SpireTech Blog - Category: Business
Articles related to business, management, marketing, employees and so on.
If you are a business owner, then you will likely have heard the phrase “IT budget” before. It’s not as simple as just having a chunk of money to spend on your IT needs – there are many variables at play when it comes to this important part of running a successful business. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to make the most of your IT budget and get the maximum return for your company!
The most important thing to remember is that a successful IT budget needs planning in order to be effective. If you are not sure how much money to put towards IT, talk to your IT provider for advice. They will be able to provide an estimate on what the overall costs of running a business’ technology would likely be over time – and can advise on where they think it is best spent in order to get the most benefit out of your technology. Read more...
This week, Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 11. While it offers some interesting new features, we recommend you wait a bit to let us sort out the bugs first. Our initial testing has revealed a few annoyances that you might want to be aware of before upgrading.
Right now, we can confirm the following:
- We will not be upgrading clients to Windows 11 via our normal system maintenance processes.
- Even though Microsoft may offer it to you via Windows Update, we do not recommend our clients upgrade at this time because it is too new.
- Windows 11 is an upgrade, not an update – and although Microsoft offers the software for free to qualified systems, we reserve the right to charge for work related to these upgrades.
- Microsoft will be staging the rollout, and if their data indicates there may be issues with your hardware, it will not be offered to you.
Some of our employees just returned from a training session in Denver, CO – the first time we’ve attended such an event in person since Early 2020. Most of the discussion revolved around security and the persistent threat of ransomware.
We heard first-hand experiences from others that have been the victim of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is devastating to any business, and is certainly top of mind for us. While our basic managed services package includes Sophos Intercept X, which does well at stopping ransomware, we need to do more. Behind the scenes, we’ve been taking actions to increase our security posture and better protect our clients. In the coming months, we’ll be introducing additional security services to help keep our clients safe and secure – while at the same time increasing our readiness in case of an incident.
IT security is becoming more of an issue for insurance coverage, renewals, and large clients of our clients. Read more...
On June 24th, Microsoft announced Windows 11, it’s evolution of the Microsoft Windows operating system. While hard to believe, Windows 10 was released almost 6 years ago, on July 29th, 2015. Microsoft hasn’t officially announced a release date, other than stating it will be “coming later this year”.
A new version of Windows?! What does this mean for me?
Windows 11 comes with a new design, new features, and new capabilities described on Microsoft’s website here.
But, if you’re happy with Windows 10, or your system does not meet the expected requirements to upgrade (which we’ll get into below), that’s fine for now: although subject to change, Microsoft has stated they will continue supporting Windows 10 until October 14th, 2025.
If you’d like to upgrade when Windows 11 becomes available, read on:
Alright, what are the requirements?
Microsoft has stated that this will be a free upgrade for all users running Windows 10, and the free upgrade will upgrade them to same edition of Windows 11. Read more...
Although SpireTech uses Kaseya software for systems management, neither SpireTech or our customers were victims of the latest headline news breach. Our response, analysis of the hack, explanation of why we were not affected, and plans moving forward are below.
Kaseya makes software for IT systems management. It is used by enterprises and managed service providers alike to streamline technician effectiveness, enabling a few technicians to manage thousands of systems at scale, including patch management, health monitoring, and providing helpdesk services. Kaseya, based in Miami Florida, is one of the largest vendors of this type of software. SpireTech has been using Kaseya software for over ten years.
We sent the following notification to VIPsupport client key contacts on Friday afternoon:
On Friday 7/2/21 at 12:48pm PT we were notified by our Remote Monitoring & Management vendor, Kaseya, of an active security incident involving their software being used to deploy ransomware, and advising us to shutdown our management server until security experts can determine the cause.
We have shutdown our server under the presumption this will protect us (and you), and are actively monitoring our Sophos Intercept-X software for indicators of compromise – and at this point, there are none.
Our office will be closed on Monday July 5th in observance of Independence day. Technical support will not be available on this day so that our employees can enjoy the holiday with their families.
Due to changes in policy with our vendors, we can no longer credit Microsoft 365 services for partial months or partial years. This is a change in the cost structure to us, and we are simply passing these costs on to our customers.
Reassignment of licenses are ok, but reductions in license count will not result in a credit for the current month. Clients on annual Microsoft billing may wish to consider switching to monthly because of these changes at your next renewal.
Along with many of our clients, we’re switching the entire office over to Microsoft 365 Business Voice (Teams voice). We’ve been using it on the Professional Services side of the house for nearly a year, and now the entire team will be on it. Our legacy PRI service recently reached the end of its contract, and we will be saving several hundred dollars a month as a result. The move was accelerated by some problems with our incoming line provided by Lumen (formerly Centurylink) last week. Clients calling in may have noticed some disconnects or issues reaching us during that time.
The change will take effect Wed June 9th. After this happens, you may notice some differences when calling in for support. The menu options have changed, and the queue will no longer say your place in line when holding. These settings are subject to change as we adjust to the new system and learn what works best. Read more...
Ransomware is a plague on businesses and insurers. Cyber insurance can provide protection in the event your business falls victim. However – we’ve heard insurance rates are going up across the board due to ransomware, and hefty payouts that insurers have been forced to make. Fortunately, none of our clients have fallen victim, but we’ve heard some horror stories. Not only will the crooks encrypt your files, but they’ll also threaten to publish your sensitive data if you don’t pay – damaging your business reputation.
You may have heard about the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline on Friday. They brought in specialists to examine the evidence to determine what happened, restore normal operations, and secure systems. Often this means replacing entire systems and networks. We’ve heard the IT people and the company management will suffer PTSD-like symptoms due to the stress involved. Of course this is all very expensive – not to mention hefty ransom payments that may be involved. Read more...