Blog Post Archive - Archives
With the recent news around Zoom and security updates, we have added it to the list of third-party software we automatically update. While we’ve supported Teams for some time, we’ve formally added it to the list of solutions supported by our helpdesk, and is available for implementation projects.
If you have not yet adopted Teams, we can say it’s been a lifesaver for us during WFH – and you might wish to consider it. Teams integrates with SharePoint, Exchange, and security groups – so it’s wise to engage with us before rolling it out to make sure some irreversible mistakes aren’t made if you DIY.
We are going to remove Windows 7 systems from SpireTech support effective July 1, 2020. Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020. We have been giving everyone some extra time to get those last stragglers out of their networks, but that time is coming to an end in two months.
Each client primary contact gets a monthly report that includes a system inventory. If you are still seeing Windows 7 systems in your network, please work to remove them. If you are sitting at a computer still running Windows 7, please request a replacement or upgrade.
SpireTech has aggressive discounts available from Dell for new systems, please let us know if you require assistance obtaining new hardware or migrating files from old systems. We are minimizing site calls during the Covid-19 crisis, but we can arrange delivery to your location and perform work remotely. SpireTech has a flat-fee of $300 per system for labor associated with migrating Windows 7 machines and new computer setups.
We do not wish to create additional financial hardship for clients. Read more...
The morning of Saturday the 25th of April, our technicians woke up to see an email in our boxes about a zero-day security breach of Sophos firewalls. A novice might read it and think “another boring security email” – we read it and thought immediately “this isn’t good”.
This was a successful attempt en-masse to steal VPN credentials. You need to let the severity of that soak in for a moment – if a hacker has access to your VPN, they have access to your network – usually with lots of soft targets inside. Many companies have added additional VPN users recently with the current WFH situation, so it was the ideal time for them to strike.
All of us mistakenly tend to operate on the assumption that our firewall will keep us safe, and we don’t need to worry about strong passwords, updates, and security inside our networks – this should be a reminder to everyone this isn’t the case. Read more...
Some of the security concerns we’ve been warning clients about recently have turned out to be true. Read on to hear about recent incidents, what we’ve already done, and are planning to do to further shore things up.
Each Managed Services client primary contact will be receiving (or will have already received by the time you read this) an email from us regarding the need to increase security and authorizing the setup of multi-factor authentication on all your corporate accounts where applicable. While this may be inconvenient, we request your cooperation to ensure the security of your data, prevent ransomware, data theft, and redirection of funds to hackers. Read more...
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...