Blog Post Archive - Archives
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...
Like many of our clients, we’ll be closed Friday July 3rd in observance of Independence day, which falls on Saturday this year. We hope everyone enjoys the three-day weekend.
Many things are changing in the world right now, and technology is no exception. As usual, we are spending a lot of time on R&D, training, and investigating new technology. Why do you care? Because we see certain technologies being key enablers for our clients moving forward. We’re already using most of these technologies (accelerated by WFH), and many clients are rethinking the way they want to work.
If you don’t know about these key enablers, you should, because they are disruptive technologies. We’ll give you a primer here, with the “why” for each.
|Azure AD||Enables security in a WFH, cloud-first workplace|
|Intune||Automatic software deployment, enforcement of company IT standards, mobile device security|
|Autopilot||Automatic setup and configuration of new computers, anywhere|
|SharePoint||File sharing without a server, simultaneous document editing|
|OneDrive||Easy access to SharePoint and backup of local documents|
|Teams||Team chat, meetings, calls, and collaboration|
|Microsoft 365 Business Voice||Potentially disruptive extension to teams calling and traditional business phone systems|
Many of these features are things you’re already paying for, and others present minimal additional cost. Read more...
Just a quick note to let clients know that if you are still running Windows 7 or 2008 server, we cannot be responsible for the security of your network. The risk of ransomware is real, and we’ve heard many horror stories of companies that have been breached. Being able to apply security updates to your computers is one of the key defenses you have against this risk.
In accordance with our policies, we reserve the right to invoice for technical support of software that does not have vendor support. As a courtesy, we will extend free support for 15 minutes, after which we will request approval to bill for our time. We do not wish to impose hardship, but aged software and hardware does require more time to support than modern software, and we must balance this against the need for security. Read more...