What Is An Andromeda C‑CAT?A C‑CAT (Client-Centric Action Team) is a dedicated team that includes one or more two Remote Service Techs, and one or more IT Field Techs whose activities are curated by a Service Coordinator(SC)—each specifically appointed to service your organization. With cat-like reflexes and precision, your Andromeda C-CAT will pounce on any IT issue, upgrade, or project. It's really the cat's meow for your IT needs!)
Professional IT Services that Andromeda Provides for Alsip, IL Businesses:
What A Few Of Our Clients Have To Say
AndroPedia Tech Library
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 AndroPediaSM library archive:
To SSL or Not to SSL: What is HTTPs and Why it Matters to You Jan 12, 2018
2017 was a pretty eventful year for tech. Between the WannaCry ransomware virus, the data breach at Equifax and many other less famous incidents – one thing is for certain. 2017 was the year of cybersecurity and 2018 is expected to follow suit.
With cyber attacks on everyone’s mind and radar, businesses are starting to notice a shift in public perception when it comes to the companies they work with when it comes to data security. People want to feel safe – and they want to make sure that their information is safe, even on the web.
So while this has been a growing trend for a few years now, it is safe to say that moving forward, the trend has transformed into an expectation of security and protecting consumer data.
2018 is definitely the year of HTTPs.
What is HTTPs?
To understand what HTTPS means and how it works, you need to know a few definitions.
First – HTTP, HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. Without diving too deep into the technical lingo, this is an application layer protocol. Basically, HTTP is the protocol that involves information sent between a browser (like google chrome) and a website itself. So if you were to interrupt that connection and intercept it, you’d see in plain text what was being communicated between the website and the browser.
This can be very dangerous in certain situations. For example, if you are purchasing goods on a website with a basic HTTP (basic meaning unsecured), your personal information like your address, credit card info and whatever else you submit can be intercepted and stolen.
Nobody wants this to occur – except the thieves – so HTTPs was introduced as a secure option.
Like HTTP, HTTPs stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol but it has an additional Security component; hence the “S”.
By adding additional security components, the language being transmitted between website and browser is encrypted and kept from being read by evil doers and criminals.
Another term you might hear thrown around regarding this security protocol is an SSL or Secure Socket Layer Certificate. Again, this is just another way of saying that your site has the technology in place to securely encrypt transactions between the website and browsers etc.
The types of SSL Certificates may vary, but their basic coding provides security and encryption.
You can always tell if a website is secure in a few different ways.
- https:// precedes the URL destination i.e. https://www.google.com
- A lock shows up in the leftmost corner of your navigation bar
- A green lock shows up in the leftmost corner of your navigation bar
Sounds pretty good, right?
There was a time when this added security feature was mainly used on websites that transfer personal information such as ecommerce, financial, medical, legal etc. but these days the added security of an SSL or HTTPs on your site is more of a standard.
It is something that savvy consumers look for to avoid vulnerability.
Now that we’ve gone through what this feature is and how it operates in respect to your website you might have some additional questions about whether this feature would benefit you. We’ve touched on a few of the most common topics below.
I’m Just A Small Business Website,
Why Should HTTPs Matter to Me?
An SSL Shows Your Customer Base You Care About Their Security
By adding an SSL certificate to your website, and turning it from HTTP to HTTPs, you are providing an extra level of security for your users. They know right away that your website is secure- that nothing they are viewing or how they are interacting on your website is being monitored or watched by a malicious entity. It shows that you care about your customer’s user experience – and that reflects highly upon your company brand.
It Actually Provides Additional Security Against Hackers
Having an SSL certificate installed on your website also helps protect your website from a possible breach or hacking attempt. The extra level of encryption provides an external wall that is harder for hackers to break and infect. So while you might not necessarily need one for the type of website your business uses – it does help you protect yourself against would-be attackers and saves you money on potential cleanup and patches once a website does get infected or breached.
HTTPs Help Improve Website Search Engine Rankings and Traffic
Having this added security installed on your website shows popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing! that you take your user’s experience and security seriously. So seriously that they award your website with increased rankings.
And we all know higher rankings lead to more traffic which you hope leads to more clients/customers.
Google has been favoring websites with HTTPs for a few years now; however, after recent technology-related world events, they have doubled-down.
Starting this past October, websites that use a form or search tool on their website will not have a Not Secure warning when viewed on Google Chrome browser. The last thing you want your prospective clients to see when visiting your site is a message about poor security.
Google also has been blatantly favoring websites with HTTPs over HTTP. About have of all 1st page results on Google are websites with HTTPs, up over 30% since the end of 2016.
Failure to increase security on your site risks lower search rankings and even increases bounce rates. It is also proven that HTTP sites load slower, causing Google to penalize them for site speed as well. Overall, the industry is punishing sites that do not value security.
So, what should you take away from all of this?
An SSL does incur extra costs (but they are minimal) but failure to secure your website can cost you potential new customers, reduce website traffic and impact overall user experience.
Your IT partner or web hosting provider should have the necessary tools to help you with your website security. It should be fairly simple and won’t break your budget either.
Want to take the next step and convert to HTTPs but not sure how?
Andromeda has trained technicians and developers that are more than happy to help you with the conversion. Just give us a call to get started today!
The post To SSL or Not to SSL: What is HTTPs and Why it Matters to You appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.4 Reasons Office 365 is the Right Choice for Your Business Aug 03, 2018
By the end of 2017, Microsoft’s Office 365 Suite of applications had over 120 million active business and commercial users. Microsoft projects that in fiscal 2019, approximately two-thirds of all Microsoft Office users will be subscribed to Office 365 instead of the traditional licensing model.*
Cloud applications have made a great impact on business, connectivity, accessibility, and productivity. From the looks of it, more and more applications and even hardware solutions are moving to the cloud.
This is exciting for business and the technology sector because there are many real benefits to business owners and employees built into cloud applications.
Office 365 offers different subscriptions and packages built to suit the specific needs of your business, but across their offering, there are many shared benefits.
Let’s take a look at the top 4 reasons Office 365 is the right choice for your business, and why Andromeda Technology Solutions recommends it.
1. Say Goodbye to Expensive Microsoft Licenses
Licensing for the Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) can be very costly. Depending on which version of Office you are purchasing, each license can set you back hundreds of dollars. Even for the average small or mid-sized business, this adds up to thousands of dollars very quickly.
Microsoft also phases out legacy software over time, which means that your current professional Microsoft Office license will no longer be supported, maintained, or updated at some point. For example – Microsoft Office 2010 will reach end of life in 2020, and businesses with these licenses will need to purchase new ones for all machines or migrate to Office 365.
With Office 365, your software is always up to date and there are no licenses to worry about. Whenever a new version of the product becomes available, it is automatically pushed out across the cloud applications and your employees keep working without issue. Any documents, presentations, spreadsheets, or other items you’ve created within Office 365 will automatically update to the latest version of Office.
2. Office 365 is Budget-Friendly
Office 365 is a subscription-based cloud application. As mentioned before, there are several different subscription levels with multiple applications. This offers flexibility to suit most any business needs and budget. You can easily calculate and anticipate your annual budget with Office 365 and build it into your regular expenses.
The solution is billed per user. It should be mentioned as well that each user can install the application on multiple devices. This means that you only pay for one subscription per user – even if they access Office 365 on multiple computers, a tablet, and even their smart phone.
3. Work from Anywhere
While you’ll need an internet connection to collaborate with your coworkers in real time, or use certain applications, Office 365 lets you work from just about anywhere. You need an internet connection for the initial setup, migration, and sign up. After that, you have the option to install the latest Microsoft Office Suite directly on your computer. You can save your files directly onto your PC and host them in the cloud for accessibility on the go.
The real productivity magic with Office 365 lives in your ability to access and work on things from anywhere with an internet connection.
Whether you are in the airport, at home, drinking coffee on the go, or in your car before a big meeting, you can login to Office 365 to review your files or make last minute changes at any time: you can even do it from your smartphone.
You can also work with multiple teammates in the same documents from multiple locations. For example – teammates in 2 different locations can work together to complete presentations, spreadsheets, and other deliverables in real time without locking one another out of documents.
4. Increased Storage & Security
Microsoft knows that to make Office 365 attractive to businesses like yours, they have to make sure that the cloud environment and application is secure and trustworthy. There are many features and add-on security settings available to you like encrypted email, spam filters, data loss prevention services, mobile device management, and more (some may require additional fees).
On top of built-in security features, Office 365 subscribers benefit from increased storage capacity in Outlook and OneDrive. The Office 365 Enterprise E3 license offers 100GB mailbox storage and unlimited personal cloud storage as a standard. If that isn’t enough for your environment, or you outgrow any of your storage over time, Office 365 is built to scale and grow with you. This is possible by offering additional storage, security, and application options specific to your needs.
When it comes to accessibility, ease of use, budgeting, and ongoing support, Office 365 is the leading option for business. We anticipate it will continue to dominate the market for both small to mid-size businesses and enterprise.
If you are interested in Office 365 for your business, a great first step is a consultation with one of Andromeda’s local account managers. There are many different subscription levels, applications, and migration details that you will want to go over before making the switch. Additionally, you will want to make sure you are working with an IT Services Professional to make your project and migration as seamless as possible.
Simply reach our team by phone (815) 836-0030 or email: Contact@WeNetwork.com to schedule a conversation. You’ll be glad you did!
*For more on Office 365 users and statistics, check out this article from zdnet.com.
The post 4 Reasons Office 365 is the Right Choice for Your Business appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.New Versions Of Ransomware Continue To Wreak Havoc Sep 11, 2018
2017 was "The Year of Ransomware." It saw an incredible number of ransomware attacks and infections, paired with a tremendous number of innovations.
Although 2018 hasn't seen quite the same level of ransomware activity, it's still a major threat with one company coming under attack about every ten minutes.
Although there haven't been as many innovations so far this year, that doesn't mean they're not occurring, and some of the new ransomware strains are particularly nasty.
Of interest, this year has seen a rise in 'Cryptojacking', which is a variant of a classic ransomware attack where the malware mass encrypts files on the victim's machine while simultaneously installing cryptocurrency mining software.
This should come as no surprise given the rise in popularity of cryptocurrency, but it does add a disturbing new wrinkle to ransomware attacks. Even after you get your files back, lurking in the background there is a rogue process that's slowing your system and ultimately putting money into the bank accounts of the hackers.
Most recently, an Obama-themed cryptojacker has been making the rounds.
The ransomware itself is nothing out of the ordinary. It predictably locks your files, demands payment, and installs a Monero miner in the background.
Obama is not the first world leader to unwittingly become the face of ransomware. In 2016, Candidate Trump was featured in a malware strain that proved to be a work in progress. It would infect machines, but didn't actually encrypt files. It's unclear if a working version was ever deployed in the wild.
The Obama strain contains code fragments that indicate Chinese origin. There's circumstantial evidence that leads some security researchers to believe it may be the work of a Chinese hacker known only as "Rocke," but so far, there's no definitive proof.
As things stand now, there's no good defense against this most recent threat, save for continued vigilance.