- 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 Itasca, 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 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 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!
Andromeda Tech Press
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 Andro-PediaSM library archive:
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.
3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches Sep 04, 2017
When you think of data encryption, you might imagine top-secret files and espionage. Historically, militaries and governments protected messages and sensitive information using encryption. These days encryption has many more uses. And with hackers and cyber criminals constantly after your data, it is important that you make use of this security measure.
Encryption is defined as scrambling data or text to make it unreadable. This protects stored data and personal information from displaying to those without a proper clearance or key to decode that information. There are all kinds of pieces of information you have on file that a disgruntled employee or criminal could make use of:
- Home addresses
- Email Addresses
- Drivers Licenses
- Credit Card information
- Social Security Numbers
- Date of birth
- Medical history or records
- Financial information – routing numbers, account numbers etc.
Depending on your industry, this information may be subject to state and federal regulation, hefty fines and, in cases of negligence, even jailtime (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars). Businesses close their doors over this stuff.
While employee training and proper cyber protocols are great at protecting you and your business from user error and data breach – encryption is an added layer of security every business benefits from.
3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches
- Encryption Saves Your Reputation – More and more employees are working on the go in 2017. With employees working from home, sales staff in the field and the hustle and bustle of every day, you don’t want to hold your employees back or decrease productivity by preventing devices from leaving the office. But imagine your employee runs into the neighborhood Starbucks and leaves their company laptop in their front seat. While they are ordering their venti latte, a criminal breaks into their car and steals their belongings – your laptop included. Now you’re out the hardware but more importantly, you have a criminal at large with sensitive data. If this data has any sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) on it, you are required to report the incident. Do you want your customers losing valuable trust in your company? In fact, this fear of reputational damage is the reason that three out of every four victims to ransomware, data breach or cyber-attack do not report the incident. Think back to 2013 when 41 million people found out Target compromised their sensitive data. You’d probably think twice about shopping there again if you were one of them. If the stolen laptop had been encrypted, you wouldn’t have to report an incident. The criminal would have no way of deciphering data on the equipment.
- Encryption Keeps Designated Information Private – Let’s bring this example back into your office for a moment. Even if you don’t keep sensitive customer information on file or process credit cards. You have personal information for employees on file: Performance reviews, social security numbers, salary information and more. You don’t need a hacker or even a disgruntled employee gaining access to these records. With encryption you can ensure that even if an employee accidentally or intentionally stumbles into an area they shouldn’t be, they can’t make sense of any of that information.
- Encryption Can Save You From The Unexpected – Whether a device goes missing from the office, is stolen from a front seat or possibly snatched by a disgruntled employee, you can’t have sensitive information at large. Your reputation aside, as mentioned earlier, these types of breaches can result in very large fines, prosecution and years in prison. Nobody needs that on their mind every night. With encryption you can rest easy that even in the wrong hands, your data can’t be manipulated or exposed. To take this a step further, certain encryption management tools have the ability to remotely disable and even wipe devices. This comes in handy in all of the examples we have described. So now, not only is the information on your device useless, but after your IT company takes necessary steps, the device shows nothing but the “blue screen of death”.
Encryption is a powerful tool. It is an incredibly useful and we would say necessary piece of your cyber security and data protection plan. It is important that you protect sensitive information. Even if you don’t want to believe it, there are criminals and people out there that would wreak havoc with that data if given the chance.
For more information on our encryption software and other cyber security training, protocols and plans, give us a call at (815) 836-0030.
And be sure to click here and explore our Unlimited Security Training Program. Over 80% of data breaches are a result of human error and the first step to prevention is education.
Mention this blog and receive 50% off your first annual subscription.
The post 3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.
Extensions In Popular Web Browsers Found To Have Vulnerabilities Sep 12, 2017
Security researchers in Europe have discovered a pair of flaws that relate to modern web browsers’ extension system. Exploiting these flaws would allow a patient and determined hacker to determine with absolute accuracy of what extensions any given user is making use of.
While not as critical of a flaw as some of the others we’ve seen in recent months, this information could still be used to create highly accurate user profiles. This would allow hackers to create custom-tailored phishing attacks and landing pages that a given subset of users who had a certain set of browser extensions installed would be more likely to click on or investigate, thus falling into the hackers’ trap.
It should be noted that these two flaws appear in all of the popular web browsers in use today, including Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge and others, so this is something that impacts the vast bulk of the world’s internet users.
All of these browsers use the same extension system, “WebExtensions API,” so the vulnerability is truly global in scope and scale.
Unfortunately, there’s not currently an ETA for a fix for the issue. The researchers approached all of the major browser makers to report the issue, but so far, none of the companies behind those products have responded with a firm plan for fixing the security flaw.
In part, this is because they’re all mired in the constant battle to close critical security loopholes, and this one just doesn’t quite measure up. It is nonetheless disconcerting that literally none of the major browser makers have plans that they’ve shared regarding this particular issue.
Unfortunately, there’s no practical defense against this for the time being. The only way to be sure you’re not being tracked in this manner is to simply stay off the web entirely, which just isn’t going to work for most people.
When the situation changes and at least one company has a plan on the table for fixing the issue, we’ll undoubtedly have more to say on the matter.