Posted by on

When starting a small business, there are a lot of things to think about. IT is often one of the last things on a small business owner’s mind, but it is one of the most important aspects of any business, especially in today’s digital landscape. 

At SpireTech, we believe that every small business should have a comprehensive IT checklist to ensure that their business is running smoothly and efficiently. 

We’ve put together a list of the 10 best SMB IT practices to help you get started. These will be areas of IT development, maintenance, and support that you should focus on in order to create a strong IT foundation for your business. 

Hardware 

Today’s workstations have improved capabilities in terms of processing, graphics, and storage. Simultaneously, they’ve gotten significantly smaller, portable, stylish, and inexpensive over the years. 

Considering all these benefits, it should come as little surprise that small- to mid-sized businesses are starting to consider workstations as an alternative to the consumer PCs they’ve traditionally favored.  Read more...


Posted by on

Digital nomads and really remote workers have probably heard of Starlink – SpaceX’s satellite-based internet connectivity service.  Designed as a high-speed connectivity option where no other wired or cellular options exist, Starlink is a good choice for people who have no other option for internet connectivity.  

Service portability is a new feature rolled out this week that allows customers to move their dish to a new location (other than your home location) within the same continent for an extra $25/mo.  For US workers, that means Canada and Mexico coverage areas are currently included.   

Sorry Alaskans – nothing available that far north yet.  Starlink plans to eventually have worldwide coverage.  If you’ve ever traveled and tried to use cellular service to maintain internet connectivity, and run into data caps, speed issues, or no-service situations, you might be glad to fork over the extra money for this service. 

It doesn’t come cheap though – Starlink’s service starts at $110/mo, and the portability option raises the fee to $135/mo – far more expensive than cellular.   Read more...


Posted by on

We all had a few chuckles around here when we learned the reasons for the Facebook outage on Monday.

Datacenters use something called BGP (Border Gateway Protocol), a way for routers on the internet to learn the fastest path for traffic to take, learn when a circuit may be down, and re-route traffic as needed.  We run BGP in our datacenter, and it’s pretty important.

What someone at Facebook did was the equivalent of cutting themselves off at the knees… They deleted the advertised BGP information, and with no way for traffic to reach Facebook, essentially everything was down.  Hilarious, at least to the IT crowd, because we understand what they are going to have to go through to fix it.

Facebook’s VP of Infrastructure blogged about this here, and said in part: “it was not possible to access our data centers through our normal means because their networks were down… we sent engineers onsite to the data centers to have them debug the issue and restart the systems.  Read more...


Posted by on

Today, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced that it has added single-factor authentication (SFA) to a rather short list of cybersecurity bad practices it recommends against. 

The CISA’s “Bad Practices” list includes procedures that the federal government has deemed “extremely dangerous” and that should not be used by organizations in the public and private sectors, since they expose them to an unnecessary risk of their systems being hacked by threat actors. 

Since the list was released in September 2017, it has been updated twice to include new practices that should be avoided at all costs. 

In its latest update, CISA additionally added SFA to a list that includes bad practices such as using only one factor for authentication when authenticating into cloud or web applications; reusing passwords across multiple accounts (e.g. using the same password for a corporate and a personal email account); or exposing public folders to everyone with access to an organization’s IT resources.   Read more...


Posted by on

Did you know we offer self-service payment options using our portal?  Of course, it is fine to call us if you prefer – but anyone who receives an invoice from us can login to the portal using the link in the email.  You can view payment history, invoices, and make payments. If you do not know your password, there is a forgot password function you can use to create a new password using your billing email.


Posted by on

In response to customer demand for increased site security, SpireTech is now offering Managed WordPress Hosting.  The package includes monthly security updates to your WordPress site, and several other features: 

  • Monthly security updates to the WordPress framework, and the plugins and themes contained within 
  • Backups of the WordPress website and all data contained within once every 24 hours 
  • One hour per month of technical support, which includes: 
    • Minor content updates of textual content 
    • Upload and inclusion of customer-provided images 
    • Installation of plugins and any minor required configuration 
    • Installation of code snippets (such as Google Analytics) 
    • Modification of certain PHP configuration, such as version, memory limit, and other configuration variables 
    • DNS record edits, if DNS is hosted at SpireTech 

Pricing is only $150 per month.  Please contact us today if you’re interested! 


Posted by on

Over the last two months, we have seen several customers have their WordPress websites hacked.  Hackers installed a plugin or other backdoors and used the sites to send thousands of spam messages – or worse.  All sites were successfully recovered from backup and repaired by our IT Service desk, which is a billable event. 

Our investigation revealed that the hacks were due to sites not being kept up to date with security updates, or poor password management practices.  Read the rest of this month’s articles to discover ways to secure your WordPress website, and Managed WordPress hosting


Posted by on

In response to frequent WordPress hacks, we thought it might be helpful to write about some of the best practices we’ve used to secure WordPress websites. 

  1. Use unique, strong passwords for your login.  One of the techniques hackers use is a stolen password – a password you’ve used elsewhere – to login to your site.  Another technique is to crack a weak password using a bot, repeatedly trying weak password combinations. 
  1. Use Multifactor Authentication at your Wordpress login. Plugins such as “Google Authenticator” will implement this. 
  1. Update your installation at least monthly.  This includes updating WordPress itself, all plugins, and any themes you’ve installed.  
  1. Change your login page.  Bots will try the default login URL to find your login page.  Simply changing this URL to something unique will give them nothing to probe.  Plugins such as “WPS Hide Login” (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wps-hide-login/) can help make this change easily. 
  1. Install a security plugin.  Multiple plugins exist for free that will ban IP addresses that repeatedly try to access your login page, or change the default URL for you.  Caution
  Read more...

Posted by on

Let’s encrypt, an industry nonprofit that issues free SSL certificates, had to revoke 3M certificates Wednesday March 4, 2020 due to a bug.  SSL is the technology that gives websites the https “padlock” and is often used to secure other things like mail servers.

For more information, you can visit the Sophos security blog.  We’ve already checked all SpireTech web hosting and Managed Services clients to see if anyone is affected, and installed new certificates where needed. 

If you visit an https website and receive a certificate error in the next several days, it’s possible the site is affected.  We don’t recommend proceeding to the site, instead consider notifying the site owner.  Bad actors are already taking advantage of this and launching phishing emails and banners, so use caution.  If you find that a website we host or server we manage for you is affected, please let us know and we’ll fix it right away.  Read more...


Posted by on

used with permission from SBA.gov., by Anita Campbell

Bad online reviews can cause potential customers to shop elsewhere, negatively impacting your business’ bottom line. If your business has received a bad online review, here are steps you can take to handle it and minimize the damage.

Respond to Customer Reviews

Ignoring a bad review won’t make it go away. On the other hand, responding to customer reviews can result in better ratings and improve your business’ online reputation.

The Harvard Business Review analyzed tens of thousands of hotel reviews and responses from TripAdvisor. The study found that around a third of reviews on TripAdvisor receive a response and almost a half of hotels respond to reviews. According to the study, hotels that respond to customer reviews receive 12 percent more reviews and their ratings increase by an average of 0.12 stars.

Yelp for Business Owners points out that responding to reviews is a great way to learn from your customers and build goodwill among your most vocal customers.  Read more...

1 2 3