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Andrew S. Baker (ASB)


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My Workplace Technology Wish List

imageIt is not every day that one gets an opportunity to put together a wish list of technology solutions that could be used to drive a modern, highly productive workplace.

So, let’s begin our If Money Were No Object quest…

Every office has desktops and notebooks, and they’ll continue to be useful for quite some time. To make them even more useful, we’d equip all of our systems with solid state drives (SSDs) and hybrid drives using SSD technology, such as those from OCZ Technologies. The reduction in boot times and application load times will more than pay for the technology over the life of these drives.

Now, let’s move on to other computing devices, such as smart phones and tablets. Imagine the impact our sales and marketing team could have on clients with a few of these ASUS Eee Pad Transformer tablets. They could get all the benefits of a highly portable tablet, combined with keyboard that doubles as a docking station. These are good for employees who do more content consumption than content creation. The android platform is currently my favorite mobile platform as it provides a variety of applications for corporate connectivity, including virtual private networks (VPN), remote desktop (RDP) clients for our Windows systems, and corporate email integration.

It’s now time for us to pay attention to security and device management. Solutions from SmithMicro Software, MaaS360, and NetQin will allow us to seamlessly and securely manage our fleet of smartphones and tablets. I’ll give the nod to MaaS360, as it provides the broadest support for mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. It even includes support of the Windows and OS X laptop platforms, resulting in comprehensive protection for all things mobile.

Next, let’s look at implementing an antivirus/antimalware solution on our mobile devices so we can keep our corporate data safe. Vendors like F-Secure and BullGuard offer virus and spyware protection for the major mobile platforms, in the event that we don’t like the solutions from MaaS360 or NetQin.

As you may have noticed, we’ve managed to push a lot of our server-side functionality into the cloud, so there’s not as much need for backing up local servers at our office. On the mobile front, however, we will have lots of important data that needs to be backed up securely. So we’d turn to i365, Asigra or Druva for our mobile backup solution, and Whisper Systems for disk encryption.

Security is great, but we’re in business to get things done, and that means a robust office application suite such as Microsoft’s Office 365, Google Apps, or Zoho’s Collaboration Apps. These cloud-based suites will enable our teams to share data wherever they happen to be. To further aid in employee collaboration, we’d equip our organization with online file synchronization tools from Box.Net and DropBox for Teams. I really do love DropBox, but Box.Net has clear advantages when it comes to integration with other business tools, such as NetSuite for our Financials, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

Although primarily used in the education market, interactive white-boards are a valuable technology for training session and technical architecture sessions. Great for presentations to customers and for all sorts of corporate planning, these go a long way towards reducing paper consumption in the office.

We would also want to keep our employees highly connected using a Unified Communications (UC) solution from Mitel, Microsoft or Avaya. Whether they are in or out of the office, our employees will be easily reachable by voice, email and instant messenger, and be able to easily setup conference calls with other staff members or clients or business partners. Speaking of communication, we need to ensure that we keep track of our critical email messages, and this means policy based email security (as opposed to trying to get our employees to remember which emails get encrypted and which don’t need it). ZixCorp and ProofPoint make this very easy to do. This will ensure that our vital corporate data is transmitted securely to business partners and clients without a whole lot of effort from our staff.

So far, we’ve kept most of our office infrastructure in the cloud, but we’ll still have a few servers left, if only to manage our local network access. These server instances will be virtualized using Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Citrix Xen Server or VMWare vSphere, giving us. This gives us great disaster recovery capabilities, and lots of flexibility with server configuration for regularly changing business needs.

Rounding out our wish list, will be enterprise management and security tools from N-able to enable remote control of any workstation or laptop in order to assist employees for technical support; data loss prevention from VerdaSys so that confidential data doesn’t “accidentally” leave the network; network access control solutions from Bradford Networks to ensure that our organization’s security policies are enforced at the network and systems level; and finally, server and network monitoring from Zyrion for both our in-house systems and our cloud-based infrastructure.

We’ve managed to cover mobile technology, cloud computing, communications and security while moving our business forward. Now, wasn’t that fun?

NOTE: This is the expanded edition of a document which was originally published here, on IT Insider Online.

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About Logik!

Andrew S. Baker aka ASB aka Logik!

Andrew S. Baker is a business-savvy, hands-on IT leader with expertise in mentoring people, mitigating risk, and integrating technology to drive innovation and maximize business results. He creates competitive advantage for organizations through effective IT leadership: implementation of processes and controls, and architecture of robust business solutions.

Mr. Baker has successfully led a number of high-performance technology teams in designing, deploying and maintaining secure, cost-effective computing environments for well-known companies, including Warner Music Group, The Princeton Review, Bear Stearns, About.com, and Lewco Securities.

For over a decade, Andrew has exhibited thought leadership on technology and business topics via mailing lists, technical forums, blogs, and professional networking groups, along with contributions to podcasts, webinars, and over 20 technical/business magazine articles. He also serves on several boards and committees for non-profit organizations, and within the Seventh-day Adventist church.

His personal interests include Astronomy, Basketball, Bible Study, Chess, Comics, Computers, Family Life Ministries, Reading, Strategy/Role Playing games, and Professional Networking...

A summary of Andrew's current résumé is available here, and he can be reached on a variety of social and professional networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.