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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
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Microsoft announced changes coming to their Stream video product to better integrate it with the rest of the M365 ecosystem.  Currently, recordings are stored in Stream, which requires accessing a separate site to view recordings of teams meetings. The service will be revised starting in October to store Recordings in OneDrive or SharePoint.  Here are the guidelines and timing we’ve been provided: 

  • Early October (October 5, 2020) – You can enable the Teams Meeting policy to have meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint instead of Microsoft Stream (Classic).  Requires use of powershell to enable this policy. 
  • End of October (October 31, 2020) – Meeting recordings in OneDrive and SharePoint will have support for English captions via the Teams transcription feature. 
  • Early to mid-November (Rolling out between November 1 -15 , 2020) – All new Teams meeting recordings will be saved to OneDrive and SharePoint . 

Microsoft has issued guidance around the changes in behavior you will notice: 

  • Meeting storage: 
  • Non-Channel meetings will be stored in the OneDrive of the person who clicked the record button in a special folder labeled “Recordings” – that sits at the top of the recorder’s OneDrive. 
  Read more...

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Most clients have us update their systems on Tuesday nights – but we can’t update them if they are powered off.  Please remember to leave your systems plugged in and powered up when you receive the update reminder – it helps us keep your systems updated and secure.  Thank you.  Read more...


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Just a quick note to let clients know that if you are still running Windows 7 or 2008 server, we cannot be responsible for the security of your network.  The risk of ransomware is real, and we’ve heard many horror stories of companies that have been breached.  Being able to apply security updates to your computers is one of the key defenses you have against this risk. 

In accordance with our policies, we reserve the right to invoice for technical support of software that does not have vendor support.  As a courtesy, we will extend free support for 15 minutes, after which we will request approval to bill for our time.  We do not wish to impose hardship, but aged software and hardware does require more time to support than modern software, and we must balance this against the need for security.   Read more...


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With work from home, we’re noticing an increase in the number of machines being shut off when we are trying to install updates.  Please remember to log off and leave your computers turned on and connected to power when we prompt you for updates.  

Thank you for your cooperation.  Read more...


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As a reminder to what we advised last month, we’re putting a stop to SpireTech support for Win 7 machines on July 1st.  Congratulations to those of you that have successfully eradicated these machines from your networks.  However – in a review today, we see that approximately 10% of machines are still running Win 7.  We’ve now got 30 days to get rid of the rest of them.  While we don’t want to create unnecessary hardship for clients that may be stressed due to COVID-19, we still need clients to make an effort to replace the remaining systems. 

Win 7 machines can be slow, insecure, and time-consuming to support.  If your network gets breached due to outdated software, or you call us for support on a Win 7 system, we reserve the right to invoice for time beyond 15 minutes of support.   Read more...


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With the recent news around Zoom and security updates, we have added it to the list of third-party software we automatically update.  While we’ve supported Teams for some time, we’ve formally added it to the list of solutions supported by our helpdesk, and is available for implementation projects. 

If you have not yet adopted Teams, we can say it’s been a lifesaver for us during WFH – and you might wish to consider it.  Teams integrates with SharePoint, Exchange, and security groups – so it’s wise to engage with us before rolling it out to make sure some irreversible mistakes aren’t made if you DIY. 

The current list of supported software and our policies for Managed Services support is maintained here: In Scope Support List    Read more...


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We are going to remove Windows 7 systems from SpireTech support effective July 1, 2020.  Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020.  We have been giving everyone some extra time to get those last stragglers out of their networks, but that time is coming to an end in two months.   

Each client primary contact gets a monthly report that includes a system inventory.  If you are still seeing Windows 7 systems in your network, please work to remove them. If you are sitting at a computer still running Windows 7, please request a replacement or upgrade. 

SpireTech has aggressive discounts available from Dell for new systems, please let us know if you require assistance obtaining new hardware or migrating files from old systems.  We are minimizing site calls during the Covid-19 crisis, but we can arrange delivery to your location and perform work remotely.  SpireTech has a flat-fee of $300 per system for labor associated with migrating Windows 7 machines and new computer setups. 

We do not wish to create additional financial hardship for clients.   Read more...


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We remain very concerned about recent security issues related to work from home, including: 

  • Proper anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on home systems 
  • Patch management and updates of home systems 
  • VPN’s allowing additional paths for intruders or malware into networks 
  • Weak passwords 

We encourage our clients to take steps to mitigate these risks including: 

  • Set up Multi-factor authentication on company accounts 
  • Request SpireTech manage employee-owned computers during this crisis for only $30/mo 
  • Install proper anti-virus on unmanaged endpoints (included above) 
  • Upgrade to Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which includes intelligent security, bring-your-own device management solutions such as Microsoft Intune and EMS, and can mitigate risks related to access to corporate data outside the firewall.

Please schedule an advisory call with your Technical Client Manager if you’d like advice on how to improve security in your current WFH situation.  Read more...


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used with permission from Norton by Symantec, by Steve Symanovich

You’re probably no stranger to those little pop-up windows. They tell you software updates are available for your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

You might be tempted to click on that “Remind me later” button. Don’t do it. Or, at least don’t put off updating your software for long.

Software updates are important to your digital safety and cyber security. The sooner you update, the sooner you’ll feel confident your device is more secure — until the next update reminder.

Why are software updates so important? There are a lot of reasons. Here are 5 that show why it’s important to update software regularly.

1. Software updates do a lot of things

Software updates offer plenty of benefits. It’s all about revisions. These might include repairing security holes that have been discovered and fixing or removing computer bugs. Updates can add new features to your devices and remove outdated ones.  Read more...

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