SpireTech Blog - Category: Managed Service Client updates
Service announcements for our MSP clients.
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.
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. Read more...
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. Read more...
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. Read more...
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.
Starting this month, SpireTech VIPsupport Managed Services clients will be receiving improved reports. These reports will go to the main contact(s) in your organization charged with overseeing your SpireTech relationship.
The reports are interactive with drill-down detail for lots of additional information, including:
- Ticket activity for the last 30 days
- Top requestors
- Count of issue types by category
- Patch statuses
- Workstation and server inventory
- Any devices at risk due to operating system age (eg, win 7, Server 2008)
- Office 365 / Microsoft 365 license counts (when purchased from SpireTech)
We hope our Managed IT Support clients enjoy the new reports, please let us know if you have any suggestions on how we can improve them. Read more...
With recent headlines, has your company considered what might happen if your employees needed to work from home suddenly? Does your company have policies and procedures in place for working remotely? SpireTech can help you get ready.
Things to consider might include:
- A revision to your employee manual adding work-from-home policies, including computer security, timekeeping, communication, and home office standards
- Setting up VPN, OneDrive for business, or SharePoint access to company data
- Configuring BYOD (Bring-your-own-device) and MDM (Mobile device management) policies using Microsoft 365 to secure company data
- Technical documentation and instructions for employees to setup work-from-home access
- Installing company software on home computers when appropriately licensed, such as Office 365, which allows up to five devices per user
- Implementing multi-factor authentication and secure password policies
- Setting up office chat using Microsoft Teams or Slack
- How employees will access business phone lines, forward calls, and check voicemail from outside the office
- Determine which software will work from outside the office, and which won’t
If you’d like some help getting your staff ready to work from home, get in touch to start the conversation. Read more...
We’ve been recommending for quite a while that our clients implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) on their email and Office365 accounts – really, anything that can have MFA enabled should. You may have heard of two-factor authentication (2FA) before, multi-factor can use two or more methods of authentication.
We’re asking our clients to use two factors to login now. This is because like it or not, employees will use weak passwords – or use the same password on multiple websites. If a hacker gains access to your email, they can trick your clients or employees into sending your hard-earned cash to them, or worse. Some regulated industries have penalties associated with data breaches. At a minimum, your reputation is at stake – do you want to have to tell your clients you’ve had a breach?
Microsoft has made two-factor authentication easy to use with the authenticator app for iOS and Android. Once connected to your account, all you have to do is push the “approve” button when prompted on your phone. Read more...
2019 was a year of continued growth at SpireTech. We’d like to thank all our clients for your continued support and your referrals – we don’t advertise much, so we appreciate every referral!
Review of 2019 Business Activity
We spent a lot of the year focused internally on improving our processes and operational maturity. Some of the areas we worked on include:
- A new billing system and customer portal
- Complete redesign of our website
- Re-organized and relaunched our blog
- Implemented brightgauge for customer reporting and performance metrics
- Improved our internal and customer documentation
- Improved our patch management system, for better and more reliable windows patching
- Moved from Slack to Teams
- Moved to Onedrive/Sharepoint for file storage
- Continued focus on improving security
We’ve also been attending conferences and quarterly IT business peer group events to keep up on current trends and best practices. We learn a lot at these events, and it is an excellent investment of our time. Read more...