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Microsoft has been working on this for a while, and now it’s generally available.  Basically, it’s your desktop in the cloud.  Instead of VPN’ing into work, or using remote desktop to control a computer at your office,  you can access these resources hosted in Microsoft’s datacenters.  This may simplify things for companies moving to a permanent virtual workplace, getting rid of offices, and still using legacy software or systems. 

We suspect most of our clients will need the Enterprise version, and adopting this technology will require re-architecting and rethinking some of our legacy ways of computing.  Of course, none of this is needed if you are already using cloud-based software or file storage such as Microsoft 365 and SharePoint – but if you have multi-user accounting systems that are on-premise, CAD systems using files off of a server, or other legacy systems – and want to move to a cloud model – this technology can simplify that transition.   

Pricing depends on performance requirements – it starts around $50/mo per user for a mid-level system plus implementation and management costs.   Read more...


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Our team has refined the process of migrating systems from on-premises Active directory servers to Azure AD quite well.  We’re liberating our clients from the bounds of the office, removing legacy file servers, and enabling employees to work from anywhere.  We can’t name clients here – but there are many more employees now enjoying the benefits of the modern workplace.

From an IT management perspective, there are a couple of key technologies enabling this transition.  We’ve written about them before: one is Azure AD (Active Directory), the other is Microsoft Endpoint Manager (formerly known as Intune).  Perhaps some explanation is order about why computer geeks (and any business owner that cares about security) thinks these things are cool.

When you purchase a new windows computer, your employees login to the initial setup screen using their company email address.  No IT person has to touch the computer – Microsoft Endpoint manager will install your required business software, setup email accounts, and link to your company SharePoint libraries with OneDrive.  Read more...


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Microsoft recently released a new feature for M365 that automatically converts word documents to PowerPoint presentations.  Why is this useful? 

Perhaps you have prepared a proposal for a client that you’re going to be reviewing in Teams.  Instead of going over a boring Word document, you can convert it to a PowerPoint!   This feature is only available in Word online. 

The AI uses what your document “says” to choose icons and images.  Headers and document formatting is used as a clue to create new slides for each header section.  Bullet lists often become stylized lists, sometimes with images. 

Try it out in Word online by going to File->Export->Export to PowerPoint (preview).  Choose a theme and watch what happens – it’s pretty handy!


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Apr 1, 2021

On the one-year anniversary of our cloud server migration solution, we’d like to re-post a youtube video of it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySvx4-6K8sQ


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Our Client, a local Non-Profit here in Portland, Oregon, wanted to consolidate their IT infrastructure and move to a fully remote work model. Though they already had Microsoft 365, they knew they were underutilizing it and paying for multiple redundant services.

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Microsoft Teams continues to get better.  Microsoft has introduced several new features: 

  • Together mode– puts everyone in the meeting in a virtual room together, instead of the usual “box for each person”.  You can customize the setting for the room. We thought this was sort of cheesy, but we might try this feature again during our virtual Covid-era Christmas party. 
  • AI-based noise suppression – reduces unwanted background noise during meetings. 
  • Polls during meetings – to use this feature, you’ll need to add the Forms app as a Tab to your meeting.  Learn how. 
  • Improved iOS functionality, including the ability to view shared content, speaker view, and Apple CarPlay support. 


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We have been rolling out Microsoft 365 Business voice to clients that are transitioning to a work-from-home, virtual workplace.  It has been a resounding success so far – and clients are loving the flexibility and savings it has offered them. 

Let us know if you are interested in transitioning your current phone system solution to M365 business voice! 


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In response to customer demand for increased site security, SpireTech is now offering Managed WordPress Hosting.  The package includes monthly security updates to your WordPress site, and several other features: 

  • Monthly security updates to the WordPress framework, and the plugins and themes contained within 
  • Backups of the WordPress website and all data contained within once every 24 hours 
  • One hour per month of technical support, which includes: 
    • Minor content updates of textual content 
    • Upload and inclusion of customer-provided images 
    • Installation of plugins and any minor required configuration 
    • Installation of code snippets (such as Google Analytics) 
    • Modification of certain PHP configuration, such as version, memory limit, and other configuration variables 
    • DNS record edits, if DNS is hosted at SpireTech 

Pricing is only $150 per month.  Please contact us today if you’re interested! 


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Over the last two months, we have seen several customers have their WordPress websites hacked.  Hackers installed a plugin or other backdoors and used the sites to send thousands of spam messages – or worse.  All sites were successfully recovered from backup and repaired by our IT Service desk, which is a billable event. 

Our investigation revealed that the hacks were due to sites not being kept up to date with security updates, or poor password management practices.  Read the rest of this month’s articles to discover ways to secure your WordPress website, and Managed WordPress hosting


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Microsoft announced changes coming to their Stream video product to better integrate it with the rest of the M365 ecosystem.  Currently, recordings are stored in Stream, which requires accessing a separate site to view recordings of teams meetings. The service will be revised starting in October to store Recordings in OneDrive or SharePoint.  Here are the guidelines and timing we’ve been provided: 

  • Early October (October 5, 2020) – You can enable the Teams Meeting policy to have meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint instead of Microsoft Stream (Classic).  Requires use of powershell to enable this policy. 
  • End of October (October 31, 2020) – Meeting recordings in OneDrive and SharePoint will have support for English captions via the Teams transcription feature. 
  • Early to mid-November (Rolling out between November 1 -15 , 2020) – All new Teams meeting recordings will be saved to OneDrive and SharePoint . 

Microsoft has issued guidance around the changes in behavior you will notice: 

  • Meeting storage: 
  • Non-Channel meetings will be stored in the OneDrive of the person who clicked the record button in a special folder labeled “Recordings” – that sits at the top of the recorder’s OneDrive. 
  Read more...
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