2019 was a year of continued growth at SpireTech. We’d like to thank all our clients for your
continued support and your referrals – we don’t advertise much, so we
appreciate every referral!
Review of 2019 Business Activity
We spent a lot of the year focused internally on improving
our processes and operational maturity.
Some of the areas we worked on include:
- A new billing system and customer portal
- Complete redesign of our website
- Re-organized and relaunched our blog
- Implemented brightgauge for customer reporting
and performance metrics
- Improved our internal and customer documentation
- Improved our patch management system, for better
and more reliable windows patching
- Moved from Slack to Teams
- Moved to Onedrive/Sharepoint for file storage
- Continued focus on improving security
We’ve also been attending conferences and quarterly IT business
peer group events to keep up on current trends and best practices. We learn a lot at these events, and it is an
excellent investment of our time. Read more...
Spire reaches another milestone – our 25th anniversary!
SpireTech turned 25 years old on Feb 25th, 2018. In the technology business, that’s a few lifetimes. While our services continue to evolve with new technologies many of our clients have been with us since day one! We want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our valued clients — we appreciate your business!
Our birthday is a good time to reflect on why we founded SpireTech, and how we chose our name. For a trip down memory lane read on.
Why SpireTech was founded
Spire’s founders, who worked in the IT department of a large Civil Engineering firm, noticed that there were no IT firms in PDX supporting the specialized needs of Architects and Engineers who required both networking and CAD expertise.
A lot of our work focused on end-user productivity – if you save all your employees 10 minutes a day, it can pay real dividends in driving profitability and efficiency. Read more...
As you may be aware, the software company Kaspersky has recently been a heated topic of discussion in the media and amongst the IT security community. Last month U.S. government agencies were told to use other security solutions. SpireTech, as are most IT providers, is continuing to offer and support Kaspersky products. However, we want to make sure all our customers are aware of additional security software alternatives we offer and support. Sophos is one that SpireTech has offered for the past several years, as many of our small to mid-size clients use Sophos as their primary Firewall solution. Sophos Endpoint Advanced Security with Intercept X offers a more advanced feature set typically found only in enterprise level security suites at affordable prices. As a Sophos partner, SpireTech can provide any of our clients with their full range of security solutions.
Contact your SpireTech representative today to learn more about the advantages Sophos products may give your company. Read more...
After the recent dumpster fire, our electricians have been hard at work to get everything back to normal. New permanent conduits, transfer switch, and wire have been installed, and repairs to one of our two generators are under way. While our generator is being repaired, a rental CAT generator has been installed and tested, an important step because the summer heat sometimes threatens brownouts. The more critical and difficult repairs have been completed, and we’re on to simpler items now.
The first and second floors of the building received smoke damage, which is being remediated. We are on the 3rd floor, and only received minimal smoke. The datacenter is closed off and recirculates air, and did not draw in any smoke from outside. They will be replacing carpet, ceiling tiles, and cleaning and painting the entire building to get rid of any lingering smells. As our office is remodeled we will be moving our office to the building directly above ours, and there will be no interruption to any of our datacenter services. Read more...
At SpireTech, we’ve noticed an increase in certain types of “Brute Force” attacks on Microsoft Windows operating systems, particularly those allowing Remote Desktop. A ‘brute force’ attack is a repeated automated attempt to gain unauthorized access by guessing at username/password combinations.
What does this mean to our clients? Here are a few key takeaways:
- Obscurity is not security. Using an uncommon port, redirected from a firewall, to a machine inside your network, is not going to prevent your system from being probed by bots and hackers. Instead, use an SSL VPN to add a second layer of security to your network.
- Use truly complex, random, and lengthy passwords. We see lots of passwords that people think are secure, but they really aren’t that great. Also, because your network password is often used for your company email password or Office 365, it opens up yet another vector people can use to try and guess your password.
Wrapping up 2016 and our plans moving into 2017
2016 was another year of double-digit growth at SpireTech! I’d like to thank our employees and clients for making it possible.
Here are some highlights of our major accomplishments in 2016:
- Our “VIP support” and Managed services business grew 48% last year, mostly by word of mouth and your referrals! We do very little advertising, so your referrals are much appreciated – thank you!
- We formalized business processes around our vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) services to manage growth in this area.
- We grew our cloud services, such as CTERA servers and Virtual private server hosting, 50% last year.
- Our Office 365 CSP services grew more than everything else in terms of percentages. (I’m still kicking myself for not buying MSFT stock last year). It’s still a low-margin business though, so we’re offering this in conjunction with other services.
- We added some key staff on the business side, as well as additional skilled technicians.
How do you sound to your customers and co-workers? First impressions are lasting impressions. That’s why every telephone conversation counts. The impression you make on your co-workers and customers is based on your tone of voice, energy and attitude.
Because so many workplace transactions are conducted solely by telephone, it is extremely important to have an awareness of how you sound during these conversations. This is just the first step in improving your telephone skills. When you know what to listen for, you can identify and correct verbal habits or mannerisms that may create barriers between you and your customers.
Here are 5 easy tips to improve your telephone voice:
- Smile! You will convey a pleasant and cooperative attitude. A smile communicates that you are approachable, professional, and that you genuinely care about your customers. If you don’t convey all three of these messages, why on Earth would anyone want to do business with you?
Given the critical importance of your business’s IT infrastructure and operations, we believe it is becoming increasingly important to effectively vet all prospective new IT service vendors. This is certainly applicable to Managed Service Providers (MSP). Given SpireTech’s twenty-three years of experience in providing IT Business Services, we wanted to address some of the important differences that can exist in the ways MSP’s operate.
- Helpdesk: Do they run their own helpdesk? Or do they outsource this key function? What are the helpdesk hours? If it is not local, where is it located? A local helpdesk is more likely to appreciate your business environment and the community in which you operate. How many people are staffed on the helpdesk? What is turnover like on their helpdesk? When you call, will you be speaking with a new person every time, or people that know your company?
- Insurance: Do they have errors and omissions insurance?
At Spire, we’re constantly on the lookout for new technology that gives us or our clients the competitive edge. While we don’t want to be bleeding edge, we do want to be ahead of the mainstream. We take vendor and technology selection very seriously, and only a few carefully chosen ones make the cut.
Why are we telling our clients this? We want you to know we aren’t sitting around waiting for technology to pass us by. Investing the time and money to attend conferences like HostingCon regularly is an important part of keeping up with the fast pace of change in our industry.
Many Managed Service providers (MSP’s) are attempting to get into the hosting business, and many Hosting/Cloud companies are trying to enter the managed services space. The lines are getting blurred as technology converges into more “as a service” and cloud. We’re already there, and have been for many years – and while our competitors are trying to figure it out, we’ve already got a solid foundation to build upon. Read more...
Wrapping up 2015 and our plans moving into 2016
2015 was a year of growth at SpireTech! I’d like to thank our employees and clients for
making it all possible.
As always, the tech industry is never boring and in constant change. As usual, we are always looking for best-in-class solutions for our clients, and staying on top of trends in the industry to make sure we keep our competitive edge, without being bleeding edge. Here are some highlights of our accomplishments in 2015:
- Our “VIP support” and Managed services business grew 27% last year, mostly by word of mouth and your referrals! We do very little advertising, so your referrals are much appreciated – keep them coming!
- We added the ability to manage and bill for your business’s Office365 services, along with your SpireTech services, on a single invoice. The response has been great, and we see this as a growth area for SpireTech and our clients.