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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

Protect or pay: 10 tips for safer online shopping this holiday

used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com, by Blake Snow

holiday-shopping-tips-decWhat’s a consumer to do in the age of online holiday shopping?

Where there’s money there are thieves nearby. That’s the biggest risk facing online shoppers today, whether through phishing, stolen credit cards, mobile malware, or worse, stolen identities.

It’s only going to get worse, experts predict. In the next three years, online sales are forecasted to increase by more than 50% to $520 billion annually, according to Forrester Research. Consequently, we should expect to see at least an equal rise (if not more) in the number of attempted theft.

What’s a consumer to do, especially as we approach what’s expected to be another record year for online holiday shopping? Here are some helpful tips, according to the latest security advisories.

Only buy from “https” addresses.

This encrypts your personal information and credits cards so it can’t be stolen when hitting submit.

Never buy or bank online over public internet […]

By | December 5th, 2016|Newsletter|Comments Off on Protect or pay: 10 tips for safer online shopping this holiday

5 ways you need to work at home to feel like you never left the office

used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs

work-from-homeWhether you’re a full- or part-time telecommuter, or you just like to catch up on projects at home or on the go—you’re not alone. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people who work at home, not including those who are self-employed, has grown by 103 percent since 2005 and it shows no signs of stopping—with 3.7 million employees now working from home at least half the time. Telecommuting offers many benefits for workers, including flexibility and better work-life balance, as well as for employers, who enjoy cost savings and an expanded talent pool, to name a few. As people continue to jump on the telecommuting bandwagon, it’s more important than ever to find ways to stay productive, connected and happy.

Here are five easy ways to make the most of working at home:

  1. Be there with instant messaging (IM)—Instant messaging has two big benefits for […]
By | November 11th, 2016|Newsletter|Comments Off on 5 ways you need to work at home to feel like you never left the office

From the Break Room to the Boardroom: Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity in the Workplace

used with permission from Norton by Symantec, by Nadia Kovacs

cyber-security-workplaceWhether you own a small business or a big one, you live in a world where cybersecurity is of paramount importance. Big business, small business, academic institutions, government agencies, nonprofits… all of these need to take an interest in cybersecurity or pay the price. It’s a matter or success, but also a matter of national security. Those working in critical infrastructure have a special obligation to make sure that they’re securing the workplace. Here are some of the best ways to create a culture of cybersecurity where you work.

It All Starts With Education and Training

Cybersecurity around your office begins with education and training: education in best practices and training in how best to execute those best practices, as well as making them a daily habit. Some key areas to hit include:

  1. App Updating: The main way that hackers are going to find a […]
By | November 11th, 2016|Newsletter|Comments Off on From the Break Room to the Boardroom: Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity in the Workplace