SpireTech Blog - Author: SpireTech
Clients calling or emailing the helpdesk will notice a new person – Talan Harrison has joined our team. This investment in additional staff maintains and improves our responsiveness to technical support requests from our clients.
Talan is a native of St Helens, Oregon. He loves to build and fly high performance racing drones and enjoys spending time with his kids and family. His name is pronounced Talon, like a bird of prey’s claw.
Part of the reason we’ve made the investment in expanding service desk capacity is to make sure everyone has time for continued career development and training – we expect each staff member to invest 10% of their time in technical competencies or certifications.
We’ve been watching Elon Musk’s new satellite-based internet service with interest. SpaceX opened it up to more people last night, and if you are working remotely and live in an area where high speed internet isn’t available to you, you might want to get signed up. People that sign up now are supposed to receive their equipment later this year. Speeds are up to 150mb/sec with latency in the 40ms range, which is better than old DSL lines and most cellular-based services.
It is not a mobile solution – it is not intended for use while traveling, unfortunately. Service is locked to the general area around the address you provide when signing up. The satellite dish automatically aims itself, so installation is relatively straightforward. Pre-orders are $99 (refundable), the equipment is $500, service is $99/mo, and you can sign up at https://www.starlink.com/
This is an option for people who can’t get fast service over fiber or cable – perhaps those still limited to old copper lines. Read more...
Legacy Edge (the first version of the Edge Browser) and Internet Explorer 11 will no longer be able to access any Microsoft online services on August 17th of this year. Microsoft has installed tools to redirect users to the new Edge Browser.
On March 9th 2021, Legacy Edge will stop receiving security updates. Some banks and websites are still requiring Internet explorer for compatibility with their sites.
Everyone should be using a modern browser, such as the new Edge, Chrome, or Firefox. If you access websites that claim to require Internet Explorer, those websites will need to be updated very soon for compatibility with modern browsers.
2020 was a year of fairly flat growth at SpireTech. We imagine this has a lot to do with economic uncertainty related to Covid. We’re hoping that the floodgates will open for new business as the vaccine becomes available, businesses re-open, and pent-up demand for work that has been put on hold will get things moving again. We feel for all the small business owners that were forced to close or restrict activities during this time.
Review of 2020 Business Activity
We spent a lot of the year focused on improving security, moving to the cloud, and enabling work from home. Some of the areas we worked on include:
- Rollout of new services supporting and installing M365 business voice
- New M365 Security Pack service offering designed to increase client tenant security
- Increased service desk staff to reduce response times
- Increased focus on training – each staff member is encouraged to spend 10% of their time each week on continuing education and skill development
- Implementing EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) business management processes
We’ve also been continuing to attend conferences and quarterly IT business peer group events (virtually) to keep up on current trends and best practices. Read more...
SpireTech does not use any SolarWinds software. However, the longer-term effects of this hack are likely not going to be known for a while – if at all – because SolarWinds was used by many government agencies and larger enterprise companies.
As of this point, we know of no customer-affecting data breaches as a result of this hack. However, with a hack of this magnitude, it is important to consider the larger supply chain – perhaps even your vendor’s vendors. For example, Microsoft makes extensive use of contractors. Microsoft has disclosed they were affected by the SolarWinds hack and there was unauthorized read-only access to their source code repository. No access to customer data has been reported or disclosed as of this writing. Read more...
When businesses seek help with their technology, many consider simply reaching out to a generic IT company or specialist. But there’s a wide range of available IT services that can provide a more tailored fit for your business, and managed IT services are one of them.
You may or may not have heard of the term “Managed Service Providers” or MSPs, which are professional companies who offer managed IT services. We’ve put together a definitive guide to managed IT services—including what MSPs do, why the managed services model was developed, and what the benefits to using an MSP are—to help you learn more.
History of Managed Service Providers
Prior to outsourced managed IT services, small and medium-sized businesses often faced expensive technology issues because they didn’t have the enterprise-level solutions large businesses had access to. For example, an Internet outage could cause an SMB to lose an entire day’s worth of productivity because they didn’t have a team to quickly restore their network.
Evolved from Emotet and Trickbot malware, Trickboot has the ability to modify your computer’s firmware – basically, the portion of code that lives in chips in your motherboard – to survive even after a complete wipe and reinstall of your hard drive.
The best defense against this malware is user education – typically, a user is tricked into opening a compromised Word document, usually received via an email attachment or link, and accepting macros. This causes the malware to execute and potentially download other harmful malware to your computer. Be sure that any attachments you receive are legitimate – even attachments from “trusted” senders could be compromised. If in doubt, forward to our helpdesk for advice on how to proceed. Read more...
We would like to take a moment to wish all our clients a big thank you for your continued support this year. It’s been a challenging time for everyone – Season’s Greetings and we wish you all Happy and prosperous 2021!
Like many of you, we won’t be getting the team together for a nice dinner during the holiday – instead, we’ll be celebrating together virtually, and each employee will be getting an Uber Eats voucher for their food. We will miss the usual adult beverages and side conversations that occur when we meet in person. Read more...
Our office will close mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve, and remain closed through Friday December 25th so that our team can enjoy the holiday with their families. We will also be closed on Friday January 1st in observance of the New Year’s holiday. Read more...
Microsoft is transitioning Internet Explorer 11 to End-of-life status. Internet Explorer became unsupported by Microsoft Teams on Nov 30th, 2020 and it will cease to be supported by Microsoft completely on August 11, 2021. Microsoft has installed tools to redirect users to the new Edge browser.
The new Microsoft Edge is powered by Chromium, the same browser engine that powers Google Chrome – and has vastly superior compatibility with websites when compared to the previous version of Microsoft Edge or Microsoft Internet Explorer.
We recommend anyone still using Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 stop doing so now, and switch to a supported browser – such as the new Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome. Read more...