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 Lemont, 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:
Layered Network Security: 5 Components Every Layered Security Solution Should Have & Why Employee Training Is A Must Have Nov 02, 2020
Securing your data and your network is a big job. If you’re looking at trends or the news, you can probably guess that network security is only going to get more important and cumbersome in the future.
Cybersecurity is now a common household term and that’s a good thing. The page has been turned on data security and people regularly recognize that we need to protect ourselves both personally and professionally from cyber crime and related threats.
To illustrate where the cybersecurity and cyber crime industries are moving here are a few stats (full article here):
- Cyber crime damage costs are predicted to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021
- Cybersecurity spending to exceed $1 trillion by 2021
- Global ransomware incidents hit a rate of one attack every 14 seconds in 2019
The threats to data and networks are clearly going nowhere so it is important that you have a plan in place to protect your business (and yourself).
Different software applications and hardware solutions are designed to address specific security concerns. This means that while one solution may give you complete protection from one threat, it may not be suited to protect you from another.
The solution for these weak points is to ‘layer’ your security and design a solution that covers and protects your network to the best of its abilities.
What You Should Expect From A Layered Network Security Solution
A good layered security solution for your network is going to include the following components:
1. Professional Firewall Solution –
Your firewall is designed to help protect your network from external threats. It does this by blocking access to your network while allowing your users to communicate outside of the network. While a firewall is a great way to protect your network from intrusions, it can only protect your system from outside activity. A firewall cannot prevent one of your users from giving unauthorized permissions or access to programs or other users.
2. Professional Antivirus Software –
Antivirus software is a standard security solution designed to detect and block malware, viruses and other bugs from taking action against your network. An antivirus solution typically depends on a predefined catalog of known issues. The software uses this catalog to block those known issues from impacting you. The issue with this is that new viruses, malware, spyware and bugs are produced daily. If your solution is not actively updating and monitoring the internet for new incidents, it won’t be able to protect you from new threats in real time. Antivirus solutions also cannot always block a user from disregarding a warning and downloading a bad file/clicking on a bad link.
3. Email Spam Prevention/Filters –
Spam is more than just an annoying thing filling up your inbox. A majority of viruses and bugs that get through your firewall/antivirus do so by hiding in email messages. Cyber criminals know that if they send enough emails, somebody is going to click a bad link or download a compromised attachment. By filtering out spam, you dramatically decrease the opportunity for someone to accidentally introduce a virus to the network. Again though, spam filters don’t catch everything so they cannot prevent a user from making a mistake.
4. DNS Filtering/Protection –
DNS stands for Domain Name System. This piece of your network controls email delivery and is the component that allows you to browse websites. When configured, a DNS filter can prevent your employees from accessing specific types of sites. For example, a DNS filter can be set up to prevent employees from accessing social media or other blacklisted sites. This security also helps keep malware or other viruses from spreading throughout your network by masking your devices and server. This is one element of your network security that isn’t heavily impacted by regular users but if it is not set up properly and managed properly it can’t protect you from much.
5. Employee Training & Education –
You may have noticed that almost any of the security layers mentioned above have specific strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, each component had a weakness related to human or user error. The fact is that users and honest mistakes are the root cause of the majority of data breaches, viruses, downtime and incidents on your network. That doesn’t mean your employees and coworkers are intentionally breaking protocol or doing things wrong. Most of the time these are honest mistakes like clicking a link in an email, downloading a file with a hidden virus or visiting an infected/malicious site and unknowingly giving cyber criminals usernames & password information.
And That’s Just The Beginning…
These are just five common pieces of a layered network security setup. They all work together to help cover different vulnerabilities and behaviors. There are many other software and hardware solutions that can increase your layered network security and reduce vulnerability. Some of those include:
- Dark Web Monitoring Services
- Dual Authentication
- Password Management
- Data Backups
- Disaster Recovery Planning
- Scheduled & Regular Patches/Updates
- Security Protocols for Remote Devices
- Network Security Assessments (at least once a year)
The goal should be to protect your environment to the best of anyone’s ability and to educate/train your staff adequately to mitigate risk.
You will also want to make sure and take any specific compliance requirements or regulations for your industry into account. Most any business that has data needs to maintain certain standards for data protection.
To discuss any of the layers for a layered network security solution listed above or your environment please reach out to our team.
For more information on employee data security training go here.
The post Layered Network Security: 5 Components Every Layered Security Solution Should Have & Why Employee Training Is A Must Have appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.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.Toy Company Mattel Was Latest Victim Of Ransomware Attack Nov 14, 2020
When you were growing up, your parents probably bought you all sorts of toys made by Mattel. From Hotwheels to Barbie to the full line of Toy Story toys and more, Mattel is a global force in the world of toys.
In fact, they are the second largest toy maker in the world, with more than 24,000 employees and gross revenue of nearly six billion dollars in 2019.
On July 28th, 2020, the company's network was successfully breached and a strain of ransomware deployed against them, which encrypted some of the company's files and caused disruptions in the firm's ongoing operations.
The company released an official disclosure about the incident which reads in part, as follows:
"On July 28, 2020, Mattel discovered that it was the victim of a ransomware attack on its information technology systems that caused data on a number of systems to be encrypted. Promptly upon detection of the attack, Mattel began enacting its response protocols and taking a series of measures to stop the attack and restore impacted systems. Mattel believes it has contained the attack and, although some business functions were temporarily impacted, Mattel was able to restore its critical operations."
Part of the company's response was to launch a forensic investigation in cooperation with law enforcement. That process has been completed, and based on its conclusion, Mattel updated their initial disclosure. It now says that it does not appear that any customer, supplier, consumer or employee data was exfiltrated by the hackers.
Of interest, neither the initial disclosure or the update gave any indication of the specific ransomware strain used, or the exact scale of the impact. Although there's circumstantial evidence that suggests the strain in question was Trickbot.
Whatever the strain, the bottom line is that no customer data appears to have been stolen. So if you have an account on Mattel's website, there's nothing you need to do, except be aware that the attack occurred.