Second Apprentice Joins Andromeda Solutions

We are very pleased to announce that we have welcomed another apprentice to our growing team here at Andromeda Solutions. Jake Ding has joined us to complete an Infrastructure Support Engineer Apprenticeship and is the second apprentice to join our company. Jake joined our team on 21st June and is settling in well to his new role. We wish Jake the best of luck on his Apprenticeship journey with us.

Why did we choose to take on another IT apprentice?

After successfully hiring Ryan Headlam through Baltic Apprenticeships in April 2021, we decided that taking on another apprentice was the right decision for our business. Baltic have once again helped us find another suitable candidate to join our company, and we are extremely grateful for their support and expertise during this process.

The excellent Apprenticeship funding currently available has enabled us to further grow our business and provide another amazing opportunity for a local person seeking employment. Hiring another IT apprentice is not only a cost-effective way for us to expand and meet our business demands, but it is also a great way for us to train new employees and shape them to fit our business needs.

Apprenticeship Funding

The Government and the Tees Valley Combined Authority are still offering incentive payments to employers who take on new apprentices. The Government fund between 95% and 100% of all training costs, and the Tees Valley Combined Authority offer a Tees Valley Apprenticeship Support Grant to qualifying SME’s. Thanks to these Grant Schemes we are able to offer another Apprenticeship at our company, providing another opportunity for someone looking to start their career in the IT sector.

Supporting a local charity with free IT services and IT support

Andromeda Solutions are delighted to be supporting the National Animal Sanctuaries Support League (NASSL) by offering free services, including IT Support. This wonderful local charity was established 30 years ago and works tirelessly to rehome abandoned and unwanted animals.

What do the National Animal Sanctuaries Support League do?

Everything NASSL do revolves around caring for animals in need, including working with local social services to take in and look after the pets of people in crisis, for example, those requiring support from women’s refuges. For the past 25 years, NASSL have been operating from premises in County Durham, however, due to the recent death of the landlord, they now find themselves with just 6 months to find a new home.

The good news is that the charity has been given the opportunity to purchase a plot of land so they can continue to carry out their amazing work and improve the lives of the animals they care for. They are currently fundraising to make up the shortfall of the purchase price.

IT Support by Andromeda Solutions

Andromeda is very happy to be supporting them in their mission and have offered free consultancy to help set up the GoFundMe page so supporters can easily pledge their donations. Andromeda have also provided work on the social media promotion for the launch, including the Facebook ad campaign, plus offered IT support and management oversight throughout the process.

All the animals cared for by NASSL are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before being rehomed. They also offer a low-cost service for pet owners who are unable to afford these procedures, along with transport to and from the PDSA if their pet needs medical treatment and they have no means of travel.

A female cat who hasn’t been spayed, can give birth to large litters up to 4 times a year, risking both her own health and that of any unwanted kittens. Male cats, who haven’t been neutered, are likely to get into fights with other cats and spray in the home, making them difficult to keep, plus they can regularly go missing in their hunt for a female to mate with. By offering these simple procedures, the NASSL protect hundreds and thousands of animals each year.

Andromeda Solutions hope their IT services and support contribute to the continuation of NASSL and the successful purchase of the new site, so they can keep up the fantastic work they do. If you’d like to make a donation, please visit their GoFundMe page and give what you can.

Creating Opportunities at Andromeda Solutions

We are pleased to announce that Ryan Headlam will be joining us to complete his Apprenticeship. Ryan commences his employment with Andromeda Solutions at the beginning of April 2021 and is the first apprentice to join our company.  

Ryan will be completing an Infrastructure Support Engineer Apprenticeship over the next 15 months. Ryan wants to gain industry experience whilst gaining a valuable qualification that will help him progress in his career.  

Why did we offer an Apprenticeship?

In response to the high levels of youth unemployment in the north-east, we wanted to focus on our social responsibility as a local business and provide an opportunity within our company. This is a productive and effective way for us to grow and diversify the business, and pass on our passion, knowledge, and skills to an IT expert of the future.

We worked closely with the team at Baltic Apprenticeships to find the perfect candidate. Baltic specialise in Tech and Digital Apprenticeships, so were naturally a perfect fit for us.  A huge thank you to Ben Hogg and Alice Wanless for all their help and support during this process. If any other local companies are considering taking on an apprentice, we recommend getting in contact with Baltic Apprenticeships.

Government and Tees Valley Funding

The Government are focused on supporting businesses to take on young people across all sectors of the economy through the Apprenticeship Scheme. They believe that Apprenticeships are a crucial way to develop skills, behaviours, and productivity that employers desire. The Government aim to give young people the best start in their career through excellent training and high-quality education. The Government offer incentive payments to employers who taken on new apprentices, and they fund between 95% and 100% of all training costs.

Tees Valley Combined Authority also supports the creation of Apprenticeships in the local area and offer a Tees Valley Apprenticeship Support Grant. The Grant is available for qualifying SME’s in sectors facing high demand and growth, including the digital and creative sector.

We are in full support of the Grant Schemes as they have enabled us, and many other smaller businesses, to provide opportunities to young people seeking work whilst growing our business. We are delighted to welcome Ryan to the team and wish him the best of luck on his Apprenticeship journey. 

The benefits of using Windows Server 2019 within your business

The latest server operating system evolution from Microsoft, Windows Server 2019 offers an impressive range of benefits. With a focus on Hybrid cloud environments and superb security features, it represents a cost-effective choice for organisations.

What Is Windows Server 2019?

Windows Server 2019 is the newest version of Microsoft’s operating system and is a popular choice for use in on-site data centres and cloud-based IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) implementations. It acts as a bridge between your business and Azure, enabling you to modernise your applications and make the best of your infrastructure, whilst enjoying advanced multilayer security measures.

Benefits of using the latest version of Microsoft Windows Server

The advanced multi-layer security is a key advantage of Microsoft’s latest offering. Allowing you to protect your data centre effectively, the measures begin with the operating system itself. This version of Windows Server can be used with Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard, which is a cloud-based service that provides continuous monitoring against attacks.

Thanks to the focus on Hybrid cloud deployments, the 2019 version allows you to get the best of cloud-native applications, as well as the optimisation of existing applications, thanks to its use of containers and microservices. Indeed, Microsoft is leading the field of innovation when it comes to containers. The operating system allows you to cut IT operational overheads and boost functionality, thanks to its smaller ServerCore image. In fact, the savings to virtual machine overheads are estimated at an impressive 50-80% with this version.

Choosing Microsoft Windows Server will also give you the advantage of a more sophisticated platform than open-source solutions such as Linux. However, there is a subsystem for Linux available, which can offer businesses a greater degree of integration of networks, file system storage and security protocols.

Management Functionality

A wide range of management tools are also at your disposal, with administrators able to choose between popular options such as PowerShell and Server Manager. This allows you to seamlessly migrate your Windows Server apps and Azure, saving you considerable time in comparison to AWS. Windows Admin Centre enables you to manage your Azure features as well as your on-site servers, and has the advantage of being accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.

Windows Admin Centre allows you to make the most of Azure’s superb cloud computing capabilities, such as storage and monitoring, as well as the essential back up and disaster recovery.

It’s clear, then, that the latest version of Microsoft Windows Server can offer your business a wide range of benefits. From advanced security measures to greater efficiency and leaner containers, all available at a cost-effective price, it makes an ideal choice for any organisation looking to optimise its hybrid-cloud environment.

Get in touch with us today to find out how Windows Server 2019 can benefit your business. 

What you need to know about Microsoft 365 backup

With an impressive range of features coupled with a familiar, easy to use interface, there’s no question that Microsoft 365 makes an excellent choice for your business’ software needs. However, you might be surprised to learn that although Microsoft 365 is a secure platform with automated backup functionality, this simply isn’t sufficient for most organisations’ requirements. This could lead to significant problems should your files be lost to malware or ransomware, as well as posing a threat to meeting essential data compliance requirements.

Is my data already backed up with Microsoft 365?

In answer to the question “does Microsoft backup Office 365?”, the simple answer is: not really. Microsoft 365 regularly backs up your files, but the retention period is extremely short. Files are only held for 30 days before they are lost forever, and for those using Microsoft SharePoint Online, this retention period drops to 14 days.

After this period elapses, there is simply no way for you to recover this data, which can certainly prove problematic should the worst happen. If your business were to be targeted by hackers, you could lose access to everything from spreadsheets and documents to emails and important calendar dates.

Backup Microsoft is not responsible for Office 365

In fact, when it comes to backing up data, it’s you the business owner who bears the responsibility. There is a shared responsibility model which deals with aspects such as the network, operating system and physical data centre, and the Microsoft 365 policy on backing up more than fulfils its side of those requirements. However, this means that the onus is on businesses to protect their data.

How do I back up Microsoft 365?

The good news is that there are dedicated solutions available to ensure that your backup for Microsoft Office 365 is taken care of. Quick and easy to install, these solutions offer flexible periods, as well as making it simple to access specific data files – an essential requirement for meeting compliance regulations. Any Microsoft 365 business owners should benefit from the peace of mind that such software solutions can offer, as well as reassurance that they can be scaled to meet their changing needs, should their business grow.

Microsoft 365 backup is essential

It’s vital that you ensure that your business is protected from costly disruption if disaster strikes. It should be considered a simple part of your IT support protocols and prioritised as highly as any other cyber security measures. The best way to be sure that your files are properly backed up is to choose a software solution that will safeguard all your valuable data. Doing so is quick and easy, and will provide you with peace of mind as you focus on getting on with business.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your business effectively backup your data.

The benefits of Microsoft 365

Offering businesses a host of impressive benefits, Microsoft 365 makes a smart choice for any modern organisation. It’s the all-round IT services solution that can help your organisation thrive. This blog post explains what Microsoft 365 is, and the main business benefits of Microsoft 365.

What is Microsoft 365?

Previously known as Office 365, Microsoft 365 is a powerful software solution for all your business’s requirements. Comprising a wide range of the tools you need every day, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams, it’s an integrated productivity suite that can help your organisation achieve real digital transformation. With the finest security protocols built-in as standard, you can transform your processes with the benefits of the latest AI-powered cloud computing technology.

Accessibility for the modern workforce

With the rise of remote working, choosing Microsoft 365 is the perfect solution for ensuring continuity across your business. All that is needed is an internet connection. With all your files safely stored in the cloud, your staff will be able to access everything they need wherever they may be working. The suite works across all devices, too, making it an excellent means of maximising productivity.

A cost-effective solution

The great benefits of this software are more affordable than you might expect. The cloud-based nature of the suite makes 365 an economical choice, with a monthly subscription payment plan. This makes it the perfect tool for ensuring that you stay agile and flexible, as you can scale your subscription as your needs change. With all software installation and updates included, it really is excellent value.

Security as standard

You can enjoy the reassurance of the most advanced security measures, with access to your data protected with two-factor authentication. Anti-malware and threat detection helps keep cyber criminals at bay, identifying any issues and dealing with them immediately, taking the strain off your IT support.

Key Microsoft 365 business features

The package offers a range of applications that can make the best of every working day. With features such as Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, and many others, it’s the software solution that covers all of your organisation’s requirements.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Now better than ever, Microsoft Teams benefits the modern organisation where staff are frequently working from home. It’s the ideal business communication platform, allowing messaging and video-conferencing together with tools which facilitate real-time collaborative working.

What is Microsoft OneDrive?

Microsoft OneDrive is your online storage platform, where your valuable data will be stored with optimum security. It means that your files are accessible wherever there is internet access, letting your staff get to work wherever they are. With 1TB of storage available, it’s an excellent way to streamline your data to minimise data sprawl.

It’s clear, then, that the Microsoft 365 business credentials are unbeatable, making it an ideal software solution for any modern enterprise. Affordable, secure, and able to handle all of your requirements with a range of tailored business applications, you can enjoy the gains in efficiency and productivity that are sure to follow. Andromeda Solutions is an official reseller and support provider of Microsoft 365. Contact us today to find out more and discover how we can help your business. 

How Cisco Meraki can benefit your business

If you’re looking to expand your business, upgrade your old IT systems, or you want to maximise the efficiency of your wi-fi network, you need a secure networking system such as Cisco Meraki. Cisco Meraki is an industry leader who provides an efficient cloud-based networking solution. With more people than ever working from home, Cisco Meraki can help your team stay connected, productive, and secure whilst working remotely. Andromeda Solutions are authorised Cisco Meraki resellers and fully support their network and security products, discover how Cisco Meraki can benefit your business with this blog post.

What is Cisco Meraki?

Cisco Meraki is a 100% cloud managed networking solution used by over 3 million network devices worldwide. Their cloud-based network has been designed and built for ease of use to make your life simpler and transform your workplace. Cisco Meraki create simple, creative, and powerful IT solutions that have been created to simplify complex problems for businesses.

The Cisco Meraki product range offers a complete range of hardware and software, including wireless LAN, security appliances, mobility management, switches, and security cameras. Their products are designed to simplify businesses IT by eliminating complex architectures and therefore reducing operating costs. All their products have fully integrated networking and are connected to the Cisco Meraki Cloud over a secure socket layer.  

The benefits of Cisco Meraki

Networking can be complicated, time consuming and a burden on any IT department. If managed correctly, a cloud network can drive holistic and strategic change across all areas of your business, saving your company time and money.

Meraki allows businesses to manage their entire network from a centralised dashboard that can be accessed via most devices, including from smartphones. From the dashboard interface, you can access inbuilt analytics and intelligence information. Traffic can be monitored to identify sources that are slowing down your network allowing admin users to make restrictions before it becomes overloaded. Admin users can set application specific rules that can prohibit the use of applications or websites. This network flexibility promotes efficiency, enables you to effectively monitor performance, and improves productivity within your workplace. 

Having secure and powerful IT solutions is more crucial than ever before. With external threats becoming more sophisticated, it is essential that you keep your network secure and protect your business from vulnerabilities such as security breaches, loss of connectivity, or data loss. Cisco Meraki is a streamlined networking system that helps minimise potential risks to your business. Security is a main priority for Cisco Meraki, all their products have been designed and built with security in mind.

Discover how Andromeda Solutions can help your company with our business IT services. We are partners with Cisco Meraki, are an authorised reseller, and employ Cisco-certified engineers. Contact us today to find out more.

The best IT services provider in Middlesbrough

Andromeda Solutions is honoured to be awarded the best IT services provider in Middlesbrough 2020 – what an amazing way to end the year!

We have been awarded this incredible title by the experts at Three Best Rated. Three Best Rated complete a comprehensive 50-point inspection, ensuring they recommend trusted, reliable and professional businesses to their customers. Three Best Rated found Andromeda Solutions to be the best local IT company in our area in their inspection report, receiving top scores in areas such as responsiveness, accuracy, and standards. We are extremely thankful for the recognition and privileged to be presented with the title of best IT services provider in Middlesbrough.   

We could not have received this award without the support and loyalty from our incredible customers. Providing outstanding customer service and exceeding customer expectations is very important to us. We are humbled by the kind words left on our social media pages and very grateful for your recommendations. Thank you for taking the time to review and rate our business, we are appreciative of your honest feedback.

 What is Three Best Rated?

Three Best Rated was created in 2014 with the primary goal of identifying the top 3 local businesses in each specific field, helping their 4 million customers per month find the best organisations near them. They use a vigorous 50-point inspection to score each business, checking everything from the company’s history and ownership, to legitimate reviews and responsiveness. They check the businesses reputation, complaints, ratings, customer satisfaction, proximity, trust, cost, and overall general excellence. Three Best Rated believe that local businesses provide better services than big corporations as they know the local area and understand the needs, wants and expectations of local customers.

Here is what they have to say about Andromeda Solutions:

“Their team specialises in secure, reliable, server technology, offering comprehensive solutions to all your business needs. If there’s a business-critical problem – such as the company server going down – they’ll respond within an hour. You can track their progress online. Their well-designed networks are fast and reliable, with maximum uptime. Andromeda Solutions creates everything from a primary network using a single internet link to a complex network with 100% uptime and seamless failure. They can run checks to find out how your PC is running and diagnose any problems. At Andromeda Solutions, they offer PC health checkup for free.”

-Three Best Rated, 2020

Thank you again to all our customers, and our amazing team for continuously providing exceptional IT services in the North East.

What are the Benefits of Outsourcing IT Services?

These days it’s hard to imagine running a business without relying on IT. Many of the key processes that are in place every day are based upon IT. And then there are the tools to consider: everything from desktops to laptops and mobile devices used by your team. Clearly, it is essential to make sure that all of this is managed smoothly and this is where outsourcing IT can help.

What is Outsourced IT?

So, what are Outsourced IT Services? It’s as simple as it sounds. Rather than having to maintain your IT infrastructure yourself, your business can engage a third party IT specialist to oversee any or all of your requirements. These services can include security management, network maintenance, and cloud migration, as well as the option to carry out specific projects as needed.

Outsourced IT support makes recovering from any technical issues as quick and painless as possible. IT outsourcing can be extremely affordable, too, with a wide range of packages and pay as you go options available. There is no barrier to location either, with IT providers able to help wherever your business is based, with firms such as Andromeda Solutions offering IT support North East of the UK.

What are the Benefits of Outsourcing Your IT Solutions?

It may come as a surprise, but you will actually save a considerable amount of money.

Rather than having to maintain an in-house IT department, you can outsource and save on salaries. If you decide to keep IT professionals on staff, outsourcing can help you at busy times, or for particular projects needing specialist expertise. This assistance can free your existing staff to pursue other tasks, boosting efficiency and productivity rates.

When you choose to outsource your IT, you benefit from a service which keeps you right up to date with the latest technological developments. You will be advised of any new software or devices that could help improve your processes or otherwise streamline your business.

Furthermore, by choosing to outsource your IT, you will enjoy access to IT support services around the clock, seven days a week. With many options available for getting in touch with your IT service provider, including telephone, live chat and email, you can be assured that expert help is never far away.

It’s clear, then, that choosing to outsource your IT is a compelling option for many businesses. It offers so many advantages, including reduced IT running costs, staying up to date with the latest technology, as well as access to the best support when needed.

How to avoid falling victim to online scams this Christmas

This year is likely to see more people than ever turn to the internet for their Christmas shopping. With lockdown restrictions affecting access to many high streets, it’s an ideal solution for gift buyers, but, unfortunately, it is also a major draw for cyber criminals.

Most Common types of online scams

The goal of the scammer is to steal from you: money, personal details, or even your identity. Scams today are incredibly sophisticated and can come in many forms. The most common of these is known as phishing, and involves sending out emails with the aim of tricking the victim by asking them to send money for a seemingly good cause, or to log into faked versions of bank, retail or social media websites.

Another common scam involves the use of dangerous software, referred to as “scareware”, that appears as a virus warning pop-up on the victim’s screen. Often luring victims with the promise of free anti-virus protection, clicking on these pop-ups instead releases dangerous malware onto the computer.

Similar tricks are found on social media sites, where clicking on a bad link can infect your PC with a virus. Telephone scammers pretending to be from a trusted service provider may also attempt to gain trust, in order to access victims’ computers and steal valuable information.

What can we do to avoid being scammed?

So, how to avoid falling victim to online scams this Christmas?

First of all, it’s vital to have the right cyber security measures in place. Check any links carefully for any spelling errors and be mindful of any website that appears to be poor quality – it may be a fake. IT support experts recommend that you avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots for Christmas shopping and use your more secure mobile data if you need to access the internet whilst you’re out and about.

Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and install any updates when needed. Creating strong passwords and changing them frequently is also an excellent defence against hackers. If you receive a telephone call from a business asking for your card details, never give your PIN or any passwords, even if you are sure that they really are calling from a trusted organisation.

Avoid the common types of online scams by staying on your guard and following these tips. Prioritise your IT security and make sure YOU have a happy Christmas, rather than giving a cyber criminal a good time.

For help with IT Security Threats, contact Andromeda Solutions today.