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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. 
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It used to be that if you wanted to record a video of your screen, you had to buy some commercial software.  Not anymore.  Microsoft Stream (included in many M365 subscriptions) recently released a feature to allow you to record your screen, we have found this useful for training or marketing activities.  You can optionally record yourself at the same time with a front-facing camera, if you want a view of the person speaking. 

Videos are stored on Stream, and privacy settings can be controlled for each video before it is uploaded.  Videos can be downloaded, and the format they are stored in is compatible with YouTube, so if you want to record something for later upload to YouTube you can do that as well. 

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Many things are changing in the world right now, and technology is no exception.  As usual, we are spending a lot of time on R&D, training, and investigating new technology.  Why do you care?  Because we see certain technologies being key enablers for our clients moving forward.  We’re already using most of these technologies (accelerated by WFH), and many clients are rethinking the way they want to work.  

If you don’t know about these key enablers, you should, because they are disruptive technologies.  We’ll give you a primer here, with the “why” for each.  

WhatWhy
Azure ADEnables security in a WFH, cloud-first workplace 
IntuneAutomatic software deployment, enforcement of company IT standards, mobile device security 
AutopilotAutomatic setup and configuration of new computers, anywhere 
SharePointFile sharing without a server, simultaneous document editing 
OneDriveEasy access to SharePoint and backup of local documents 
TeamsTeam chat, meetings, calls, and collaboration 
Microsoft 365 Business VoicePotentially disruptive extension to teams calling and traditional business phone systems 

Many of these features are things you’re already paying for, and others present minimal additional cost.   Read more...


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In case you missed it last month, we’ve licensed specialized software that runs in Azure that optionally enables additional security for our clients using Office 365.  The software works to automatically keep security tight, and alert on suspicious logins and emails.  To learn more, please visit: 

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SpireTech Managed Services clients are now able to purchase a security essentials add-on for Microsoft 365 offered by SpireTech.  This add-on, based on powershell and services running in Microsoft Azure, enables additional security features designed to continuously enhance your security on Microsoft 365. These features do not require additional Microsoft licensing to function. 

  • Real time location monitoring
     We monitor the login locations for every sign in, and alert on activities outside of expected regions. 

  • External forward monitoring
     We monitor automatic forwarding rules. A common tactic employed by hackers to exfiltrate data. 

  • Mailbox auditing
     Logs actions taken by users in their and other’s mailboxes. 

  • M365 License tracker
     Get notified every time a license is added or removed from your account, and receive a monthly report of all licenses, use, and assignments. 

  • Email Spoofing Protection
     Get a warning when an external user attempts to impersonate any internal user, including managers. 

  • Monthly Security Report
     A detailed report of several key system and security aspects of your M365 tenant. A necessity for regulated industries, and great peace of mind for everyone else. 
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For customers using Office 365’s built-in junk mail filter, there is an outlook plugin you can install to report spam that gets past Microsoft’s filters and move it to your junk mail folder.  This article may not apply to you if you are using an external spam filter, like SpireTech’s junk mail filter.

A lot of clients forward us spam, there isn’t much we can do about it – using this tool is the best way to improve the filtering.  If you have questions if an email is legitimate or require other advice, please send it to us – but otherwise, we’re recommending clients use the “Report Message” plugin to send spam to Microsoft if you aren’t using an external spam filtering service.

Please watch the video to learn how to install and use the tool.

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“Co-authoring” is available in Office365, which is the ability for multiple people to edit a file at the same time.  The file must be stored on Sharepoint or Onedrive for this feature to be available (not an internal file server).  To see it in action, along with sharing and invites, please watch this video:

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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...


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Several years ago, we hated OneDrive and had massive problems with efforts to implement it with our clients. We’re happy to say now that it works, and works well.  Microsoft has made great strides in improving the product and it is now a valid replacement for third party solutions like Box, Dropbox, FileCloud, and for many small businesses, even an on-premise file server. 

Recently, we’ve been working with clients to remove other collaboration solutions and get them onto SharePoint/OneDrive, and they’ve been happy with the results.  SharePoint allows you to setup shares for teams of people and integrates well with the windows 10 file explorer and OneDrive.  It even allows multi-user editing of documents at the same time with others, much like google docs has for years.  You can tell it to backup your personal documents folder and make it available on all your devices.  

“Syncing” of all the data is not required – you can have access to far more data that is available on your local hard drive – but you can tell it to keep certain files available locally if you want, for offline use and editing.   Read more...


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If you regularly use Skype for Business in your organization, you may now know that Microsoft has begun replacing Skype with Teams. Microsoft Teams is a new platform that acts as a hub within Office 365 and brings together chat, meetings, notes, and integrations with other Office 365 applications like SharePoint.

Depending on how your organization is handling this transition, you may already be using Microsoft Teams and be rerouted to it for your chats, meetings, and presentations. The Teams UI is certainly different from Skype! Here are some quick tips on starting a chat, voice call, or video call with another person, and presenting your desktop to others when in a meeting or call.

Start a chat with a user in Teams

  1. Go to the search bar at the top of the Teams application.
  2. Begin typing the name of the person you want to connect with.
  3. Select the user when they appear.
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