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Professional IT Services that Andromeda Provides for Blue Island, IL Businesses:
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HTTPs Encryption: Why You Should Use SSL Certificates Jan 20, 2019
2018 was an eventful year for technology and it’s only going to increase in 2019. Between the Facebook security breach, the Google+ API vulnerability, and many other less famous incidents – one thing is for certain. Cybersecurity dominated 2018 and 2019 is expected to be no different.
With cyber attacks being so prevalent, 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. Feeling safe is priority: people don’t want to have to worry about their information being breached on or off the web.
While this has been a growing trend for a several years now, it has also transitioned cyber security from being a feature, to a necessity.
2019 is the year of HTTPs.
What Exactly is HTTPs?
To understand what HTTPs means and how it works, you need to know a few definitions.
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol): In simple terms, this is an application layer protocol. Essentially, HTTP is the protocol that involves information sent between a browser (ex: Google Chrome or Firefox) and a website itself. 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 create extremely vulnerable conditions in certain situations. For example, if you are purchasing products on a website with a basic HTTP, your personal information like your address, credit card info and whatever else you submit can be intercepted and stolen.
The thieves are the only ones who want this to happen – so HTTPs encryption was introduced as a secure option.
HTTPs (HyperText Transfer Protocol Security): Adding additional security components, the language being transmitted between website and browser is encrypted and kept from being read cyber criminals.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer): This is a certificate that enhances your security protocol. 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 by looking for certain factors:
- https:// shows before the URL destination (ex: https://www.google.com)
- A lock (sometimes green) icon may appear in the left corner of your navigation bar
Today, many users look for these key signals to see if they are using a secured website.
When this was first being used, its primary purpose was a security feature for websites that utilized ecommerce and to transfer personal information (ex: financial, medical, legal). However, it has transitioned into having an HTTPs encryption as a standard.
After going through the basics of this HTTPs encryption, you may still have some additional questions about which feature would best suit your business. Here are a few of the most common topics and questions below:
I Don’t Have A Large Business – Do I Still Need HTTPs?
Providing An SSL Tells Your Customers That You Care About Their Security
By utilizing an SSL certificate and transforming it from HTTP to HTTPs, you are providing an extra layer of security for your consumers. They know right away that your website is secure. Nothing they are viewing or how they are interacting on your website is being monitored or watched by a malicious user. It shows that you care about your customer’s user experience – and that reflects highly for company brand.
It Provides Additional Security Against Hackers
Having an SSL certificate installed on your website also helps protect your website from potential breaches or hacking attempts. The extra layer of HTTPs encryption provides an external wall that is difficult for hackers to break and infect. While you might not exactly need one for the style of your business’ website, it still helps protect against possible attacks and saves you capital on potential cleanup and patches once a website does get infected or breached.
HTTPs Improves SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Having this HTTPs encryption applied on your website shows popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing! that you take your user’s experience and security seriously. They are able to recognize this and return with increased rankings on their engines.
We all know that higher rankings lead to more traffic – this leads to more clients and customers.
Google has been favoring websites with HTTPs for awhile now. However, after recent technology-related world events, they have doubled-down.
Starting July 2018, websites that do not use HTTPs will be labeled “Not Secure”. The last thing you want your prospective clients to see when visiting your site is a message about poor security.
More than 70% of websites are utilizing HTTPs and Google is really trying to make it the norm across the board.
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. Overall, the industry is punishing sites that do not value security because they are striving to give the best user experience possible.
So, what should you take away from all of this?
An SSL does incur minimal extra costs, but failure to secure your website can cost you a lot more: potential customers, reduced 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 simple and affordable enough to keep from breaking your budget.
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 HTTPs Encryption: Why You Should Use SSL Certificates appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Start 2019 Out Right – Have a Network Security Assessment Completed Jan 04, 2019
Why have a Network Security Assessment at least once per year:
Our digital world is being attacked constantly and your corporate network is one of the biggest targets on the market. Why? Because it also tends to be an easy mark. Year after year we see large scale attacks against corporations, but did you know that the majority of cyber incidents occur against small to mid-size businesses? Ask yourself: When was the last time I had a professional network security assessment? We’ve listed out some of the top reasons why Network Security Assessments are a vital piece of a multi-layered approach to cyber security for your business.
Let’s start by stating something that you might not expect a tech company to express. Being a victim of a cyber attack is inevitable. No amount of effort or software can protect you 100% of the time. The solution is to implement as many precautionary steps as you can to lessen the likelihood of becoming a victim. No approach on the market can guarantee you will never be breached. If you ever run into an IT firm or product that tries to make this a “guarantee” . . . run and don’t look back because this is 100% false.
Now, there are the obvious steps that you can take to protect yourself and make it harder on the criminals:
- Proactive Email habits
- Anti-malware software
- Proper Employee training
- Professional Disaster Recover (DR) plan/device
However, there is another tool in the arsenal that you should use regularly and that is an annual (at minimum) Network Security Assessment.
What Does A Network Security Assessment Involve?
Your IT support company should perform an initial assessment; after, they should give you a detailed risk report displaying areas that need to be optimized or adjusted. If your IT company does not perform these, it may be time to start looking somewhere new. Cyber threats are more prevalent every day and it is important to partner with an IT company that recognizes this and protects your business accordingly.
We find that our assessment usually uncovers security threats and holes; even when a business has the right practices and has done their research. Cyber security is a daily battle for businesses of every type. When we run our assessment we use the results to constantly improve the defenses of our clients. And that is why, like most things in tech, an assessment should be a regular event.
The Network Security Assessment Is Done. What’s the Next Step?
The network security assessment itself is not the only thing to request though. It is equally important to make sure that your firm supplies you with a report of their findings. This report should be simple to understand, contain an overall score and give you a breakdown of each issue found, along with how serious those specific issues are. Ask for an action plan that goes over any adjustments in detail for any issues that are found. Why go through the assessment process if you aren’t going to apply any changes with the data?
How important and helpful are these reports? We are an IT company with a background protecting our partners from risk. We also put protections in place for our partners and still find ways to improve our customer cyber safety every time we run an assessment.
Why? Because cyber security is a dynamic, ever changing landscape and you need to proactively search for issues. Don’t let yourself learn the hard way. You never want to discover there is a hole in your cyber security when it’s too late from an attack or breach.
Interested in a Network Security Assessment?
If this article has you questioning your current setup, or peaked your interest in starting a conversation regarding the cyber security protections necessary for your business, a network security assessment with Andromeda is a great place to start. With this in mind, we will be discounting our network security assessment thru 1/31/19. Fill out the form below for access to our promotional rate and begin a discussion with one of our security experts.
Fill out the form below to receive a $500 discount on a Network Security Assessment valid for the month of January:
The post Start 2019 Out Right – Have a Network Security Assessment Completed appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Devices Attached To Corporate Networks Are Being Targeted Aug 20, 2019
Grim news comes out of Russia, as reported by Microsoft.� The tech giant has been tracking the activities of a Russian hacking group that goes by the name of Strontium. Their other names include APT28 and Fancy Bear.
Microsoft has confirmed that the group was behind a new attack that took place in April of this year (2019).
This is the group that claimed responsibility for both the attack on the Democratic National Committee during the run up to the 2016 election and the NotPeya attacks against the Ukraine in 2017.
In addition to targeting political groups in Europe and North America, Strontium members have been upping the stakes by compromising large numbers of popular IoT devices such as VOIP phones, printers, security cameras and the like. They have been using those devices to breach corporate networks.
The company had this to say about their recent findings:
"The investigation uncovered that an actor had used these devices to gain initial access to corporate networks.� In two of the cases, the passwords for the devices were deployed without changing the default manufacturer's passwords, and in the third instance the latest security update had not been applied to the device.
Once the actor had successfully established access to the network, a simple network scan to look for other insecure devices allowed them to discover and move across the network in search of higher-privileged accounts that would grant access to higher-value data."
Fortunately, Microsoft was able to stop this attack in its tracks early on, but the motives behind it remain cloudy and uncertain.� Even so, Microsoft has committed itself to closely monitoring the activity of this group in particular. In the past year, they have sent out more than 1,400 notifications to global corporations and nation states about the activities of the group.
It is incredibly likely that this group will be at the forefront of whatever attacks the Russians have planned to influence the outcome of the 2020 US Presidential election.