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used with permission from Microsoft US Small and Midsize Business Blog

Remote employees have come a long way since the days when trying to work while away from the workplace was like a sentence in solitary confinement. Thanks to the Cloud, they no longer have to use cumbersome methods to access office computer files or receive access codes from special devices just to make a phone call. But, do your remote employees really feel like they are part of the team?

There’s a lot to be said for the sense of community formed by team members who are all in the same physical location. Here are four pitfalls of working remotely and how Microsoft* tools can help employees from San Francisco to South Beach collaborate as if they are all sitting around the same table.

#1. Access to files and software

When attending meetings, the people in the office conference room have an advantage over remote employees.  Read more...


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Wrapping up 2016 and our plans moving into 2017

2016 was another year of double-digit growth at SpireTech!  I’d like to thank our employees and clients for making it possible.

Here are some highlights of our major accomplishments in 2016:

  • Our “VIP support” and Managed services business grew 48% last year, mostly by word of mouth and your referrals! We do very little advertising, so your referrals are much appreciated – thank you!
  • We formalized business processes around our vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) services to manage growth in this area.
  • We grew our cloud services, such as CTERA servers and Virtual private server hosting, 50% last year.
  • Our Office 365 CSP services grew more than everything else in terms of percentages.  (I’m still kicking myself for not buying MSFT stock last year).  It’s still a low-margin business though, so we’re offering this in conjunction with other services.
  • We added some key staff on the business side, as well as additional skilled technicians.
  Read more...

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used with permission from HP Technology at Work

SaaS Software as a service cloud application access internet subscription basis centrally hosted on-demand softwareIt wasn’t long ago that businesses only had two options when it came to purchasing software: purchasing the product off the shelf or purchasing a license agreement for the software. Even with available on-site maintenance and management services, the costs would vary depending on the number of employees you had, making it financially unpredictable. These models may have been fine for larger companies who could afford to make the substantial upfront investments required to stay current with updates, but for smaller businesses just looking to keep up without breaking their budget, it can be a challenge.

A different approach

Software as a service (SaaS) manages the hardware and software for you—providing you with updates as they’re available—so all that’s left for you to do is take advantage of the benefits of using the software.

With the traditional approach to obtaining software, you may think you’re purchasing the software, but you’re not.  Read more...


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Wrapping up 2015 and our plans moving into 2016

2015 was a year of growth at SpireTech!  I’d like to thank our employees and clients for
making it all possible.

As always, the tech industry is never boring and in constant change.  As usual, we are always looking for best-in-class solutions for our clients, and staying on top of trends in the industry to make sure we keep our competitive edge, without being bleeding edge.  Here are some highlights of our accomplishments in 2015:

  • Our “VIP support” and Managed services business grew 27% last year, mostly by word of mouth and your referrals! We do very little advertising, so your referrals are much appreciated – keep them coming!
  • We added the ability to manage and bill for your business’s Office365 services, along with your SpireTech services, on a single invoice. The response has been great, and we see this as a growth area for SpireTech and our clients.
  Read more...

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SpireTech is excited to announce that we have been accepted into Microsoft’s CSP (Cloud Service Provider) program at the direct, 1-Tier level.

SpireTech clients can now enjoy unified billing, support, and management services for Office 365 and Azure products. SpireTech President Scott Cook said “Adding Microsoft Cloud services to our portfolio is a natural extension of what we are already doing for our clients, including 100% local IT management services, VIP Support, and hosted private cloud services.”

SpireTech’s pricing for Office365 and available bundles can be viewed at: Office 365.

Office 365 through SpireTech is bundled with SpireTech’s 100% local VIP support services. Existing SpireTech clients that are subscribed to our Proactive support package will receive a discount off of our listed prices for Office 365.

For more information or assistance in selecting your Office365 solution, please contact us today.  Read more...


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used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com
by Laurence Cruz

cloud_adoptionSurvey: Cloud adoption climbs but strategy lags—even as forward-thinking companies recognize both will help them capitalize on upcoming market transitions.

Cloud adoption is on the rise and bringing significant benefits, and IT architects are becoming more sophisticated in how they think about cloud, but as of early 2015 relatively few companies have mature cloud strategies and many have no cloud strategy at all, according to a worldwide survey by tech research firm IDC.

Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents are using or are planning to use some form of cloud—whether for a single project or their portfolio, for test/development environments, or to run mission-critical applications, according to IDC’sCloudView Survey of nearly 3,500 executives from 17 countries. However, only one-quarter of respondents have repeatable, managed or optimized cloud adoption strategies considered “mature,” and nearly one-third have no cloud strategy, the survey finds.

“Most companies are really just experimenting with cloud,” says IDC analyst Randy Perry, one of the authors of a Cisco-sponsored IDC white paper which details the survey results (Don’t Get Left Behind: The Business Benefits of Achieving Greater Cloud Adoption).  Read more...


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The latest update to our PortlandCloud.com portal brings a whole new look to CTERA’s hybrid cloud appliances, and several new features to cloud drive! Here are some of the highlights:

All-New User Interface

User Interface
Snazzy new interface with HTML-5 goodness.

The entire user interface has been redesigned with mobile and touch interfaces in mind. It will scale to fit your screen and present the most information to you regardless of whether your on your office computer or working on your phone or tablet. The CTERA mobile app for Android and iPhone has also been updated to bring your experience up to date regardless of how you access the portal.


Online File Preview

AutoCAD "color wheel" in-browser preview
AutoCAD “color wheel” drawing browser preview

Cloud drive now lets you view all types of Office documents, CAD files, DICOM medical imaging files, and image files in your browser without having to download huge files and open up slow-to-load editing programs. The builtin lightweight previewer will allow you to see changes at a glance saving you valuable time.  Read more...


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used with permission from Microsoft for Work
by Chris Chute

cloud_smbs

As an IT industry analyst, I report on how cloud IT adoption has grown with US small and medium businesses. Historically, the smaller business space has been more conservative when approaching new IT services that are hosted offsite. However, the results of my most recent surveys were startling: 2014 served as a great awakening for SMB IT managers, owners, and CIOs to the benefits of cloud IT.

Our most recent SMB surveys indicate that small businesses (firms with fewer than 100 employees) now understand how to harness the cloud to reduce costs associated with basic office functions like payroll, accounts receivable management, or productivity software like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Medium businesses (firms with between 100 and 1,000 employees) looked to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends to increase employee productivity, driving a whole new wave of growth in B2B app adoption via mobile payments or workforce enablement with mobile applications used on tablets.  Read more...


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used with permission from HTS

serverinthecloudMany organizations we talk to are starting to think about their next server upgrade. Here are some common questions we get.

  • Do I need a server?
  • What about the cloud?
  • Is there a less expensive way?

These are all good questions. The answers can really depend on your needs.

Do I need a server?

The general purpose of a server is to deliver functionality to users, typically in the local office.

If you are only storing files and don’t have applications installed on the server, you may be able to use a cloud-based file sharing and sync tool and move away from a server environment.

  • If you need to run a database like Microsoft SQL to support a CRM, billing, or other application, you need some type of server. That may be in your office or possibly in the cloud.
  • If you have security or compliance requirements for your business, you may require a server for Active Directory or other security-related services.
  Read more...

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ctera logoSpireTech has launched an Enterprise File Sync and Sharing (EFSS) service using private portal and server technology from CTERA networks.  The new features include VPN-free office-to-office server synchronization, and fine-grained control over synchronization of data to iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices.

Our solution is unique in that can integrate with low-cost storage appliances located at your office, for fast local file storage and server capabilities.  The local server can be accessed from anywhere via the web, mapped drives, and integrates with a private portal for employee and partner access.  Appliances can synchronize shares with each other, workstations, other servers and mobile devices without the use of a VPN.

Services like Dropbox and Google Drive have long provided businesses with the ability to collaborate and share their documents with employees and their clients. The problem with services like these is knowing who has access to your data, and where it is located in their networks.    Read more...

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