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!)
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Network Security Assessment – The Single Most Important Cyber Security Tool You Are Neglecting Every Year May 01, 2017
Why you should have a network security assessment at least once per year
Let’s face it – our digital world is under constant attack and your corporate network is one of the biggest targets out there. 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 business? Ask yourself, when was the last time you had a professional network security assessment? We’d like to share why assessments are an important piece of the 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. At some point, your network and computer systems WILL BE breached by some type of cyber attack. No amount of effort or software can protect you 100%. The key is to take as many steps as you can to make it less likely you will be hacked or more realistically, take as many steps to ensure that a breach can do no real or sustainable harm to your business. No approach on the market can guarantee you will never be breached and if you run into an IT firm or product that tries to make this guarantee . . . run for the hills because it just “ain’t” true.
Now, there are the obvious steps that you can take to protect yourself and make it harder on the criminals:
- good Email habits
- anti-malware software
- employee training
- a 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.
How Is A Network Security Assessment Done?
Your IT support company can do an assessment; they should then give you a risk report displaying areas that need to be tightened up. If your IT company does not perform these, it may be time to start looking into someone 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. 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 Next?
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 detailing fixes for any issues that are found. Why go through the assessment if you aren’t going to DO anything with the data?
How important and helpful are these reports? We are an IT company with a background protecting our partners from risk, we place 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 by way of an attack or breach.
Interested in a Network Security Assessment?
If this article has you questioning your current setup, or if you are simply interested 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 05/31/17. 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 May
The post Network Security Assessment – The Single Most Important Cyber Security Tool You Are Neglecting Every Year appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web Jan 26, 2018
In our last IT article we discussed the Dark Web. Specifically what the Dark Web is and why it is something that matters to just about everyone. If you missed the article make sure to give it a read here.
There are many ways your information can be compromised and inevitably end up in the hands of wrong doers on the dark web. On top of that, there are numerous ways that hackers and criminals can steal your data that are completely out of your control.
It is important that you put defense in place where you can but it is also important that you manage your risk by educating yourself on some of the top vulnerabilities out there.
With that in mind we’ve gathered 5 of the top ways hackers and criminals get around you to steal your data for the Dark Web.
5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web
1. Visiting & Using Unsecure Websites
If a website isn’t secure, information passed between you and the site can easily be compromised. In a nutshell, websites pass information to your browser (google chrome, firefox etc.) and your browser displays that information for you to look at/use. Without proper security protocols like an SSL or HTTPs, sites don’t secure that information transfer. So, if you enter personal data into a form, make a purchase or put any data on the site that isn’t secured, it is easy enough for a hacker or cyber-criminal to intercept that data and sell it on the Dark Web.
If you are interested in how to secure your website or tell if the sites you visit are secure, we have an easy to understand article here.
2. Consumer Database Breach
While hackers and criminals will go after your personal data on a small scale, a larger customer breach is what their dreams are made of. Just think back to the Target, Home Depot and Experian breaches of recent years. Even social media databases are full of rich information that hackers can make use of. If a hacker gets ahold of your Facebook password they might have also gotten ahold of your date of birth, where you live and other personal information that they can use to access financial accounts or other personal accounts.
While you can’t keep hackers out of Target’s database, you can practice your own security protocols to decrease the likelihood of criminals using compromised data to ruin you financially:
- Use different passwords for different sites
- Change passwords often (every 90 days is recommended at minimum)
- Use strong passwords
- Look into a monitoring service that alerts you of suspicious activity on financial accounts
3. Firewall Issues
You don’t necessarily have control over whether someone else secures their website and you definitely don’t have control of the security procedures at your local grocery store, but you do have control over the firewalls you use at your business.
First . . . make sure you are using a professional or business grade solution for your firewall. Consumer grade solutions are meant for home use and will not have adequate protections in place to keep your company’s private data secure.
Additionally, make sure that you have regular updates and software patches scheduled. These devices are only as good as the software they utilize. If your firewall is out of date or your software is out of date, chances are they cannot defend against the latest hacker strategies and viruses.
You will also benefit from a regular system audit to ensure all ports are secure and no user changes are impacting your network security. It is pretty common for businesses to forget these updates and checks and this is an incredibly vulnerable access point into your network if not properly configured.
4. Outdated Systems/Devices On Your Network
While your firewall controls much of the inbound and outbound traffic on your network, there are countless other devices that can create vulnerabilities. For instance, if you consider the Target breach of 2013, it is rumored that the criminals gained access to Target’s network via an HVAC company that monitored temperatures in stores. This brings up the fact that it is not just your own network but anything connected to it and the security of those ancillary devices/networks that you must be aware of.
If you have smart devices in the office, if you subscribe to any type of service that needs access to your network, all of these items and programs open you up to vulnerabilities. Even the smart devices you use at home can cause you trouble on a personal level. Imagine if a smart device on your home network was compromised and used by hackers to get into your work files on your home computer. This stuff happens and your information ends up on the dark web because of it.
5. Downloading untrusted applications/Opening Malicious Email
Email is essential to running your business but it is one of the best ways for hackers and criminals to gain access to your network. All they have to get you to do is click a link or download a file and BAM! your data might be compromised.
Email isn’t the only culprit though. Downloading files off the web can also give hackers access to your network and in turn your data. There are tools that can help you avoid this as well as training that helps you spot malicious links/sites.
How Can I Prevent My Info From Getting Onto Dark Web
With proper firewall configuration, professional anti-virus software that is updated regularly and employee training, you will dramatically decrease your vulnerability and incident rate.
There are so many ways hackers access your data. They can get to you through stores, websites, your email, the smart devices at your office/home and those are just a few examples. The scary part is that no matter how secure you make things, they will come up with a new approach that no one expects.
All hope isn’t lost though, with certain protections like professional cyber security consulting, monitoring software (both professional and personal), and specific security devices, you can protect yourself from cybercriminals.
If you’d like to discuss your options and make sure you are truly covered, reach out to our team and schedule a network security assessment.
The post 5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Google May Be Getting Rid Of Google Plus Oct 10, 2018
If you're one of the relatively few people who use Google+ in something other than an Enterprise setting, be advised that the clock is ticking.� Google has just announced that they're sunsetting the service.� It will be going offline for consumers at some point over the next ten months.
The reasons for their decision are complex.� In part, it stems from the fact that the company readily acknowledges that it has "low usage and engagement," which is underscored by the fact that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions last less than five seconds.
Another major component driving the decision is that the company suffered serious pushback when it revealed a previously undisclosed security flaw that exposed users' profile data.� The company patched the issue in March of this year (2018), but the company's long delay in going public with the flaw didn't sit well with Google+'s user base.
Note that the company plans to continue offering Google+ for Enterprise customers to facilitate intra- and inter-company communications. In fact, they plan to roll out a raft of new features in the year ahead.
Google also recently announced other changes. Pending API changes, one new feature will limit developers' access to data on Android devices and user Gmail accounts. Also, contact interaction data will soon be off limits, as will call logs and SMS permissions.
There are changes coming to Gmail itself as well, where developers will be sorely limited in how much access they have to user emails.
As Ben Smith (the company's VP of engineering) explains, "Only apps directly enhancing email functionality--such as email clients, email backup services and productivity services (e.g., CRM and mail merge services)--will be authorized to access this data."
Any developer who currently has this level of access can expect a security assessment and agree to the company's new rules.� We'll provide more details as they become available, but broadly speaking, these are good changes that will enhance data security for the company's legions of users.