- 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 Woodridge, 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:
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 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.If your Point Of Sale Uses Oracle, Update Now Feb 12, 2018
Oracle is currently the third-largest provider of POS (Point of Sale) software on the market today, which means that there's a fairly good chance you're using an Oracle POS system.� If you are, there's trouble ahead.� A recently discovered security flaw could put your system at risk.
Oracle has already identified and patched the security flaw, but there's a problem.� Since POS systems are deemed "mission critical" by most businesses, System Administrators rarely schedule maintenance for them on fears that an unstable patch or update could cause undue downtime for the company.� Because of that, it will likely be a month or more before the new update finds its way to all 300,000 of the at-risk systems.
As security flaws go, this one is fairly nasty, too, as it allows a hacker to collect configuration files from any vulnerable Micros POS system.� This data can then be used to grant the hacker full, unrestricted access to the POS system, �as well as the database and server it feeds information to.
Most hackers attacking a POS would be content with simply collecting credit card details for resale on the Dark Web However, with this exploit, any sort of malware could be installed to use against the company later.
Even worse, a hacker need not be in close proximity to the device in question.� A carefully crafted HTTP request could trigger the security flaw and open the door.� Of course, if a hacker is in close proximity to the system, then there are many easier ways to infect it.� One only needs to distract the sales clerk long enough to attach a simple Raspberry Pi board equipped to run the exploit code and the damage is done.
The bottom line is, if you use an Oracle POS, make installing the latest security patch a priority.� You'll be vulnerable until you do.