS template you are using for your website (*Note, if you do not use CMS, then you can skip this step). Each update executed for CMS platforms provides a security plug or patch that is necessary in order to keep your website secure. Keeping your template updated regularly can provide insurance that your site remains relatively healthy and safe. Performing regular updates is not a guarantee against hacking. However, keeping the CMS updated means there is one less hole in the template script for hackers to exploit. When updating, make sure to upgrade all plugins and themes as well.
  4. Clean out the website ­– Now comes the hard part, making sure your hacked website is completely clean. While some code might be easy to locate and remove, hacks can be quite intricate. Depending on how long a cyber-criminal had access to your site, code may be deeply buried within the core structure of your site. You’ll need to make sure to go thru it with a fine tooth comb. If you are unfamiliar with complex code, there are services and companies – including Andromeda Technology Solutions – that will assist you with this task. Once all malicious code is removed, you will need to submit the site for inspection with your server technicians.
  5. Resubmit site to search engines and increase website firewall security – Once your site is clear of vulnerabilities or malicious code, you still need to do two things:
    1. Resubmit your site to search engines if it is blacklisted – If search engines blacklisted your site, the only way to get your site viewable and searchable again is to go to the major search engines and let them know your site is clear and all hacked materials and code have been patched and/or removed. This can take a couple of days . . . be prepared.
    2. Increase the firewall prevention on your site. Once a site has been hacked, it can be slightly easier for it to become infected again. We know you don’t want that. One way to prevent a repeat attack is by increasing your website firewall. Having a proxy server that manages who and what can visit your site definitely helps. The proxy server provides an extra level of protection and deters cyber-criminal activity. Hackers and cyber bullies want to go after the lowest hanging fruit. A proxy server and beefed up firewall preventions make your site more difficult to tackle.

Seems like a lot, right? Well, don’t worry. Andromeda is here to help.

We pride ourselves in protecting clients against all kinds of threats from cyber bullies.

If website security is an area you know needs attention in your organization, fill out the form below for a promotional coupon good thru July 15th on Advanced Website Firewall and Monitoring. This service utilizes proxy servers as described above to protect your site. Additionally, our continued monitoring platform scans your site every 12 hours to ensure it is clean and clear. Rest easy at night knowing Andromeda has your back both on and off the web.

Fill Out This Form For Your Promotional Coupon Good For 2 Free Months of Advanced Website Firewall & Monitoring Services from Andromeda Technology Solutions

wannacry ransomware prevention
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3 Critical Steps You MUST Take To Avoid WannaCry And Ransomware Like It

Last month the world was hit by one of the largest cyber security attacks in history- affecting more than 200,000 organizations in 150 countries. WannaCry ransomware, the perpetrator of this attack, took advantage of outdated patches and software licenses. Infected computers and business owners risked losing critical data if they didn’t pay the ransom.

ransomware lock screen

As cyber security & prevention experts, we are happy to report that not a single client of Andromeda Technology Solutions was affected by this attack because of our security protocols and procedures. The same can’t be said for Cook County.

Industry experts predict that this ransomware attack will hit again. Tech experts remain unsure how the new approach might be deployed – in a similar fashion or with a new “2.0” virus. While the specifics of future cyber security attacks are uncertain, we know some things for sure. Proper protocol is CRITICAL for data security and the safety of your business.

Ransomware: The Numbers **

  • Almost 50% of Small Businesses have experienced some form of cyber attack
  • MORE than 70% of attacks target Small Business
  • As many as 60% of small businesses that experience a data breach go out of business within 6 months.

These numbers are scary. Cyber security demands the attention of business owners globally and the efforts of hackers/cyber criminals are only increasing. These criminals want your money and they don’t care about the damage left behind.

That being said, there is hope and there are measures you can take to prevent your business from becoming a victim of ransomware.

3 Security Protocols You MUST Implement Immediately For The Safety Of Your Data, Your Business AND Your Wallet . . .

  1. Update ALL Microsoft Licenses to Windows 7 At A Minimum & Maintain Up To Date Security Patching – Cyber criminals are no dummies. WannaCry and other viruses like it take advantage of out of date licenses. Too often, business owners sacrifice the security of their network because they don’t want to go through the grief of updating to the latest Microsoft License. Andromeda recommends updating ALL PC’s to Windows 7 at a minimum and, more importantly, make sure you perform regular patch and security updates.
  2. Test & Verify ALL Data Backups – When is the last time you tested and verified your backups? Are you backing up your data at all? How long would it take your current IT provider to get you back up in running in the event of a disaster (virtualization time)? It is a FACT . . . you will be hit by some form of ransomware, malware or virus. The real question becomes, do you have the protocols in place to defend and beat the attack? One of the most important things you can do to safeguard yourself is perform regular backups. (We recommend daily at a minimum). A cybercriminal can’t hold your data hostage if you follow this simple practice. AND – don’t accept a verbal confirmation your data continuously remains backed up as proof. Your IT partner should provide you regular, real time, proof that your data is backed up securely and that it can be visualized in an agreed upon length of time. If your IT provider can’t give these stats and proofs to you, time to find a new partner.
  3. ransomware phishing emailEducate Your Team On How These Attacks Work And Where They Come From – Every office has that one employee that will click on ANYTHING (hopefully it isn’t you). Continued education is one of the first lines of defense against these attacks. Employees should know:
    1. What to look out for
    2. What phishing scams look like
    3. What to do when they suspect an email or link is suspect
    4. NEVER to check personal email at work
    5. Etc.

Proper spam filters set by your IT group should prevent the majority of these emails from getting to your inbox. However, it only takes ONE CLICK and an entire network is infected before you know what happened.

Ransomware Prevention constantly changing, be sure to stay on top of newest trends

When all is said and done, cyber security is an everyday battle. Hackers and criminals will keep attacking until you don’t have something they want. These 3 Security protocols are only the tip of the iceberg and should be part of a multiphase approach implemented by your internal staff and your IT partner. If you have any questions, please reach out to a representative at Andromeda today.

If you’ve found this article on ransomware prevention interesting, you might also want to consider attending our upcoming Executive Lunch & Learn Seminar.

**Statistics sourced from the National Cyber Security Alliance