SpireTech Blog - Category: Cloud
Solutions for business collaboration and productivity
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...
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.