SpireTech Blog - Category: Business
Articles related to business, management, marketing, employees and so on.
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...
On Feb 25th, SpireTech turned 28 years of age. We were busy, so we didn’t actually take time to celebrate – but the fact that we’ve been in business longer than some of our employees have been alive is a testament to our fortitude. We’ve come a long way from how we started – which was installing and maintaining NetWare servers and CAD systems at Engineering firms. Our last “birthday party” that included clients was when we turned 20 – and we remember that day fondly, as well as many of the clients who attended, and are still with us today. We’ll plan another celebration when we turn 30 in 2023. Hopefully you’ll be there.
We’d like to take a moment to thank and express our appreciation to all of our long-term clients. You help provide stable employment to our technicians and their families. We are grateful for your loyalty, and will continue to earn your trust every day.
The “Valentines day weekend” Ice storm wreaked havoc on tens of thousands of people and businesses. We monitor client networks throughout the metro area, and many clients were without power and/or internet for periods of time.
Fortunately, our office and datacenter has redundant generators and redundant internet, so we were able to continue operations with minimal impact – even though most of our employees are working from home during Covid. Two employees were either without power and/or internet, but fortunately our “bench” is deep enough that impacts to customer service were negligible while helping clients get back online.
2020 was a year of fairly flat growth at SpireTech. We imagine this has a lot to do with economic uncertainty related to Covid. We’re hoping that the floodgates will open for new business as the vaccine becomes available, businesses re-open, and pent-up demand for work that has been put on hold will get things moving again. We feel for all the small business owners that were forced to close or restrict activities during this time.
Review of 2020 Business Activity
We spent a lot of the year focused on improving security, moving to the cloud, and enabling work from home. Some of the areas we worked on include:
- Rollout of new services supporting and installing M365 business voice
- New M365 Security Pack service offering designed to increase client tenant security
- Increased service desk staff to reduce response times
- Increased focus on training – each staff member is encouraged to spend 10% of their time each week on continuing education and skill development
- Implementing EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) business management processes
We’ve also been continuing to attend conferences and quarterly IT business peer group events (virtually) to keep up on current trends and best practices. Read more...