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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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.Get More Done with 5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365 Aug 31, 2018
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. You can’t trick the system, you’ve got to travel the distance from point A to point B to get where you want to go – or at least that’s what we’ve all been told by physics and geometry.
In most cases, this concept also applies to our workdays and careers. The grind is long, the work keeps coming, the tasks continue to pile up but at the end of the day, you are consistently working on taking the necessary steps towards point B – whatever that may be for you and your business.
But what if there were tools available to you that might give you and your team an edge. Wouldn’t you want to take advantage of strategies and applications that improved productivity, helped you get more done and saved you time?
Did you know that Microsoft Office builds their tools with time saving, productivity boosting, organization strategies in mind?
Let’s take a look at some of these tools to help you get more done during your 9-5.
5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365
1. The Tell Me Function
Ever wonder how to do something in Word or forget where to find a specific function in a Microsoft Office program? The Tell Me function is located in the main navigation bar and can perform many useful functions for you. This function speeds things up and prevents you from having to Google how to do things like create columns in Word, pull up your recent commands, resend messages in Microsoft Outlook and more.
As mentioned, the Tell Me function is located in your main navigation – to the right of the ‘View’ section. You can see a faint blue lightbulb with the phrase “Tell me what you want to do…” next to it. You can also use the key combination alt + q to pull it up if you want to be even more productive!
For more information on this function and its’ use – check out this quick video
2. Real Time Collaboration
Have you ever tried to open a document at work when a popup informs you that you have to open a ‘read only’ copy because another user is currently in the file?
This can be a pain when you are trying to get work done at the same time as one of your teammates. It can also be frustrating if you have a teammate that regularly forgets to close files when they are done working with them (we’ve all done that right?).
With Office 365 you can take advantage of live collaboration. This means that multiple members of your team can be in a document, editing and making changes at the same time. For instance, if you have an upcoming presentation, your marketing staff can be editing content while your sale staff adds their spin.
Additionally, Microsoft has built other tools such as Microsoft Teams to help departments and teams in your organization collaborate via conversation and shared documents. You can also take collaboration outside of your office to work with vendors, clients and business partners via Inter-Tenant Collaboration which allows you to set up shared calendars, documentation spaces, IMs and more.
For more on how Office 365 can enhance collaboration in the office look here.
3. Microsoft To-Do
Do you have a list of tasks and to-do’s that never seems to end? Or maybe you just have a hard time organizing all of your tasks in one place?
With Microsoft To-Do you have an intelligent, cloud based task management system that is with you no matter where you are and accessibly on a variety of devices. The application is mobile friendly and synchs directly with Outlook.
To-Do allows you to take your larger list of tasks and review them daily to add them to your ‘My Day’ feature. By doing this you are able to locate which of your tasks have priority and knock them out one by one.
Where To-Do really shines is it’s security and compliance features. Microsoft has done a great job with the Outlook integration to make sure that your To-Do list is secure and compliant across the board.
You can also segment your To-Do’s into “steps” meaning you can break down a larger task into the sub-steps required for completion. You can even share your tasks with peers, friends, family or coworkers thanks to a recent update.
4. Automate Key Workflows with Microsoft Flow
Many businesses turn to Sharepoint to securely store, access and manage company documentation, Microsoft Flow can actually help you create workflow automation with integrations to other software as well.
For instance, you can set systems up so that when a document is uploaded, an email is automatically sent to a staff member to review the document. This can be useful for things like Time Off requests but can be applied to larger, more demanding tasks like onboarding or off boarding clients/vendors. Microsoft Flow is also integrated into SharePoint so that you can start flows directly from lists and libraries making it a great productivity booster, time saver and addition to the Microsoft Office Suite.
5. Microsoft Sway
Microsoft Sway is a presentation tool that some believe may replace PowerPoint. It allows users to put together professional presentations quickly with a drag and drop function for photos, documents, text and more.
It should be mentioned though that you cannot create charts or graphs in Sway – it is more geared towards visual presentations. So if you need to share numbers, statistics or charts, probably best to stick with PowerPoint.
You don’t have to have Sway installed on a device to present your work which means it is widely accessible as well as easy to use and intuitive. Sharing your presentation with another is as simple as sharing a link.
Microsoft wants to help you get your job done and they build tools/functions to help you get more accomplished in the office and on the go. With new Office applications and Office 365 you open a variety of doors to your business with respect to collaboration and remote capabilities.
You don’t have to have Office 365 to get the productivity boosts described above. Many of these programs and tools are available in the traditional license model. You may lose out on some of the cloud functions, live collaboration capabilities and accessibility though.
To discuss what migrating to Office 365 would mean for your business, simply give us a call at the office (815) 836 – 0030 or send an email to Contact@WeNetwork.com. You can also feel free to reach us if you want to learn more about a specific application not included in your current Office 365 Subscription.
The post Get More Done with 5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365 appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Government Payment Processor Exposes Data On Millions Of Americans Oct 03, 2018
If you use the GovPayNet portal, be advised that your personal information is currently at risk. Although at this point, there's no indication that any hacker has made use of it.� The portal is run by Government Payment Service, and is used by many Americans to pay fines, fees and bills generated by more than two thousand different government agencies operating in 35 states.
Unfortunately, the way the website is configured, when it issues a receipt for a payment, it numbers those receipts sequentially. All a hacker would have to do would be to change the receipt number in the URL to see any previous receipts, and all of the information it contains.
When the flaw was discovered by journalist Brian Krebs, more than fourteen million old records were exposed in this manner.� He contacted Government Payment Service to inform them of the flaw, and the agency moved quickly to address the issue. They said in a formal statement that they "did not adequately restrict access to only authorized recipients."
They went on to assure their users that there's no indication that any data had been improperly accessed. They added that the receipts generated don't include any information that could be used by a hacker to initiate any type of financial transaction.
Unfortunately, the reality was a bit different.� The receipts contain the names, addresses and phone numbers of the person paying the fee in question, along with the last four digits of whatever credit or debit card was used to make payment. That is more than enough information to enable a hacker to initiate a phishing attack to get the rest.
Nick Bilorgoskiy of Juniper Networks had this to say about the matter:
"Online payment providers...should take special care to protect their customers' receipts by using HTTPS and checking that the user is logged in and has permissions to view them.� To avoid information disclosure and directory traversal issues, I also recommend denying anonymous web visitors the ability to read permissions for any unnecessary files from web-accessible directories."
It's good advice, and here's hoping that Government Payment Service will take it.� If you use the service, there's nothing for you to do.� You don't need to change your password, since it was never exposed.� Just be mindful that someone may have seen any data your receipts contain before the site was secured.