- Long-term MSP (Managed Services Provider) for all your IT, phone, and security needs
- "Special needs" implementer to augment the day-to-day tasks of an internal technical staff (e.g., initial setup of a new server or new phone system)
- Reliable "go to" solution provider for the occasional break-fix issue (HelpDesk and dispatchable techs)
Managed IT Services
…and your budget!
In an MSP role, Andromeda offers a range of service plans—anything from month-to-month "time & materials" based assistance to fixed service contracts that permit "no-brainer" conformance to an annual budget. We even offer V.I.P. plans which permit you to "jump the queue" for HelpDesk and remote technical support assignments! Beyond the functions you would expect from a full-service MSP:
- Reliable & Fast Hybrid System Backup / Business Continuity Solutions
- Fast Data Recovery
- Network Management including 24/7/365 monitoring
- Virtual CIO role
- Security (spam control, anti-malware, containment & cleansing)
- End-to-End Internet Access & Web Hosting
- Email Account Setups, Mobile Syncing, Hosting, Archiving, and Cloud storage/services in Wheeling, IL (e.g., Microsoft Office365 setups)
- Software Application Deployment & Database Repair
- Automated Patching
...Andromeda can offer so much more: a single, expert source for a full range of physical security systems which can (and should) freely interact with your data network:
- Telephone systems—both hosted VoIP and traditional on-premises
- Building/Door Access Control
- Security Camera Systems and Video Surveillance
- Burglar Alarm System Installation & Monitoring
So, not only can we provide professional service for the full gamut of physical security needs of your growing organization, we are uniquely positioned to integrate those systems with any elements of your data and voice network. It is this integration that extracts the full power and usefulness of these systems for your organization.
- System design (for new networks or expansion of existing ones)
- Ordering/delivery/installation of network components
- In-wall & in-ceiling wiring & access boxes in new or existing structures
- Integration with your current network, security systems, alarm systems, door access…
- Computer configurations, email/network accounts, firewalls, security software…
- Complete system testing and staff training
But our job doesn't stop there. Once your network is operational, we can continue to support you with preventive maintenance packages, innovative approaches to data backup, virus and Malware control, and anti-spam solutions.
Computer Network Infrastructure – Switches, Routers and Firewalls
Having a solid network infrastructure is critical to keeping your systems running well and with minimal downtime. Truly, a $20 network switch from the retail store down the street or the guy you know that "does some wiring on the side" is not going to get you where you need to be. Neither are onsite-only or Cloud-only backup solutions!
Knowing that IT network wiring and switches are the vital backbones of your operation, Andromeda employs only experienced technicians and uses only business-class networking gear:
HP network switches • Cisco routers • Sonicwall & Netgear firewalls
WANs, VPNs – Multiple Locations and Remote Access
We specialize in extending your network beyond the four walls of your main office. This might include remote or branch offices, mobile employees or remote access from your house for voice, video, file sharing and much more!
Wireless IT networks are quite popular and are fast becoming indispensible. However, they generally cannot achieve the same level of performance as traditional wired networks where security, reliability, and bandwidth are of premium importance. Still, a wireless network is a great solution for a few roaming laptops or tablet PCs overlaying your wired office areas. To overcome the potential shortcomings of wireless, we use HP and Cisco Wireless Access Points, and we can guide you through the do’s and don’ts of implementing a wireless network to avoid the pitfalls.
Computer Network Design and Infrastructure Wiring
Whether you are adding a few offices or doing an entire build-out from the ground up, Andromeda Technology Solutions can help. We can provide infrastructure wiring for your voice, data, TV, cameras, overhead paging, etc. Having one company to handle all your wiring needs eliminates trying to coordinate vendors, minimizes labor overlap, and decreases cost.
We are also available to assist in the design of your wiring. While architects generally do a good job with this layout, we have a unique real-world approach that tends to be more in line with what is actually needed for a working office. Involving us early in the process will minimize the chance of having to run additional wires after your construction is complete…when it's much more expensive to install!
Web/Email Hosting & Web Design
"Commodity" web and email hosting seem like great solutions…until they go down OR you need to add a new account OR remove an ex-employee's access OR countless other items that need attention more regularly than you initially imagined. Ideally, your IT service that performs these functions for you should also host your web and email accounts to avoid delays, transfer issues, and any number of other potential mishaps. Andromeda is pleased to offer comprehensive hosting plans to do just that. Through our plans, you can also choose additional premium services like website hit tracking and statistics reporting.
Andromeda is also pleased to provide web design services—anything from simple informational sites to complete new site designs featuring animation/video, multi-tiered navigation, database-backed forms and social media interaction. We also have proven expertise in the art of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)—a "must" for any company that needs to generate new business leads from its on-line presence!
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:
Password Quick Tips – 6 Do’s And Don’ts Oct 02, 2017
We’ve been polling our readers recently for topics of interest. Of course, cyber security and ransomware are hot topics but many of you mentioned that you are interested in quick tips you can follow or use yourself.
You ask – we deliver.
Without further ado – check out these 6 quick tips for best password practices
- Create passwords with multiple cases, symbols and numbers. Just be sure to avoid passwords such as “123456”, “qwerty”, “football”, “princess” or “password” – some of the most common passwords in 2016 according to SplashData.
- Don’t create a password based on personal details such as your birth date, an anniversary, phone number, social security number etc. While not everyone may know these details about you, they are among the first a cybercriminal or evildoer will attempt when trying to hack your account. Even worse, if your password data is compromised, imagine what a cybercriminal could do with that social security information if it was exposed.
- Avoid using the same password on multiple sites. We get it, remembering different passwords for all of your different sites and needs is difficult. It is important to create something unique for every login you maintain. Remember, if a hacker gets ahold of your password for one account, the first thing they will do is try that bad boy on bank accounts, social media, emails and anywhere else they can to grab sensitive information or even your hard earned money.
- Change your passwords regularly. We suggest changing passwords every 90 days. This can be a pain but if you maintain this practice you make getting into your accounts that much harder.
- Do Not keep a list of your passwords on your computer. Keeping a list of passwords is dangerous in any format. You open yourself up to great risk in doing so. The worst method for this is keeping a list of your passwords in a file on your computer. Instead, keep a list of each site and next to it write a specific clue that will only make sense to you. This can help jog your memory without spilling the beans if someone stumbles upon the file.
- Use Dual Authentication. Many apps and sites now offer dual authentication as an added security measure. Once you login to your account, you will be prompted for a code (either one you create or a randomly generated code). You put this code into the site as a second proof of your identity. This feature greatly reduces if not eliminates the likelihood of someone breaking into your accounts.
Password protection is difficult. The average Joe has anywhere from 20-200 passwords. We recognize that is a big gap but even memorizing 20 different passwords is a difficult task. With that said, we would like to provide you with a few useful tools that can free up your memory and manage your password security for you.
There are a variety of password managers on the market. We have used and enjoyed LastPass which comes with a free and premium subscription as well as an app for your phone. If you want to check out a variety of password managers and how they stack up – PC Magazine released their “Best Password Managers of 2017” earlier this month.
Password Security Tests
Platforms and websites do exist that will check the security of your password. There are even some websites out there that will tell you how long a hacker would have to spend to crack your code. Check out our recommended tool here .
Email Alias Tools
We’ve found an interesting tool that can help you keep track of your passwords but also creates aliases for your email address. This is useful because without your email address, a password is essentially useless. Now, of course you don’t want someone to have your password at all but this also helps you keep your inbox clear of spam and unwanted mail.
Any of these tools can help you out. If you have any questions feel free to reach the Andromeda Team Today!
The post Password Quick Tips – 6 Do’s And Don’ts appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.5 Critical Components Any Professional Disaster Recovery Plan Must Have Jul 03, 2017
We hear a whole lot about ransomware and cyber criminals these days. Andromeda helps our clients combat most data breaches with multi-tiered security solutions and employee training. But, every business is still vulnerable to incident. That is why a full proof and dependable Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity plan is an essential. Before you hit the world wide web searching for DR solutions and backup plans, take a look at these 5 critical components any professional disaster recovery plan must have.
Your disaster recovery plan should consider appropriate business continuity variables.
Disasters happen; they come in many shapes and sizes. Server crashes, accidental file deletion, physical disasters such as fire or flood and the increasingly common ransomware or malware infection are all scenarios.
You must ask two important questions yourself in regards to business continuity:
- How much time can pass between recovery points, ie: how much data can you afford to lose; this is commonly known in Business Continuity as RPO – Recovery Point Objective
- How much time can pass between the disaster and recovery, ie: how much time can you afford to lose; this is commonly known in Business Continuity as RTO – Recovery Time Objective
Ideally, your RPO and RTO are as low as possible.
A good Disaster Recovery Plan will consider these factors and have various options for restoring files, folders or even whole servers. On top of that, it is important that these options take into account minimalizing data loss and interruption.
Data should be stored both locally and offsite.
Many people have an easy time seeing the value in the offsite backup. Whether that’s tape drives taken offsite daily, external USB drives treated the same, or data sent to the cloud for storage, it carries with it a feeling of great comfort knowing that “if the building burns down” the data is still safe.
What few realize is what we mean when we speak about downtime, for incidents that are not quite as catastrophic as a burning building. In those cases, it can take an unacceptable amount of time to get your hands on that offsite backup or to download an entire server from the cloud.
With a Disaster Recovery Plan option that offers backups both locally and offsite (cloud based), you are able to restore large quantities of files and entire server images quickly. Your onsite device should also have the capability to virtualize as a temporary server in the event your main server crashes.
Find a disaster recovery plan option that provides multiple restore options
When you think about restoring from a disaster, you may believe that so long as you have a version of your data somewhere, you are secure. In reality though, your recovery time objective can be greatly impacted by the different options available to you after a disaster. A disaster recovery plan with multiple options for virtualization, restoration and data access is an absolute must.
You may have heard the term “virtualization” before. Being able to virtualize your server either on a physical device at your location or in the cloud simply means that you have a temporary solution that will keep your business up and running while you resolve whatever issue corrupted your data, server or situation in the first place.
A catastrophic hardware failure can put your business down for hours, sometimes days. Rushing that process up can incur huge costs as well: rush delivery, emergency dispatch etc. In the event of a hardware failure, a virtual copy of your last backup can be spun up. Once completed, you can resume working swiftly. This quick recovery allows you to deal with hardware replacements, scheduling and budgets in an organized fashion.
A top tier solution will provide you with onsite virtualization and an option to virtualize in the cloud. Cloud virtualization is not as quick and can produce some lag time. Nonetheless, in the event your backups are stolen or disaster strikes your building (fire, flood etc.) – the ability to spin up and virtualize data from the cloud means that your business is not at a standstill.
Find out what type of support a vendor provides for disaster recovery plans.
Your company does not want to struggle to get their files restored. You can’t wait hours and hours to restore a file you accidentally deleted. Don’t wait for hours to hear back on the status of a data restore. Your IT partner should understand the solution they are providing and be able to work with you directly. Cut out the intermediary. Ensure your vendor monitors all the warranties, all the software support calls, and all monitoring; ensuring your backups are humming all day every day – as they should be.
Don’t trust just any business continuity or disaster recovery plan solution.
There are literally hundreds of options out there for Disaster Recovery. A quick Google search will give you pages of results. Comparing them is mind numbing, and if we are being honest . . . who takes the time to do all that? Your first step is to find an IT partner that you trust. Check their references. See if they have case studies to show how a disaster recovery functions with the product. Ask for a demonstration of the product. This is serious stuff and you need to trust the hands maintaining and protecting your data.
The post 5 Critical Components Any Professional Disaster Recovery Plan Must Have appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Microsoft May Remove Windows Paint From Operating System Jan 15, 2018
"Paint" is one step closer to being a thing of the past.
In May of this year, Microsoft caught a surprising amount of flak when they announced that the venerable app, which had been included with the OS in every release since 1985, would be going away and replaced by a newer, sleeker version called Paint 3D.
The company had not expected any backlash on the matter and was sent scrambling when tens of thousands of people complained loudly in forums all over the internet.
The company quickly revised its position, explaining that while Paint would no longer come pre-installed on future releases of Windows, it would still be available on Microsoft's app store. This move seemed to mollify Paint's surprising number of fans and followers, but now, Microsoft is in the news again over the surprisingly cherished app.
In a recently released Windows 10 Insider Preview, the following message was discovered when accessing Paint: "This version of Paint will soon be replaced with Paint 3D. Classic Paint will then become available in the store."
Note that this message was not displayed upon opening Paint itself, but rather upon clicking the "Product Alert" button at the top right corner of the app screen.
While the news is certainly no surprise, given the above, the sparse wording of the message does raise the question of whether the transition will be occurring during the next Windows 10 release. So far, the company has not offered any sort of clarification or confirmation.
In any case, we're now one step closer to saying goodbye to Paint. While it was never a very good image editing program, it has proven to have a surprisingly deep base of support. Support or no, however, the day is soon coming when it will be a thing of the past, unless users go to the store and manually download and install it.