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On Feb 25th, SpireTech turned 28 years of age.  We were busy, so we didn’t actually take time to celebrate – but the fact that we’ve been in business longer than some of our employees have been alive is a testament to our fortitude.  We’ve come a long way from how we started – which was installing and maintaining NetWare servers and CAD systems at Engineering firms.  Our last “birthday party” that included clients was when we turned 20 – and we remember that day fondly, as well as many of the clients who attended, and are still with us today.  We’ll plan another celebration when we turn 30 in 2023.  Hopefully you’ll be there. 

We’d like to take a moment to thank and express our appreciation to all of our long-term clients.  You help provide stable employment to our technicians and their families.  We are grateful for your loyalty, and will continue to earn your trust every day. 

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2020 was a year of fairly flat growth at SpireTech.  We imagine this has a lot to do with economic uncertainty related to Covid.  We’re hoping that the floodgates will open for new business as the vaccine becomes available, businesses re-open, and pent-up demand for work that has been put on hold will get things moving again.  We feel for all the small business owners that were forced to close or restrict activities during this time.   

Review of 2020 Business Activity  

We spent a lot of the year focused on improving security, moving to the cloud, and enabling work from home.  Some of the areas we worked on include: 

  • Rollout of new services supporting and installing M365 business voice 
  • New M365 Security Pack service offering designed to increase client tenant security 
  • Increased service desk staff to reduce response times 
  • Increased focus on training – each staff member is encouraged to spend 10% of their time each week on continuing education and skill development 
  • Implementing EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) business management processes 

We’ve also been continuing to attend conferences and quarterly IT business peer group events (virtually) to keep up on current trends and best practices.   Read more...

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We would like to take a moment to wish all our clients a big thank you for your continued support this year.  It’s been a challenging time for everyone –  Season’s Greetings and we wish you all Happy and prosperous 2021!  

Like many of you, we won’t be getting the team together for a nice dinner during the holiday – instead, we’ll be celebrating together virtually, and each employee will be getting an Uber Eats voucher for their food.  We will miss the usual adult beverages and side conversations that occur when we meet in person. 

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Our office will close mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve, and remain closed through Friday December 25th so that our team can enjoy the holiday with their families.  We will also be closed on Friday January 1st in observance of the New Year’s holiday. 

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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!

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We’re announcing the departure of Brandon after nearly 10 years with SpireTech.  We wish him the best in his new career in the IT department of a large Electrical contractor.  Paul has been promoted to Tech Support Lead. 

We’ve replaced Brandon with two experienced IT technicians, Ryan and Dylan.  You’ll hear some new voices on the phone when you call in.  Ryan has been an independent IT consultant for years, and previously supported IT at a non-profit organization.  We recruited Dylan from a large copier dealer providing IT services where he provided IT support.  Both are experienced technicians, and they’ll be up to speed quickly. 

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Like many of our clients, we’ll be closed Friday July 3rd in observance of Independence day, which falls on Saturday this year.  We hope everyone enjoys the three-day weekend. 

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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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The morning of Saturday the 25th of April, our technicians woke up to see an email in our boxes about a zero-day security breach of Sophos firewalls.  A novice might read it and think “another boring security email” – we read it and thought immediately “this isn’t good”.   

This was a successful attempt en-masse to steal VPN credentials.  You need to let the severity of that soak in for a moment – if a hacker has access to your VPN, they have access to your network – usually with lots of soft targets inside.  Many companies have added additional VPN users recently with the current WFH situation, so it was the ideal time for them to strike. 

All of us mistakenly tend to operate on the assumption that our firewall will keep us safe, and we don’t need to worry about strong passwords, updates, and security inside our networks – this should be a reminder to everyone this isn’t the case.   Read more...

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