SpireTech Blog - Category: Managed Service Client updates
Service announcements for our MSP clients.
By now we hope that our clients understand that IT security is never “done”. It is a constantly evolving and maturing process involving additional tools, training, and knowledge. This image shows the journey many clients are on with us to improve and mature the security posture of your organizations. Some of you fall in different places on this journey – do you know where your company sits?
As mentioned in the previous article, we are now including Huntress threat hunting in our VIPSupport managed services packages. We are referring to the current iteration of our managed services plan as “version 3.5” or “v3.5”. We encourage all clients to be on at least v3.5 or better for security purposes.
This is an evolutionary journey, and some clients are hesitant to increase expense to further limit risk by implementing additional security services. Limiting the “included” security features, while we feel it is important, helps keep the base price affordable for cost-sensitive clients. Read more...
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.
Most clients have us update their systems on Tuesday nights – but we can’t update them if they are powered off. Please remember to leave your systems plugged in and powered up when you receive the update reminder – it helps us keep your systems updated and secure. Thank you.
As the summer comes to a close and kids get ready to return to school (virtually), we thought it’d be a good time to reflect on what we’ve all accomplished together over these last several months. We’ve been busy, driving key initiatives, and helping clients transform to the new normal. Here are a few things we’ve accomplished together:
- Shifted almost everyone to multi-factor authentication on email and VPN accounts
- Helped everyone transition to working virtually
- Implemented Teams and Sharepoint/Onedrive at many clients – this work is ongoing
- Mostly eradicated windows 7 from our networks
- Switched everyone to Sophos Anti-virus
- Improved our overall security posture
These efforts all take planning, discussion, and cooperation from our respective teams. We appreciate how everyone has come together during these times to get things done, both internally and externally. Thanks!
With the recent news around Zoom and security updates, we have added it to the list of third-party software we automatically update. While we’ve supported Teams for some time, we’ve formally added it to the list of solutions supported by our helpdesk, and is available for implementation projects.
If you have not yet adopted Teams, we can say it’s been a lifesaver for us during WFH – and you might wish to consider it. Teams integrates with SharePoint, Exchange, and security groups – so it’s wise to engage with us before rolling it out to make sure some irreversible mistakes aren’t made if you DIY.
The current list of supported software and our policies for Managed Services support is maintained here: In Scope Support List
We are going to remove Windows 7 systems from SpireTech support effective July 1, 2020. Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020. We have been giving everyone some extra time to get those last stragglers out of their networks, but that time is coming to an end in two months.
Each client primary contact gets a monthly report that includes a system inventory. If you are still seeing Windows 7 systems in your network, please work to remove them. If you are sitting at a computer still running Windows 7, please request a replacement or upgrade.
SpireTech has aggressive discounts available from Dell for new systems, please let us know if you require assistance obtaining new hardware or migrating files from old systems. We are minimizing site calls during the Covid-19 crisis, but we can arrange delivery to your location and perform work remotely. SpireTech has a flat-fee of $300 per system for labor associated with migrating Windows 7 machines and new computer setups.
We do not wish to create additional financial hardship for clients. Read more...
Some of the security concerns we’ve been warning clients about recently have turned out to be true. Read on to hear about recent incidents, what we’ve already done, and are planning to do to further shore things up.
Each Managed Services client primary contact will be receiving (or will have already received by the time you read this) an email from us regarding the need to increase security and authorizing the setup of multi-factor authentication on all your corporate accounts where applicable. While this may be inconvenient, we request your cooperation to ensure the security of your data, prevent ransomware, data theft, and redirection of funds to hackers.
Apr 1, 2020
Portland, OR. – for immediate release
In response to an uptick in demand for customers to work from home, SpireTech has developed some new technology to rapidly move legacy servers to the cloud. For a quick demonstration video, please see our YouTube Channel:
PS – This is meant to add a laugh to everyone’s day – even April fool’s day is not quite the same this year! Be safe, and let us know if we can be helpful to you.
We remain very concerned about recent security issues related to work from home, including:
- Proper anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on home systems
- Patch management and updates of home systems
- VPN’s allowing additional paths for intruders or malware into networks
- Weak passwords
We encourage our clients to take steps to mitigate these risks including:
- Set up Multi-factor authentication on company accounts
- Request SpireTech manage employee-owned computers during this crisis for only $30/mo
- Install proper anti-virus on unmanaged endpoints (included above)
- Upgrade to Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which includes intelligent security, bring-your-own device management solutions such as Microsoft Intune and EMS, and can mitigate risks related to access to corporate data outside the firewall.
Please schedule an advisory call with your Technical Client Manager if you’d like advice on how to improve security in your current WFH situation.
IT workers around the world have been busy the last couple of weeks. At SpireTech, the service desk has been slammed with issues relating to everybody getting setup to work from home (WFH) and we apologize for any delays or long hold times. The sorts of issues our clients have been facing are:
- Users learning how to properly use new videoconferencing tools
- Issues with passwords
- Learning how to properly use VPN’s or Remote Desktop
- A remote control session will always be slower than if you are sitting in front of the computer
- Avoid videos or conferencing software on your remote computer, run those locally.
There are things you can do to make it easier for our team to keep on top of your requests:
- When calling the service desk, please let us know if you’ve previously emailed us regarding your issue so we do not create a duplicate ticket.
- If you are emailing us and working from home, please include your mobile number in your email.
- If you are emailing us about a prior issue, please locate the earlier correspondence and reply to it, instead of starting a new email.