Blog Post Archive - Archives
Most clients have us update their systems on Tuesday nights – but we can’t update them if they are powered off. Please remember to leave your systems plugged in and powered up when you receive the update reminder – it helps us keep your systems updated and secure. Thank you. Read more...
We’ve recently had discussions with clients that are considering strategies for closing their offices and going entirely virtual. Some clients still need to have windows servers, and their employees are currently connecting to a mostly empty office and using a VPN to access their applications and data.
Are you paying for an empty office too? Did you know SpireTech has a datacenter? You may be able to relocate your server and firewall to our datacenter, and save a ton of money on office rent. Your connectivity will improve too, due to the much higher internet speeds available in our datacenter.
Server colocation with SpireTech starts at only a few hundred dollars per month – and includes fault-tolerant, very high speed internet, UPS and generator power. Options and prices are available at our Portland Server Colocation website. If you are interested, give us a call today to discuss and get a free quote. Read more...
As the summer comes to a close and kids get ready to return to school (virtually), we thought it’d be a good time to reflect on what we’ve all accomplished together over these last several months. We’ve been busy, driving key initiatives, and helping clients transform to the new normal. Here are a few things we’ve accomplished together:
- Shifted almost everyone to multi-factor authentication on email and VPN accounts
- Helped everyone transition to working virtually
- Implemented Teams and Sharepoint/Onedrive at many clients – this work is ongoing
- Mostly eradicated windows 7 from our networks
- Switched everyone to Sophos Anti-virus
- Improved our overall security posture
These efforts all take planning, discussion, and cooperation from our respective teams. We appreciate how everyone has come together during these times to get things done, both internally and externally. Thanks! Read more...
Last month, we wrote that this new service from Microsoft promised to be a disruptive technology. We’ve since learned that discounts will soon be announced on your first year of service. While we aren’t able to disclose those numbers or timing yet, let’s say the traditional telecom and PBX vendors should be quaking in their shoes, because the savings before the discounts are substantial.
The convenience of being able to use your bluetooth headset with your computer, the Teams app on your phone, or a compatible desktop phone to make/receive business calls from anywhere without being tethered to the office promises to be a game-changer and key enabler for WFH moving forward. Since it’s integrated with Microsoft Teams, you don’t need to change your mode of working from one communication device to another.
We’ve already had several clients express interest in moving to Microsoft 365 Business Voice, and projects are starting soon. If you want to learn more or get on the list, get in touch!
Many of us are still working remotely, and a lot of our communication and meetings are occurring using Microsoft Teams. Here are some things we’re doing to try and stay better connected during this time:
- Add a tab to your team for a document or information you’d like to stay front and center. This could be some key performance indicators (KPI’s), goals, core values, or some other information you’d like your team to be reminded of.
- “Social hour” meetings. We hold informal get-together’s at 4:30 once every week or two. This enables us to bond and talk about non-business issues and catch up on major developments in each other’s personal lives.
- Lights, camera, action! At SpireTech, we ask our staff during scheduled meetings to have their cameras on. We don’t require it for quick 1:1 teams calls, but for scheduled meetings it is preferred. This really helps bring people together during an otherwise fairly isolated time and is a nice replacement while we’re lacking the ability to meet in a conference room.
We’ve had a few clients ask us about remote worker policies. We view this as an HR issue with possible legal implications, so you’ll want to seek advice appropriate to your firm. We’ve all had to relax the standards around eligibility and physical environment during Covid, but the policies around attendance and security still apply. Here’s some food for thought if you have yet to implement a remote work policy.
Working from home is a privilege and may be allowed in some circumstances subject to the following guidelines. If your supervisor approves your working from home on a particular day instead of being present in the office, you must comply with the following guidelines:
- Eligibility Not all positions are eligible for working remotely. If your position involves frequent or important interaction with other employees or clients, it may not be possible or practical for you to successfully work remotely. If you are unable to work at your normally assigned position and time, working from home must be pre-approved by your direct supervisor.
It used to be that if you wanted to record a video of your screen, you had to buy some commercial software. Not anymore. Microsoft Stream (included in many M365 subscriptions) recently released a feature to allow you to record your screen, we have found this useful for training or marketing activities. You can optionally record yourself at the same time with a front-facing camera, if you want a view of the person speaking.
Videos are stored on Stream, and privacy settings can be controlled for each video before it is uploaded. Videos can be downloaded, and the format they are stored in is compatible with YouTube, so if you want to record something for later upload to YouTube you can do that as well.
M365 has several optional security features that are not turned on by default. The capabilities vary based on your subscription, but even the most basic subscriptions have features that we can enable.
For the quickest, easiest, and automatic enforcement of basic security best practices, subscribe to our M365 security essentials pack. This is software that runs in the cloud to lock down and keep your M365 tenant secure.
Clients on M365 business premium have additional features available, including conditional access, Azure identity protection, and various flavors of Advanced Threat Protection.
Contact us to secure your M365 tenant today.
If you have employees using personal devices to work from home, you should make sure those computers have business-grade anti-virus and patches are being kept up to date. Remember that we offer support for these secondary devices for only $30/mo, and the price includes Sophos Intercept X anti-virus software. Please let us know if you’d like us to secure some of these personal devices. Read more...
We’re announcing the departure of Brandon after nearly 10 years with SpireTech. We wish him the best in his new career in the IT department of a large Electrical contractor. Paul has been promoted to Tech Support Lead.
We’ve replaced Brandon with two experienced IT technicians, Ryan and Dylan. You’ll hear some new voices on the phone when you call in. Ryan has been an independent IT consultant for years, and previously supported IT at a non-profit organization. We recruited Dylan from a large copier dealer providing IT services where he provided IT support. Both are experienced technicians, and they’ll be up to speed quickly. Read more...