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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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Microsoft will soon be disabling the ability to add new connected accounts to Office 365 and Outlook Online. This update will only affect Office365 Business accounts. This change will prevent you from being able to read or send mail from any email addresses that are not controlled by Office 365. New accounts will no longer be able to be connected starting September 15th. On October 30th all connected email accounts will stop syncing. This only affects the Outlook online web application and will not affect your ability to use the Outlook application installed on your computer.

While this change may be alarming Microsoft has a few suggestions, which can be in found in this article which will allow you to continue to see your other emails: link  Read more...


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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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Within the last month SpireTech has hit several major milestones in providing superior solutions to our customers. We have earned our Microsoft Silver CSP status, and earned our SMB Cloud Competency. What does this mean for our customers? Read about each of these below:

Microsoft Silver CSP

Microsoft Partner Signature Support provides partners with support to help keep their customers’ services operating smoothly. Signature Support handles technical support scenarios for Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and Microsoft Azure. This means that if you ever need help with your office products, such as a Hybrid Exchange server, or Sharepoint Online site we have Microsoft Partner Signature Support backing us up.

Microsoft SMB Cloud Competency

IDC forecasts that worldwide public IT cloud services revenue (i.e. SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) will reach $141.2B USD by 2019, a 19.4% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR): almost six times the rate of overall IT spending growth.  Read more...

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