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 Downers Grove, 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:
Our favorite 7 Collaboration Tools to Help Your Remote Team Stay Engaged, Productive and Motivated from Anywhere Mar 30, 2020
For many businesses, the flexibility to work-from-home (WFH) is a great perk for employees. Studies even show that employees that have the option to work remote show higher productivity and job satisfaction.
There are many benefits to remote workforce but there can also be struggles/challenges for leaders and managers trying to maintain culture, productivity and a team environment.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite tools to help us get the job done in house or from home.
Our favorite 7 Collaboration Tools to Help Your Remote Team Stay Engaged, Productive and Motivated from Anywhere
1 Microsoft Office 365 for Business
This stack of Software as a Service (SaaS) products allows your team to utilize classic programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more in new ways.
Office 365 also opens the doors for your team to utilize cloud storage/collab tools like OneDrive and SharePoint. Files saved to this software can be accessed at home, on the go, in the office or anywhere with an internet connection.
2 Microsoft Teams
This product is included with Office 365 but deserves its own section because of all the different things it sets your team up to do including:
- Individual and team-based IMs
- Live collaboration with Microsoft documents inside of the Teams tool
- Audio & Video calls
- Screen share
- Add on apps for even more productivity boosts
3 Zoom Video & Web Conferencing
Zoom is one of the leading web/video conferencing tools on the market. With free and multiple paid options, it is likely you can find a solution to fit the needs of your organization and your business.
Some of our favorite features in Zoom include:
- Personal meeting room to start a meeting any time
- Outlook integrations for easy schedule
- Webinar capabilities with panel, hosts, Q&A, chat etc.
- Video and/or Audio calls
- Mobile App
Slack is one of the leading direct communication tools for business. You can message teammates directly; create group chats and you can also communicate in channels. With seemingly endless add-ons and extensions, Slack is a leader when it comes to connecting teams.
Andromeda Technology Solutions recently transitioned from Slack to Microsoft Teams for our own internal communications but some of the features we loved in Slack include:
- Direct messaging
- Audio/Video calling
- Channels for group needs
- Easy integration of apps
- Custom emojis for fun
Trello is a neat tool that helps with project management and tracking. You can use it for personal projects or teams to manage workflows, status and many things in between. This is also another tool you can use with a free version to test out and see what works for your team.
Our favorite Trello features:
- Easy to user interface with drag & drop ‘cards’
- Easy upload multiple types of media – docs, links, photos etc.
- Individual/Group task assignment
- Mobile application
- Labels and tags for organization
Basecamp is a project and team management tool used by all kinds of organizations and teams globally. This one tool can help you organize, communicate and collaborate on multiple projects while keeping all the info you need in one space. You can even give clients access to Basecamp so that they can communicate and keep up to date on status of your team.
Our Web Design team uses Basecamp daily to move projects along.
Some of their favorite features include:
- To-do Lists
- Message Boards
- Scheduling tool
- Document & File storage
- Group chat
Zapier is one of the industry leaders in connecting web apps for automation. And since you’re team is getting tons done on-the-go, you’ll want to check out all the ways this tool can simplify your workflows and help your team work more efficiently. Zapier connects the apps you use every day and helps cut down busy work.
Additionally, Zapier knows what it means to work remote, they boast a 100% remote workforce with over 200 teammates working all over the globe.
A connection from one software to another via Zapier is called a Zap. You can check out 2000+ zaps and the tool here
Finding the right mix of tools is as individualized as the job. We hope these suggestions help you to create an environment that is productive and satisfying. If you would like to discuss your unique situation, give us a call at (815) 836-0030 or email our team.
The post Our favorite 7 Collaboration Tools to Help Your Remote Team Stay Engaged, Productive and Motivated from Anywhere appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Ransomware, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: What Every Small Business Should Know Aug 30, 2019
The last few years have seen a large increase in ransomware incidents and 2019 has surely followed suit with many industries impacted. In the last few months manufacturing, municipalities, school districts and other small business sectors have all dealt with their share of attacks. Tens of townships in Texas were attacked in August 2019 with a total ransom of over 2.5 million dollars. School districts across the US were targeted for student and faculty data.
It’s been a rough one to say the least.
The best defense against ransomware for yourself and your business is still education and Andromeda can help with that. Read on to learn more about the threat of ransomware to your business and what you can do to prepare yourself.
Ransomware is a type of malicious program that encrypts a segment or all of your data. At that point, the data can only be decrypted with a key. The criminal ransoms your data until you pay them to decrypt it.
This means that whatever they get their hands on, is no longer of use to you until you pay up. Things like accounting information, client information, HR information – anything data related at the business.
With more and more incidents on the rise, it is important that you proactively defend yourself against this threat and have a plan in place to respond in case your business faces a ransomware incident of its own.
Employee Cyber Security Training
Over 90% of cyber security incidents facing businesses today originate with some kind of human error. Your staff and teammates don’t mean to make these mistakes and an honest error can happen to anyone. Clicking on a bad link, falling for a scam online, downloading an infected file – these things happen to the best of us.
Tricking you into downloading malicious files to your PC is still a method criminals use to try and get into your computer but the primary two methods to gain access and do damage to your systems in 2019 are via third party data breaches (learn more about third party breaches here and phishing email attacks (learn more about phishing scams here .
To help your employees stay ahead of criminals and defend your business, you want to invest in regular training for the team. Professional cyber security training programs include simulated phishing email tests, individual scores, weekly quizzes, newsletters and more.
Data Backups & Disaster Recovery Planning
Employee training will do a good job at helping your staff defend the business but there is still always a chance that ransomware can happen.
When it comes to ransomware, there is little you can do to remove the damages. There is no ‘debug’ or troubleshooting technique that will make it go away. To get the encrypted data, you have to have the decryption code.
The only alternate solution available to you would be to restore from a backup. That way, you don’t need to decrypt anything. Of course, this is dependent on the quality and safety of your existing backups.
We recommend looking for a backup solution with an on premises copy as well as a secure cloud copy of your data backups.
The best data backup and recovery solutions take regular snapshots of your environment. Even better solutions can spin up a virtual ‘copy’ of your environment so you can keep working while your IT team works in the background to get systems back up and running like normal.
Make sure to ask the team or individual who handles your backups how often they test them. It’s also good to have a clear understanding of what it takes to get you back up and running in the event of an incident (what does it look like if we have an equipment failure? How do you respond if we are hit with ransomware?).
Training staff on how to avoid scams and criminal tactics online is a great way to defend against Ransomware and other incidents.
Having a good data backup and disaster recovery plan is what you want to do to make sure your business can handle this type of attack.
The final piece of the Ransomware puzzle for now is going to be your business continuity plan.
When it’s said and done, you are most likely going to experience some amount of downtime in the event of a Ransomware attack. It’ll take time to recognize what is happening, to contact the proper parties (IT staff or your outsourced team and decision makers), respond to the incident etc.
All of this time costs your business money, productivity and opportunities. This is why many vendors suggest coming up with Business Continuity plans for different types of incidents at the office.
Have a plan for equipment failure (like a server crash), a plan for a major cybersecurity incident (ransomware across the network), have a plan for minor cybersecurity incidents (single user hit with malware or a virus). You get the idea.
Some great questions for Business Continuity plans:
- How does my business or staff respond to this incident?
- Do you unplug workstations?
- Does the employee call you first or IT?
- Is there anything you should do on site while your IT team gets to work?
- How long will it take to get us back up and running? (this will differ depending on what you face)
- How do we keep the business running while designated teams respond?
- Can we make use of the cloud?
- Do we need to work from pen and paper while things resolve?
A professional team will help you work through these questions and come up with the solutions your specific business and business model needs to keep things running in the event of a disaster, accident or incident.
The key is really in the preparation.
If you have any questions about any of the topics above or want to discuss your own disaster recover, data backups or business continuity plans, please give us a call at (815) 836-0030 or contact our team via email at Contact@wenetwork.com.
The post Ransomware, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: What Every Small Business Should Know appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Covid-19 Researchers Come Under Attack By Hackers Jul 30, 2020
A number of prominent hacking groups made a gentleman's agreement with research labs that are attempting to develop a vaccine for the deadly COVID-19 virus currently ravaging the planet.
The agreement was promising that no attacks against research facilities would be made. Unfortunately, not everyone is playing by those rules.
Recently, intelligence agencies in the US and Europe as well as security researchers around the world have spotted evidence. They found that Russian hackers believed to have ties to the Russian government, have begun attacking R&D centers that are actively working on a cure for the virus.
The attacks have been attributed to APT29, which is also referred to variously as The Dukes, Yttrium, or Cozy Bear. This group's normal targets are government installations, think tanks, energy companies, diplomatic corporations around the world, and healthcare organizations.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), out of the UK, recently published a security advisory that reads, in part, as follows:
"Throughout 2020, APT29 has targeted various organisations involved in COVID-19 vaccine development in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, highly likely with the intention of stealing information and intellectual property relating to the development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines."
The advisory goes on to detail that APT29 is initiating these attacks with spear phishing.
APT29 is also exploiting several known security vulnerabilities, including those found in:
- Citrix (CVE-2019-19781)
- Pulse Secure (CVE-2019-11510)
- Fortigate (CVE-2019-13379)
- Zimbra Collaboration Suite (CVE-2019-9670)
The frustrating thing about this is that patches for all of the security flaws listed above already exist. It's just that too often, the IT professionals working in R&D organizations have been slow to apply them, leaving research stations around the world vulnerable at a time when they're conducting critical research that could stop the global pandemic in its tracks.
Once APT29 gains a foothold on a targeted network, they install a pair of custom malware applications called 'WellMess' and 'WellMail,' both written in Golang. If your firm is in any way connected to ongoing COVID-19 research efforts, stay on the alert for this one. It's a serious threat indeed, and the attack is coming from one of the most dangerous groups of hackers on the planet.