Windows 10 Tip: Customize Your Start Menu

The Windows 10 Start menu has a new look from previous versions. Specifically, it uses tiles when pinning your favorite apps to the Start menu for quick access. Here, we’ll explain how you can customize your Start menu: pinning and removing apps from the Start menu and resizing and rearranging pinned tiles.

To access your Start menu, hit the Windows key on your keyboard, or click the Windows icon in the lower left corner of your screen.

On the left side of the Start menu, you will see a list of all apps installed on your machine. At the top is a list of your most frequently used apps, and then an alphabetical list below. On the right side is the panel where pinned apps appear as tiles.


Pinning Apps to the Start Menu

To pin app to […]

By | May 4th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Windows 10 Tip: Customize Your Start Menu

6 steps to securing your email

used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Is your company’s email providing a tempting route for cyber criminals to attack your business? Hackers continue to target businesses with phishing attacks. Once opened, these malicious email messages can hijack an entire company’s financial information and gain access to funds and personal information. Email is a business essential, but also an easy avenue for hackers to use and abuse. How can you keep your business secure?

The human factor

Businesses of all sizes face vulnerabilities via email. When email accounts are hacked and compromised, cyber criminals can gain access to information including user names, telephone numbers, birthdates, passwords, and unencrypted security questions.

Email is a common entry point for hackers because it’s an easy way to exploit the weak link in cybersecurity policies: humans. Employees rushing through their emails can easily click on a malicious link. No wonder that a recent survey reveals some 90% of cyber […]

By | May 4th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on 6 steps to securing your email

Scammers are not “friends” to small business owners

used with permission from the FTC, by Rosario Méndez

Scammers try to contact people in many ways. They call, email, put ads online, send messages on social media and more. If you own a small business, they’re trying to contact you, too.

Lately we’ve been hearing about scammers who reach out to small businesses through Facebook messages. People have reported receiving messages on Facebook telling them that they’re eligible for – or that they’ve won – a business grant. If you get a message like this through your personal Facebook account or on your company’s page, don’t respond. It’s a scam. The government won’t contact you on social media to offer you money.

Some business owners responded to the messages because they appeared to be from a “friend.” Know this: scammers can spoof social media messages to make them look like they’re coming from someone you know or have done business with.  Some […]

By | May 4th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Scammers are not “friends” to small business owners

Breaking down silos – tools for better communication and collaboration

used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs

Today’s workforce is spread across more locations than ever before: 37 percent of workers telecommuted to some degree in 2015. Companies occupy multiple locations, and business partnerships span the globe. In addition to physical separation, teams in the same company are separated by projects and departments. These barriers unfortunately lead to communication silos, furthering separation and limiting teamwork and collaboration.

Silos can have a significant (and detrimental) effect on your business. They create barriers between teams, often disrupting communications across your entire organization. But that’s not all. Let’s look at the wider impact silos can have across your company.

  1. Limits communication and impedes culture—Siloed teams eventually inhibit your company’s culture. Employees crave communication, collaboration and a thriving work environment. They want to feel comfortable being themselves and feel like they’re part of a team. In fact, 47 percent of workers find it motivating when colleagues discuss workplace success.
  2. Creates repeat work—Often, you […]
By | May 4th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Breaking down silos – tools for better communication and collaboration

Why you need to get serious about cybersecurity

used with permission from HP Technology at Work

More than half of small and midsize businesses in the U.S. have suffered a cyber attack in the past year—but despite this frightening reality, very few businesses are making IT security a priority this year. That’s a big mistake, because small business owners are at a greater risk than they may think for data security problems and cybercrime.

Your businesses at risk

Businesses are starting to wake up to the risk of cybercrime. In a 2016 survey by the Ponemon Institute, more than half of businesses surveyed believe cyber attacks are becoming more targeted, more sophisticated, and more costly.

Cyber attacks are also targeting small businesses to a greater degree than in the past. Some 55% of respondents in the Ponemon study experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months, and 50% had a data breach in the past year.

Cyber attacks are costly and disruptive. […]

By | May 4th, 2017|Newsletter|Comments Off on Why you need to get serious about cybersecurity

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, — 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  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, 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