Blog Post Archive - Archives
With recent headlines, has your company considered what might happen if your employees needed to work from home suddenly? Does your company have policies and procedures in place for working remotely? SpireTech can help you get ready.
Things to consider might include:
- A revision to your employee manual adding work-from-home policies, including computer security, timekeeping, communication, and home office standards
- Setting up VPN, OneDrive for business, or SharePoint access to company data
- Configuring BYOD (Bring-your-own-device) and MDM (Mobile device management) policies using Microsoft 365 to secure company data
- Technical documentation and instructions for employees to setup work-from-home access
- Installing company software on home computers when appropriately licensed, such as Office 365, which allows up to five devices per user
- Implementing multi-factor authentication and secure password policies
- Setting up office chat using Microsoft Teams or Slack
- How employees will access business phone lines, forward calls, and check voicemail from outside the office
- Determine which software will work from outside the office, and which won’t
If you’d like some help getting your staff ready to work from home, get in touch to start the conversation. Read more...
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.Read more...
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...
“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:Read more...
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...
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...
At SpireTech, our managed services clients often contact the helpdesk to determine if an email is fake or not. We thought it’d be helpful to put together a short instructional video to help you identify some common signs that an email is a phish or fake email.
While this doesn’t cover all the possibilities, we think it hits on the most common ones. Another thing we’re seeing occasionally is a real, targeted email to a client purporting to be be from an owner of the company or a vendor. Always pick up the phone if there’s any question on the validity of an email, and contact our service desk if you need help! Read more...
2019 was a year of continued growth at SpireTech. We’d like to thank all our clients for your continued support and your referrals – we don’t advertise much, so we appreciate every referral!
Review of 2019 Business Activity
We spent a lot of the year focused internally on improving our processes and operational maturity. Some of the areas we worked on include:
- A new billing system and customer portal
- Complete redesign of our website
- Re-organized and relaunched our blog
- Implemented brightgauge for customer reporting and performance metrics
- Improved our internal and customer documentation
- Improved our patch management system, for better and more reliable windows patching
- Moved from Slack to Teams
- Moved to Onedrive/Sharepoint for file storage
- Continued focus on improving security
We’ve also been attending conferences and quarterly IT business peer group events to keep up on current trends and best practices. We learn a lot at these events, and it is an excellent investment of our time. Read more...
Many of our @spiretech.com email customers have been using our SquirrelMail webmail interface for years. However, as time has gone by, SquirrelMail has received very few updates to remain current with the latest security standards. Therefore, we are making the transition to a new webmail interface called Roundcube.
At present, both interfaces are available, but we will be retiring the SquirrelMail interface at the end of March 2019. We recommend that you visit the new Roundcube interface by visiting https://mail.spiretech.com.
Windows 7 is reaching the end of its life and support on January 14, 2020. It’s now time to plan your upgrade to Windows 10.
What’s happening to Windows 7?
Windows 7 (as well as Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2) will no longer be supported by Microsoft after January 14, 2020. This means there will be no more software updates or security patches. Continuing to use the operating system could make you out of compliance with industry standards. Microsoft customer service will also no longer be available for Windows 7.
Unsupported operating systems are often targeted by cyber attackers specifically because they no longer receive software updates or patches to fix flaws and vulnerabilities. By continuing to use Windows 7 past its end of support, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
Your organization may also be out of compliance with industry or legal standards if you continue to run on unsupported software or operating systems. Read more...