I've worked in the I.T. industry for nearly 20 years, spanning positions from help desk support to network engineering. I'm a Microsoft Certified Professional with a consultancy focused on small businesses. I was also a contributing Technology writer for Technorati.com (which sadly has metamorphosed into an advertising company), producing articles regarding the latest phones and portable devices, to computer tips and how-to sections. Writing has always been a passion of mine, as both a hobby and an extension of my profession.
I have no problem writing content both inside and outside of my areas of expertise, as I'm adept at researching and digesting topics I'm not immediately familiar with. I look at each writing assignment I've tackled as an opportunity to share my knowledge or to learn new things. Furthermore, I believe that a truly versatile writer has the power to communicate ideas to readers of all knowledge levels within the same piece, amplifying the reach of the work.
I look forward to lending my talents to whatever projects come my way!
|EDUCATION: University at Buffalo||BLOG: None provided|
|CERTIFICATIONS: Microsoft Certified Professional||CURRICULUM VITAE: None provided|
Article first published as Small Business Tech - You Don't Have To Envy Your Corporate Buddies Toys Anymore on Technorati.
If you’re a Small Business owner, you may have experienced a state of shock when you first realized just how much an I.T. infrastructure was going to hurt your bottom line. If you’ve come from a corporate environment, you may be used to a vast array of technological tools, toys and gadgets that boost productivity and facilitate business procedures. If you’ve never had access to some of these tools, you may feel a slight twinge of envy when your well-heeled corporate friends show off the latest and greatest in information technology. These days, the small business community no longer has to remain on the outside looking in. Advances in freely available open source software now give the small business sector the ability to compete with the big boys, at costs that would make corporate accounting positively green with envy.
After more than a decade as an I.T. professional, largely servicing the small business sector, I’ve seen firsthand how the costs of network and server maintenance can practically cripple many small organizations. As a result, owners must carefully balance which technology investments represent legitimate business needs and what functionality can be sacrificed with the least pain. The choice doesn’t really need to be as difficult as it presently is, and there are myriad options to help small businesses make a technological leap without mortgaging their future.
I believe the most important tool that a small business can use to expand functionality while cutting costs is virtualization. While many have heard the term in the tech marketplace, most end users fail to understand what the concept means, how it can help them, and just how cost effective it can be. Virtualization, at its’ core, is really a means of consolidating existing or new I.T. hardware into smaller, more efficient hardware. To grasp the concept, imagine your current array of systems, such as firewalls, file servers, mail servers and terminal servers condensed into one or more high powered systems. By running several server packages on a single machine, you’ve eliminated a significant amount of hardware maintenance, replacement and upgrade costs. Of course, this may sound like an expensive proposition, but that’s not necessarily the case. VMware, the established leader in virtualization technology, makes a basic virtualization software platform available for free, as a means to widen the virtualization market. Leveraging this free software, a small business can rapidly consolidate server hardware onto newer, faster systems, without having to replace every physical machine they currently use.
In the real world, virtualization and open source software can be leveraged to create a surprisingly rich feature set for the small business sector at a fraction of the cost of traditional proprietary software. For example, the major needs of a small office generally include e-mail, file services, user login services, backup, and network protection. For a 10 user environment, the cost of proprietary software and hardware to accomplish these tasks will fall somewhere in the neighborhood of $4000, but the open source alternatives will cost you nothing other than the basic server hardware you’d need to operate them. Below is a list of open source projects that your small business can use to slash your technology budgets without losing features:
Untangle – Open Source Firewall Platform
Web filtering, Anti-Spam, Network Control, User Management, Bandwidth Management, SSL Vpn
Amanda Network Backup – Open Source Network and Server Backup Platform
Zimbra – Open Source Email and Collaboration Server
Samba – Open Source File and Print Sharing Services for Windows and Linux Clients
In short, a small business now has the unprecedented power to harness the best of high end technology, while padding their bottom line and freeing themselves from the costly software upgrade cycle. With the right guidance and support, nearly any company can effectively build a custom tailored system that not only meets their current needs, but can easily grow with them into the future. After all, doing more with less is something every entrepreneur and small business owner should know something about. If you’re about to invest hard earned money into new office technology, take the time to find out how much further you can get for your dime… you may be shocked at what your I.T. provider hasn’t shown you.