SpireTech Blog - Author: SpireTech
Apr 1, 2020
Portland, OR. – for immediate release
In response to an uptick in demand for customers to work from home, SpireTech has developed some new technology to rapidly move legacy servers to the cloud. For a quick demonstration video, please see our YouTube Channel:
PS – This is meant to add a laugh to everyone’s day – even April fool’s day is not quite the same this year! Be safe, and let us know if we can be helpful to you. Read more...
We’re upgrading the bandwidth in our Portland colocation facility to have four times the current bandwidth. Part of the upgrade has already been completed, and the rest will be completed in May. We’ll be increasing the included data transfer and port speeds for all hosting and colocation customers without additional cost.
These Internet feeds are datacenter-grade fiber connections, connected into redundant, carrier-grade, Cisco routers, running a routing protocol called BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) that, among many things, efficiently routes traffic through the most direct available Internet feed.
We’re pleased to be able to upgrade our datacenter and pass the improvements along to our customers, and appreciate the continued patronage of our colocation, VPS, and web hosting customers supporting our locally-owned Portland business. Read more...
We remain very concerned about recent security issues related to work from home, including:
- Proper anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on home systems
- Patch management and updates of home systems
- VPN’s allowing additional paths for intruders or malware into networks
- Weak passwords
We encourage our clients to take steps to mitigate these risks including:
- Set up Multi-factor authentication on company accounts
- Request SpireTech manage employee-owned computers during this crisis for only $30/mo
- Install proper anti-virus on unmanaged endpoints (included above)
- Upgrade to Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which includes intelligent security, bring-your-own device management solutions such as Microsoft Intune and EMS, and can mitigate risks related to access to corporate data outside the firewall.
Please schedule an advisory call with your Technical Client Manager if you’d like advice on how to improve security in your current WFH situation. Read more...
IT workers around the world have been busy the last couple of weeks. At SpireTech, the service desk has been slammed with issues relating to everybody getting setup to work from home (WFH) and we apologize for any delays or long hold times. The sorts of issues our clients have been facing are:
- Users learning how to properly use new videoconferencing tools
- Issues with passwords
- Learning how to properly use VPN’s or Remote Desktop
- A remote control session will always be slower than if you are sitting in front of the computer
- Avoid videos or conferencing software on your remote computer, run those locally.
There are things you can do to make it easier for our team to keep on top of your requests:
- When calling the service desk, please let us know if you’ve previously emailed us regarding your issue so we do not create a duplicate ticket.
- If you are emailing us and working from home, please include your mobile number in your email.
- If you are emailing us about a prior issue, please locate the earlier correspondence and reply to it, instead of starting a new email.
Starting this month, SpireTech VIPsupport Managed Services clients will be receiving improved reports. These reports will go to the main contact(s) in your organization charged with overseeing your SpireTech relationship.
The reports are interactive with drill-down detail for lots of additional information, including:
- Ticket activity for the last 30 days
- Top requestors
- Count of issue types by category
- Patch statuses
- Workstation and server inventory
- Any devices at risk due to operating system age (eg, win 7, Server 2008)
- Office 365 / Microsoft 365 license counts (when purchased from SpireTech)
We hope our Managed IT Support clients enjoy the new reports, please let us know if you have any suggestions on how we can improve them. Read more...
With recent headlines, has your company considered what might happen if your employees needed to work from home suddenly? Does your company have policies and procedures in place for working remotely? SpireTech can help you get ready.
Things to consider might include:
- A revision to your employee manual adding work-from-home policies, including computer security, timekeeping, communication, and home office standards
- Setting up VPN, OneDrive for business, or SharePoint access to company data
- Configuring BYOD (Bring-your-own-device) and MDM (Mobile device management) policies using Microsoft 365 to secure company data
- Technical documentation and instructions for employees to setup work-from-home access
- Installing company software on home computers when appropriately licensed, such as Office 365, which allows up to five devices per user
- Implementing multi-factor authentication and secure password policies
- Setting up office chat using Microsoft Teams or Slack
- How employees will access business phone lines, forward calls, and check voicemail from outside the office
- Determine which software will work from outside the office, and which won’t
If you’d like some help getting your staff ready to work from home, get in touch to start the conversation. Read more...
For customers using Office 365’s built-in junk mail filter, there is an outlook plugin you can install to report spam that gets past Microsoft’s filters and move it to your junk mail folder. This article may not apply to you if you are using an external spam filter, like SpireTech’s junk mail filter.
A lot of clients forward us spam, there isn’t much we can do about it – using this tool is the best way to improve the filtering. If you have questions if an email is legitimate or require other advice, please send it to us – but otherwise, we’re recommending clients use the “Report Message” plugin to send spam to Microsoft if you aren’t using an external spam filtering service.
Please watch the video to learn how to install and use the tool.Read more...
Let’s encrypt, an industry nonprofit that issues free SSL certificates, had to revoke 3M certificates Wednesday March 4, 2020 due to a bug. SSL is the technology that gives websites the https “padlock” and is often used to secure other things like mail servers.
For more information, you can visit the Sophos security blog. We’ve already checked all SpireTech web hosting and Managed Services clients to see if anyone is affected, and installed new certificates where needed.
If you visit an https website and receive a certificate error in the next several days, it’s possible the site is affected. We don’t recommend proceeding to the site, instead consider notifying the site owner. Bad actors are already taking advantage of this and launching phishing emails and banners, so use caution. If you find that a website we host or server we manage for you is affected, please let us know and we’ll fix it right away. Read more...
“Co-authoring” is available in Office365, which is the ability for multiple people to edit a file at the same time. The file must be stored on Sharepoint or Onedrive for this feature to be available (not an internal file server). To see it in action, along with sharing and invites, please watch this video:Read more...
We’ve been recommending for quite a while that our clients implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) on their email and Office365 accounts – really, anything that can have MFA enabled should. You may have heard of two-factor authentication (2FA) before, multi-factor can use two or more methods of authentication.
We’re asking our clients to use two factors to login now. This is because like it or not, employees will use weak passwords – or use the same password on multiple websites. If a hacker gains access to your email, they can trick your clients or employees into sending your hard-earned cash to them, or worse. Some regulated industries have penalties associated with data breaches. At a minimum, your reputation is at stake – do you want to have to tell your clients you’ve had a breach?
Microsoft has made two-factor authentication easy to use with the authenticator app for iOS and Android. Once connected to your account, all you have to do is push the “approve” button when prompted on your phone. Read more...