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CloudBleed and You

You may have heard about a recent vulnerability that has affected Cloudflare, and therefore certain sites that use cloudflare services.  Cloudflare is a “Content Delivery Network” or CDN, and is used to speed up websites by acting as a “cache” that sits between your web browser and the certain sites you may visit.

SpireTech does not use Cloudflare services, so none of our data or customer data would have been exposed.  However, some customers that host websites with us use Cloudflare – typically this is setup and managed by your web developer.  If you fall into that category, you should contact your site developer or SpireTech for advice, which would vary depending on the function of your website.

Despite this not affecting our data directly it may effect many of the sites you frequently visit. If you have accounts with Uber, Yelp, Fitbit, OKCupid, 4Chan, or sites listed at the end of this bulletin, it […]

By | March 2nd, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on CloudBleed and You

Increased Security Concerns For Remote Desktop

At SpireTech, we’ve noticed an increase in certain types of “Brute Force” attacks on Microsoft Windows operating systems, particularly those allowing Remote Desktop.  A ‘brute force’ attack is a repeated automated attempt to gain unauthorized access by guessing at username/password combinations.

What does this mean to our clients?  Here are a few key takeaways:

  1. Obscurity is not security.  Using an uncommon port, redirected from a firewall, to a machine inside your network, is not going to prevent your system from being probed by bots and hackers.  Instead, use an SSL VPN to add a second layer of security to your network.
  2. Use truly complex, random, and lengthy passwords.  We see lots of passwords that people think are secure, but they really aren’t that great.  Also, because your network password is often used for your company email password or Office 365, it opens up yet another vector people can use to […]
By | February 22nd, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Increased Security Concerns For Remote Desktop

Redesigned Website

SpireTech has launched a new website! Our new design is intended to simplify and focus our content on how our business can help you with yours.  We’ve also made our site fully mobile responsive with layouts that work on everything from smartphone screens all the way up to the large monitors.  We invite you to check out our new look at www.spiretech.com, — and let us know what you think!

Our new pages are designed to offer all the information new visitors might want, while still allowing our customers to find the pages they use most.  If you can’t find a page that you have used in the past, or if you happen to come across something that isn’t working correctly, please do shoot us an note at support@spiretech.com.  Thanks!

By | February 22nd, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Redesigned Website

Data Breaches That Made Headlines in 2016

used with permission from Norton by Symantec, by Christina Schubert

 

980 data breaches occurred in 2016. That left an approximate 35,233,317 known records exposed. Over the years, data breaches have become more sophisticated, and cybercriminals target both large corporations and small businesses.

2016 saw a string of data breaches that left sensitive information of millions of people at the mercy of cybercriminals. In addition to financial consequences, these data breaches ruined customer trust and the reputation of the companies in question.

As we look back at 2016 here are some of the most impactful data breaches that shook the world.

117 Million LinkedIn Credentials Breached

Even though the breach occurred in 2012, its intensity came to light in mid-2016. A Russian hacker going by the name of “Peace” claimed responsibility for the 2012 hack. In 2016 the hacker resurfaced, and set up shop on the Dark Web to sell a whopping 117 million credentials that were acquired from the […]

By | January 17th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Data Breaches That Made Headlines in 2016

Rent a robot: robots as service providers springing up in a variety of industries

used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com, by Anne Field

Robots as a service providers let customers use robots without spending the money to buy them.

Robotic systems can offer businesses a great many benefits: reducing costs, increasing productivity and freeing up humans to do less repetitive, more interesting tasks. But for many small to medium-sized businesses, buying, installing and maintaining them can also be quite pricey, especially if it means throwing out and revamping existing production systems.

That’s where “robots as a service”(RaaS) comes into play. Recently, a growing number of companies have started offering customers the option of leasing or renting robotic systems either by the hour or with a monthly subscription, instead of purchasing and installing them on their own.

The advantages are similar to outsourcing, according to Frank Tobe, editor of The Robot Report. On the one hand, customers don’t have to bear the cost of installing robots. On the other, services providers […]

By | January 9th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Rent a robot: robots as service providers springing up in a variety of industries

What the tech were they thinking?

used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Ever think you’d need an olfactory alarm clock? With all the technological advances we’ve seen this year (e.g., reusable rockets, 2D materials, DIY super batteries), there were also some weird and wonderful items that found their way into our world. From coffee alarm clocks to window-cleaning robots, here are a few gadgets that spiced up our lives this year.

Wake up to the power of scent

When’s the last time your alarm clock woke you up pleasantly? Unlike traditional alarms that jolt you out of bed with loud sirens or vibrations, the Sensorwake olfactory alarm clock gently rouses you with pleasant aromas like espresso, peppermint, chocolate—even croissant. This clever contraption works by using dry-air diffusion, much like a plug-in air freshener. Each scent cartridge is 100% recyclable and lasts for 30 “awakenings.” The alarm clock should be able to wake you up within two minutes. But, if […]

By | January 9th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on What the tech were they thinking?

Thanks for another great year!

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.
  • We exited the […]
By | January 6th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Thanks for another great year!

SpireTech welcomes Brian Ellis as our newest employee

brian

As SpireTech’s customer base has expanded, we have done the same to continue to provide the same high level of customer support while keeping your wait times low.  Most recently we added Brian Ellis to our staff of support technicians.

We are excited to welcome Brian, who has relocated from Chicago, IL to Portland, OR as he joins the team at SpireTech to continue his career journey and providing exemplary IT services.

Brian brings  15+ years of knowledge and experience working for internet service providers, handling remote and onsite helpdesk clients, providing managed services and IT consulting to businesses.  Additionally, as a former business owner he not only focuses on clients’ immediate IT needs, but helps consider overall IT strategy from an ownership perspective.

In his personal time Brian enjoys outdoor activities, photography, and is currently learning how to play the guitar.

Now when you see Brian’s name on a response to your support tickets, you’ll know […]

By | December 7th, 2016|Newsletter|Comments Off on SpireTech welcomes Brian Ellis as our newest employee

Happy Holidays!

portlandtreeAs the year comes to a close this holiday season, we wanted to say we are grateful to our clients for your continued business.  Happy Holidays from everyone at SpireTech!

By | December 7th, 2016|Newsletter|Comments Off on Happy Holidays!

3 ways to convert a Word document to a PDF

convert-pdf-2016Sometimes you need to convert your Word document (.doc or .docx) to a PDF, so you can share it more readily, or protect its contents from modification. But how do you do that? Here are 3 ways to convert a Word document.

Method #1: Use Save As in Word

This is the fastest, most widely available option! Since you have a Word document, you almost certainly have Microsoft Office and the desktop version of Word.

In Word 2016

  1. Go to File > Save As.pdf01-1024x411
  2. Choose “PDF (*.pdf)” from the file extension drop-down, beneath the document title.
  3. Then click the Save

Alternatively…

  1. Go to File > Save as Adobe PDF.pdf02
  2. If prompted, save your file before conversion takes place.
  3. Choose where to save your file.
  4. Optionally, use the Options button to make adjustments to your conversion (such as ways to […]
By | December 5th, 2016|Newsletter|Comments Off on 3 ways to convert a Word document to a PDF