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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:
To SSL or Not to SSL: What is HTTPs and Why it Matters to You Jan 12, 2018
2017 was a pretty eventful year for tech. Between the WannaCry ransomware virus, the data breach at Equifax and many other less famous incidents – one thing is for certain. 2017 was the year of cybersecurity and 2018 is expected to follow suit.
With cyber attacks on everyone’s mind and radar, 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. People want to feel safe – and they want to make sure that their information is safe, even on the web.
So while this has been a growing trend for a few years now, it is safe to say that moving forward, the trend has transformed into an expectation of security and protecting consumer data.
2018 is definitely the year of HTTPs.
What is HTTPs?
To understand what HTTPS means and how it works, you need to know a few definitions.
First – HTTP, HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. Without diving too deep into the technical lingo, this is an application layer protocol. Basically, HTTP is the protocol that involves information sent between a browser (like google chrome) and a website itself. So 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 be very dangerous in certain situations. For example, if you are purchasing goods on a website with a basic HTTP (basic meaning unsecured), your personal information like your address, credit card info and whatever else you submit can be intercepted and stolen.
Nobody wants this to occur – except the thieves – so HTTPs was introduced as a secure option.
Like HTTP, HTTPs stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol but it has an additional Security component; hence the “S”.
By adding additional security components, the language being transmitted between website and browser is encrypted and kept from being read by evil doers and criminals.
Another term you might hear thrown around regarding this security protocol is an SSL or Secure Socket Layer Certificate. Again, 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 in a few different ways.
- https:// precedes the URL destination i.e. https://www.google.com
- A lock shows up in the leftmost corner of your navigation bar
- A green lock shows up in the leftmost corner of your navigation bar
Sounds pretty good, right?
There was a time when this added security feature was mainly used on websites that transfer personal information such as ecommerce, financial, medical, legal etc. but these days the added security of an SSL or HTTPs on your site is more of a standard.
It is something that savvy consumers look for to avoid vulnerability.
Now that we’ve gone through what this feature is and how it operates in respect to your website you might have some additional questions about whether this feature would benefit you. We’ve touched on a few of the most common topics below.
I’m Just A Small Business Website,
Why Should HTTPs Matter to Me?
An SSL Shows Your Customer Base You Care About Their Security
By adding an SSL certificate to your website, and turning it from HTTP to HTTPs, you are providing an extra level of security for your users. They know right away that your website is secure- that nothing they are viewing or how they are interacting on your website is being monitored or watched by a malicious entity. It shows that you care about your customer’s user experience – and that reflects highly upon your company brand.
It Actually Provides Additional Security Against Hackers
Having an SSL certificate installed on your website also helps protect your website from a possible breach or hacking attempt. The extra level of encryption provides an external wall that is harder for hackers to break and infect. So while you might not necessarily need one for the type of website your business uses – it does help you protect yourself against would-be attackers and saves you money on potential cleanup and patches once a website does get infected or breached.
HTTPs Help Improve Website Search Engine Rankings and Traffic
Having this added security installed on your website shows popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing! that you take your user’s experience and security seriously. So seriously that they award your website with increased rankings.
And we all know higher rankings lead to more traffic which you hope leads to more clients/customers.
Google has been favoring websites with HTTPs for a few years now; however, after recent technology-related world events, they have doubled-down.
Starting this past October, websites that use a form or search tool on their website will not have a Not Secure warning when viewed on Google Chrome browser. The last thing you want your prospective clients to see when visiting your site is a message about poor security.
Google also has been blatantly favoring websites with HTTPs over HTTP. About have of all 1st page results on Google are websites with HTTPs, up over 30% since the end of 2016.
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 as well. Overall, the industry is punishing sites that do not value security.
So, what should you take away from all of this?
An SSL does incur extra costs (but they are minimal) but failure to secure your website can cost you potential new customers, reduce 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 fairly simple and won’t break your budget either.
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 To SSL or Not to SSL: What is HTTPs and Why it Matters to You appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.5 Cyber Security Features/Protocols Your Business Needs To Protect Against Scammers, Hackers & Cyber Criminals Oct 30, 2017
Sometimes it sounds like the news and cyber experts are on loop or a broken record. Every day there is a new report about cyber security, threats and the like. But while these stories and warnings may start to seem like white noise in the background, the threats are still here and they are very real.
The upside of all of this coverage and conversation is that business owners are wising up and with the topic of cyber security taking center stage, users and business owners alike are being more proactive when it comes to protecting and educating themselves.
In the spirit of education we’d like to dive a little deeper into 5 features/protocols you can set up at your office to beef up your IT Security.
Top 5 Cyber Security Features/Protocols
Multi Factor Authentication
This feature is nothing new but it is becoming more and more common across all kinds of accounts. Financial services, email, social media and other applications/accounts are making use of multi or dual factor authentication. Essentially you have a password and second form of identification to prove your identity. Sometimes this is a randomly generated code – think Facebook’s code generator.
Another type of multi or dual factor authentication uses biometric data for identity verification. Things like a fingerprint or a retina scan are examples of this type of security measure. In fact, last month we took a look at biometrics, integrated security and banking applications – read more about that here.
An Employee Training Program
Statistically over 80% of all breaches and intrusions occur after an employee error. Clicking a link in an email, downloading a malicious file, visiting an infected website . . . there are so many ways this can happen and most of the time it isn’t intentional either. The best way to prevent this from happening is an ongoing security program for yourself and employees. A good program will have a varied focus: compliance standards for personal and customer info (commonly known as pii or personally identifiable information), strategies for recognizing and avoiding email scams, proper security protocols for best practices at the office and more. In 2017 Andromeda recognized this need and released our PII Protection/Cyber Security Training Program. See full details here.
Business Grade Firewall
A good firewall is your first defense against intrusion. With proper intrusion detection and intrusion prevention settings you arm yourself against cyber criminals and hackers. On top of that, a business grade firewall solution is an important piece of hardware when you want to set up public and private networks. You definitely don’t want guests at your building or passersby accessing company documents or networks because of low cyber security protocols.
Regularly Scheduled Updates/Patching
New viruses and threats hit the market every day. On top of that, hackers and criminals discover new vulnerabilities almost as fast as developers can protect against them. This is why keeping up to date and on top of patching and updates is so important. For instance, the WannaCry virus everyone heard so much about this year took advantage of a vulnerability that had already been addressed by a Windows patch. If companies had proactively updated and maintained their updates/patches, they wouldn’t have been as vulnerable to an attack.
This ties into both firewall protocols and employee training but of course, the fewer random emails that make it into your employee inboxes, the fewer links and files you need to worry about employee’s (or even yourself) clicking on. A professional spam tool can be configured to your liking and can do a whole lot to prevent content from making it to those that might accidentally infect your network. See the photos below for a few examples of emails we protect customers from on a daily basis.
As always, Andromeda is here to help you protect yourself and your business from these ongoing threats. Take the first step today and sign up for a cyber security audit with our team of experts.
The post 5 Cyber Security Features/Protocols Your Business Needs To Protect Against Scammers, Hackers & Cyber Criminals appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Microsoft Purchases GitHub – What Does This Mean For Open Source? Jun 15, 2018
Microsoft just made a big, significant purchase that has raised more than a few eyebrows.� They just acquired GitHub for a hefty $7.5 billion.
What makes the purchase interesting and potentially troublesome is that Microsoft is the world's largest proprietary software company, and GitHub is the world's largest open source hosting service.
The natural question on everyone's mind then, is what does this mean for open source?� Is it doomed?� Is it soon to go the way of the dinosaur, or will Microsoft hold the reins of power loosely and let open source continue to flourish?
Those are fair questions, especially given that GitHub is used by more than 28 million developers around the world, and is home to more than 85 million code repositories.� In addition to that, the company was built on Git, which is an open source version control software written by Linus Torvalds (the creator of Linux). Its founders have worked hard to develop innovative workflows that have made the hub easy to use and work with.
The fear is that Microsoft will start strangling those developments and insist that GitHub begin using proprietary Microsoft products.� While it's too early to say for certain, the early indications are encouraging.� Microsoft has stated that GitHub will be allowed to retain its status as an "open platform" and its service will continue to be offered for free.
Having said that, there will be some changes, including the fact that Microsoft will be offering integration between its AppCenter mobile testing service and projects hosted on GitHub.� This builds on previous collaborations between Microsoft and GitHub.� Last year, GitHub announced that they would support Microsoft's "Git Virtual File System," which the company designed for enterprise-sized data repositories.
The skeptics are right to be skeptical, but so far, the early indications are positive.� Note that it's not a done deal just yet.� The merger is subject to regulatory approval in both the US and the EU.