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We’re starting to hear from clients and insurance brokers that cyber insurance costs are on the rise, in some cases up to 200%.  Of course, this comes with insurers cracking down on IT controls – making sure their insureds are operating as securely as possible. 

Clients can expect increased scrutiny over their application or renewal.  The length of the questionnaires vary greatly, but at a minimum, insurers will ask about and want to see the following things in place: 

  • Multi-factor authentication across all systems and accounts including email, remote access, vendor access, VPN’s, SAAS/cloud applications, etc. 
  • An enterprise-grade endpoint protection solution (antivirus and malware). 
  • Employee security awareness training, including phishing training. 
  • Email spam and phish filtering software. 
  • No end-of-life software. 
  • Closed remote access ports, including remote desktop protocol (RDP). 
  • Security patches applied in a timely manner. 
  • Offsite, tested, and monitored backups that are not accessible from your network. 

Clients that implement all security best practices and tools will likely face lower Cyber insurance costs, easier renewals, and enjoy the benefits of increased security.   Read more...

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Moving forward in 2022 SpireTech VIPSupport managed services package renewals will have Huntress included in the base package.

Huntress is specialized Managed Detection and response software backed by humans that looks for persistent footholds, backdoors, and other sorts of malware that anti-virus technology misses.  When we tested huntress on over 1000 computers, we found that 2% of those systems contained things that conventional anti-virus software missed, the most common problem was banking trojans – lying in wait to steal bank passwords. 

Each threat detected gets analyzed by their ThreatOps team, a remediation plan is developed, and put into action – usually without needing any disruption of the person working.  If ransomware is detected, Huntress will isolate the system from the internet and network to prevent spread. 

Huntress puts ransomware canaries on each protected system.  These canaries are files that if modified, indicate possible ransomware activity – and Huntress will investigate.   Read more...

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Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) represent the majority of the market, but they often face unique challenges in the deployment of IT services. 

Finding practical solutions for problems ranging from information security and data privacy to remote support and the development of integration technologies can be problematic due to a constrained market share and a lower pool of resources. This limitation means that investments into IT infrastructure are vital for SMBs. 

As businesses increasingly rely on cloud-based and SaaS services, system complexity can increase dramatically, creating inefficiencies and increased operational costs. Lapses in operational performance can result from management bottlenecks, redundant processes, and improperly integrated systems. The increased efficiencies offered by distributed systems don’t solve every problem, and SMBs need expert management of systems to compete effectively.

What Is IT Infrastructure?

IT infrastructure involves the use of various IT tools, components, and strategies to ensure the delivery of services within an organization.  Read more...

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On March 1, SpireTech switched to a new credit card processor.  We wrote about this last month, so here’s a friendly reminder – If you are paying your bill with a CC and haven’t yet logged into our portal and updated your credit card number, please do so before your next due date. We also introduced the ability to take payments via ACH.  For more information please reference last month’s article or call our office.  Please note that our staff is prohibited from taking payment information over the phone or email – you need to enter your payment details into our portal for PCI compliance reasons.  Thank you for your cooperation.

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After March 1 2022, clients paying by credit card will need to re-enter their credit card information into the SpireTech billing portal. This is because we are changing merchant account processors to Stripe to save money on processing fees. At SpireTech last year, credit card fees exceeded the cost of another full-time employee. We appreciate your cooperation.

When we implement the change, we will send a separate email to your billing contact reminding them to log in to our customer portal and enter your new payment information. The only way we will be taking new credit card information is through the customer portal – phone and other methods are prohibited due to PCI compliance issues. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

We are also adding support for payment via ACH where we can automatically withdraw from your banking account. This has been a often-requested feature, and would serve to further reduce costs and keep our prices affordable.  Read more...

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As previously advised in this newsletter, SpireTech has been tracking Microsoft’s upcoming price increases.  There are two types of increases, and effective dates for these increases.

The first price increase is effective March 1, 2022 affects six popular M365 packages listed below:

PackageOld PriceNew Monthly Term PriceNew Annual Term Price (Billed annually x 12)
Microsoft 365 Business Basic$5$7.20$6
Microsoft 365 Business Premium$20$26.40$22
Office 365 E1$8$12$10
Office 365 E3$20$27.60$23
Office 365 E5$35$45.60$38
Microsoft 365 E3$32$43.20$36

The second price increase takes effect July 1, 2022 and is a 20% increase to all packages with a monthly term and payment.  In part, this increase is due to a change in contract term enforcement behavior with Microsoft.  Until now, it was widely practiced in the industry to use the annual discount price (billed monthly) and allow customers to change/cancel/downgrade their subscriptions without penalty.   Read more...

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The covid pandemic has undoubtedly sent ripple effects through every industry over the last 2 years causing various layers of issues forcing businesses to immediately shift, adapt, and overcome. It’s refreshing to hear from many of our clients and their teams that they’ve been able to successfully navigate these challenging times, in some cases for the better. We do understand there are many businesses still struggling and layers of political and social issues still brewing nationwide, but we continue to hope for the best outcomes for those impacted. Fortunately, at SpireTech we had a very positive year. As you may or may not recall in our last update, we implemented the EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) business management processes in late 2020 and worked in 2021 to refine our goal setting and accomplishments. Our meeting cadence has been on track, and our ability to identify core issues and strategize, implement solutions, and move forward has been evolving and becoming very fluid.  Read more...

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Thank you for continuing to trust SpireTech as your IT partner. From everyone here at SpireTech, we want to wish you and yours a healthy, positive, safe, and SECURE 2022! As we reflect each year to learn, understand, and strive to be better, we are excited to continue our journey with you in 2022. Our focus will be on continued maturity and enhancements in security options for our clients, continuing to mitigate risk where possible. As we always say, the only constant in business IT is change, and we are always working to stay on top of industry standards and best practices to provide the best solutions to the clients we’ve partnered with.

We’ve been working with many clients on their cyber insurance liability renewals and have been seeing a trend in Q3 and Q4 of 2021 where insurance companies are instituting stronger questions, audits, and in some cases dropping clients for not complying with the requirements they’re now imposing.  Read more...

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Five Essential Steps You Should Be Following to Protect Your Business

Cybersecurity threats are an ongoing issue for various industries from medical practices to architecture and engineering firms. Unfortunately, the consequences can often be disastrous, leading to breaches in confidential data or sensitive client information.

These cyber security threats are alarming and the data is clear:

A new study found that 22.8 million people were affected by healthcare security breaches in the first half of 2021.

During the first half of 2021 the number of breaches reported to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights rose by 27%.

Cybercrime is slated to cause as much as $6 trillion in damages this year around the globe.

So how can you protect your business from these cybersecurity threats? By providing adequate training for all employees and ironclad security measures to protect all clients.

Foundational Security Training for Every Employee

The greatest security threat to any business is actually a minor mistake made by an employee that could result in a breach or attack.  Read more...

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From all of the employees at SpireTech – we wish you and yours happy holidays and a prosperous new year! 

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