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 Account Coordinator(AC)—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 Chicago, IL Businesses:
What A Few Of Our Clients Have To Say
Andromeda IT Service Offerings
Here is just a quick list demonstrating the breadth of IT services you can expect from Andromeda:
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:
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.9 FAQs About Office 365 Nov 04, 2019
When you are trying to decide which programs to purchase for your business, it is important to understand all the benefits of each. Office 365 has so many built in conveniences it is hard to picture any other option coming close.
Here are the 9 most frequently asked questions and answers about Microsoft Office 365 to help you make the best decision for your business:
1. What is the difference between Office 2019 and Office 365?
In Office 365 Business Premium, you get both the cloud and desktop versions of classic Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and Access which will work on various devices (PC, Mac, iOS and Android to name a few). Additional programs/features from applications like OneNote, OneDrive and SharePoint are also included.
Along with new applications, Office 365 allows users to receive the most up to date features and software in “real time”. This means that your cloud applications are updated automatically as Microsoft rolls out updates.
It should be mentioned though, that desktop versions of the O365 suite are updated alongside regular Windows updates. So, those updates occur as your IT team updates your workstations. For Andromeda Managed IT Services clients, this happens weekly.
2. How does live collaboration work in Office 365?
A great productivity boost comes with live collaboration in Office 365. Multiple teammates can open the same document at the same time to work together.
Additionally, you can chat with teammates during editing to keep teammates on the same page. This can be done directly in the documents themselves or using Microsoft’s application Microsoft Teams.
3. Do I need an internet connection to run Office 365?
For Office 365 Business Premium and Enterprise licenses, internet access is required to install and activate all the latest releases of the applications. Once completed, you can download desktop versions of your Office Applications to use both on and offline.
NOTE: The Office 365 Business Essentials subscription includes ONLY cloud–based versions of the Microsoft Office Suite. This subscription does require internet access to use.
4. What security features does Office 365 include?
Office 365 has more than 1,000 security and privacy features available for use. Office 365 offers Advanced Threat Protection to guard your business against some of the sophisticated phishing and ransomware attacks designed to harm your business. Office 365 also includes compliance options/features to help ensure your business meets industry compliance. For more information on specific compliance and security features straight from Microsoft, you can go here.
5. How much OneDrive storage space do I get with my subscription?
By default, 1TB of storage is included with OneDrive. Added storage is available for purchase.
6. Do I have control of my documents with an Office 365 subscription?
Yes. You own and manage all your own documents. You can choose to store them online in OneDrive or locally to your computer or even direct to other Office 365 applications.
If you ever chose to cancel your Office 365 Subscription, make sure to have all staff save any documents in their OneDrive or other applications to a physical drive. You can also purchase OneDrive storage separately, but it is best to consult your IT team on the best solution for your business.
7. Are my documents stored in OneDrive available offline?
Yes. You can access OneDrive files both online and offline. The local offline files will take up some space on your machine but an internet connection is not required. You can also have what is called “on demand” settings enabled that will save certain files locally and others in the cloud as you choose.
If you are working offline, save your changes before exiting your program and OneDrive will update your files in the cloud once you reconnect to the internet.
8. Do the applications work the same on the computer as on my mobile phone?
The answer to this is really a yes and no. Office 365 has desktop, cloud and mobile versions of applications available. They all function the same. Meaning word is still going to create word documents and you will have most functions/features available across all devices.
The difference in functionality comes out in the way you use the applications on different devices. For instance, Word on your mobile device looks slightly different than on desktop, but this is to help with usability.
9. If I need help with my Office 365 set-up, who can I call?
Andromeda Technology Solutions has an entire team of experts in Installing and managing your Office 365 applications and permissions. Give us a call to help with any questions, and we will answer your questions or send out someone to solve your computer issues.
The post 9 FAQs About Office 365 appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.FBI Sheds New Light On Ransomware Tactics Jan 07, 2020
According to a recent FBI alert marked "TLP: AMBER," businesses should be on high alert for ransomware attacks.
The alert reads, in part, as follows:
"Since January 2019, LockerGoga ransomware has targeted large corporations and organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Norway, and the Netherlands. The MegaCortex ransomware, first identified in May 2019, exhibits Indicators of Compromise (IOCs), command and control (C2) infrastructure, and targeting similar to LockerGoga.
The actors behind LockerGoga and MegaCortex will gain a foothold on a corporate network using exploits, phishing attacks, SQL injections and stolen login credentials."
The alert also states that the attackers behind these two ransomware strains often wield Cobalt Strike tools, including Cobalt beacons to gain remote access.
Once the attackers gain a toehold inside a target network, they'll carefully explore and map the target network, seeking out the most sensitive information including proprietary company data, payment card information and other customer details and the like.
The goal here is to identify the highest value information that can be exfiltrated to the command and control server for sale on the black market. Finally, when all of the most valuable information has been siphoned from the network, the hackers will trigger the ransomware itself, which they'll use to gain an additional payment, extorting the affected organization.
The FBI also reports that hacking operations carried out by nation-states often deploy ransomware to make it appear that the attack is the work of traditional cybercriminals, throwing forensic investigators off of their trail.
The process of network mapping and exfiltrating valuable data can take weeks or even months, depending on the size of the network. So, organizations may be infected long before the visible signs of the attack become evident. Given that, it's more important than ever to have robust security system in place. You should have remote backups taken at regular intervals and a rapid response plan in place in the event of a breach.