SpireTech Blog - Category: Managed Services
Blog posts for SpireTech Managed Services Provider (MSP) and business IT support services in Portland, OR.
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 If your network gets breached due to outdated software, or you call us for support on a Win 7 system, we reserve the right to invoice for time beyond 15 minutes of support.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...
Ask a business person where their office is located and the likely answer is “everywhere.” They’re working from home, staying in the loop while traveling, and catching up on email between sales calls. For productivity’s sake, many companies give their employees – and perhaps clients or service providers – remote access to their networks. Are you taking steps to ensure those outside entryways into your systems are sensibly defended?
If your business wants to start with security, it’s important to secure remote access to your network. Here are some examples based on FTC investigations, law enforcement actions, and questions that businesses have asked us.
Ensure Endpoint Security.
Your network is only as secure as the least safe device that connects to it – and there’s no guarantee that an employee’s home computer, a client’s laptop, or a service provider’s smartphone meets your standards for security. Before allowing them to access your network remotely, set security ground rules, communicate them clearly, and verify that the employee, client, or service provider is in compliance. Read more...
Managed IT services, or outsourced remote network management, can help your business in many ways. It’s a cost effective way of having your IT infrastructure monitored and maintained by experts instead of hiring an IT director. Or, it can free up your IT director and IT staff to work on more important projects than daily maintenance. But other than productivity and peace of mind, what are the security benefits of managed IT services?
Here are three security advantages you get with remote network management.
#1 You Stay Updated
Basic managed IT services include running software updates, patches, and upgrades for your servers and/or desktops. Any machines covered by your contract will automatically have updates run on schedule, so you never have to worry about the time it takes to check your update status and apply patches. Instead, updating happens automatically – heading off any cybersecurity attacks that target vulnerabilities between the times when a patch is released and then actually applied. Read more...
used with permission from FTC.gov., by Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection
Who’s coming in and what’s going out? Businesses that want to stick with security build commonsense monitoring into their brick-and-mortar operations. Whether it’s a key card reader at the door or a burglar alarm activated at night, careful companies keep an eye on entrances and exits.
Your computer systems deserve the same kind of watchful attention, which is why Start with Security advises you to segment your network and monitor who’s trying to get in and out. Based on FTC cases, closed investigations, and questions posed by businesses, here are examples illustrating the benefits of segmenting your network and monitoring the size and frequency of data transfers.
Segment Your Network.
Network technology gives companies the option to link every computer, laptop, smartphone, and other device together on the same network. Of course, there may be legitimate business reasons why you need some of your data transfers to be seamless. Read more...