SpireTech Blog - Category: Managed Services
Blog posts for SpireTech Managed Services Provider (MSP) and business IT support services in Portland, OR.
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!
M365 has several optional security features that are not turned on by default. The capabilities vary based on your subscription, but even the most basic subscriptions have features that we can enable.
For the quickest, easiest, and automatic enforcement of basic security best practices, subscribe to our M365 security essentials pack. This is software that runs in the cloud to lock down and keep your M365 tenant secure.
Clients on M365 business premium have additional features available, including conditional access, Azure identity protection, and various flavors of Advanced Threat Protection.
Contact us to secure your M365 tenant today.
If you have employees using personal devices to work from home, you should make sure those computers have business-grade anti-virus and patches are being kept up to date. Remember that we offer support for these secondary devices for only $30/mo, and the price includes Sophos Intercept X anti-virus software. Please let us know if you’d like us to secure some of these personal devices. Read more...
Just a quick note to let clients know that if you are still running Windows 7 or 2008 server, we cannot be responsible for the security of your network. The risk of ransomware is real, and we’ve heard many horror stories of companies that have been breached. Being able to apply security updates to your computers is one of the key defenses you have against this risk.
In accordance with our policies, we reserve the right to invoice for technical support of software that does not have vendor support. As a courtesy, we will extend free support for 15 minutes, after which we will request approval to bill for our time. We do not wish to impose hardship, but aged software and hardware does require more time to support than modern software, and we must balance this against the need for security. Read more...
With work from home, we’re noticing an increase in the number of machines being shut off when we are trying to install updates. Please remember to log off and leave your computers turned on and connected to power when we prompt you for updates.
Thank you for your cooperation. Read more...
As a reminder to what we advised last month, we’re putting a stop to SpireTech support for Win 7 machines on July 1st. Congratulations to those of you that have successfully eradicated these machines from your networks. However – in a review today, we see that approximately 10% of machines are still running Win 7. We’ve now got 30 days to get rid of the rest of them. While we don’t want to create unnecessary hardship for clients that may be stressed due to COVID-19, we still need clients to make an effort to replace the remaining systems.
Win 7 machines can be slow, insecure, and time-consuming to support. If your network gets breached due to outdated software, or you call us for support on a Win 7 system, we reserve the right to invoice for time beyond 15 minutes of support. 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...
used with permission from Norton by Symantec, by Steve Symanovich
You’re probably no stranger to those little pop-up windows. They tell you software updates are available for your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.
You might be tempted to click on that “Remind me later” button. Don’t do it. Or, at least don’t put off updating your software for long.
Software updates are important to your digital safety and cyber security. The sooner you update, the sooner you’ll feel confident your device is more secure — until the next update reminder.
Why are software updates so important? There are a lot of reasons. Here are 5 that show why it’s important to update software regularly.
1. Software updates do a lot of things
Software updates offer plenty of benefits. It’s all about revisions. These might include repairing security holes that have been discovered and fixing or removing computer bugs. Updates can add new features to your devices and remove outdated ones. Read more...
Did you know your organization could be subject to data breach notification laws and possible fines for data breaches and losing sensitive client data? The exact laws and regulations do vary by state and industry, among other factors. But the fact remains that poor cybersecurity can lead to grave consequences, either financial or for your reputation.
Common sense advice is that any organization should establish and maintain a plan for managing cybersecurity risks. This security plans should be informed by applicable laws and regulations.
Are you concerned about the state of your security and your ability to protect your organization’s sensitive information? Managed IT services can help. Managed IT services are the constant remote monitoring of your IT network and technology services, such as:
- Automatic software updates and security patches for your computers and servers
- Up-to-date anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spam solutions for your devices and email
- Secure, tested offsite backup and storage solutions for your data
- Monitoring of your network to detect security threats in your network traffic and devices
- Next-generation firewall management, updating, and reporting
Data breaches, cyberattacks, and the nasty consequences of these security threats have dominated the news recently. Read more...