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Office Technology

By Edited Jan 7, 2016 0 0

Office Technology

What type of technology does your office use on a daily basis and do they have some type of a back-up system? Knowing the various office technology options, not only can help streamline the day to day duties and help improve efficiency, but it can save your work product in the event of an emergency.

computer keyboard
Credit: morguefile.com

Desktop

A desktop computer is a personal computer (PC) intended for regular use at a single location, as opposed to a mobile laptop or portable computer. With a desktop, you will always have access to all of your organizational IT (Information Technology) resources.  A desktop can be kept locked-up in a secure location, such as an office or home, and they are usually password protected.

Laptop

A laptop is a personal computer for mobile use and is the most secure of the portable solutions. The laptop can be password protected and can be configured to not carry company information on it (or carry very little), but to access the office network remotely and gain access to confidential information through a secure VPN (Virtual Private Network) tunnel leaving no confidential data physically on the laptop.

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Netbook

Netbooks are a category of small, lightweight, legacy-free, and inexpensive laptop computers and are usually preferred by the user due to their size and portability. Generally they are not favored for use in the office, because most come with versions of Windows that cannot be connected to a Windows Domain and the books removes the security that comes with a Windows domain (i.e. password protection).  In addition, they do not have a CD-Rom which adds a lot of administrative overhead on your IT department by requiring the use of USB thumb drives or wireless network access for installations.

iPad

The iPad is a tablet computer designed by Apple Inc. They are nice and fun to use, but unless they are configured with a password, they are not secure given that anyone can open it and view confidential information, such as e-mails. In addition, they do not provide for regular business applications (i.e. Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.).

Smartphone

A smartphone is a mobile phone that offers more advanced features, normally found on a computer, such as internet access, e-mail accessibility, and more. Smartphones, such as the iPhone, Blackberry or the Droid are extremely popular with businesses, however, if they are not password protected they are not secure.  

In order to ensure security with any of the aforementioned items, every device should be password protected utilizing a Windows Domain, if possible. Meaning a user should have to enter a password to access the device. All sensitive data residing on the device should be encrypted, and remote access to your IT infrastructure should always utilize a VPN connection.

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File Server

A file server is a computer attached to a network for the purpose of providing shared storage of such items as documents, files, photographs, movies, images, databases, and more. A file server can be on site or it can be in another location.

File servers are the most common type of server seen in any IT environment. They provide access to files for the entire organization and can add security to a single file, a group of files, a folder, a group of folders, or to an entire drive. They provide a central point of storage. This is beneficial when users need to share documents amongst each other as they can use the same document which keeps from having multiple versions of the same document on one network.

Given that all pertinent documents are stored on the file server, this provides for efficient backups since most file servers have (if not, they should) a backup system in place. A general rule of thumb for most offices is to train their users to save anything important to their “H” drive (or some sort of shared drive/folder).

Backup System

Backups are possibly the most important part of any IT infrastructure. The most important consideration in regard to backups is getting the data stored safely offsite. Having a backup system is good; however it may serve little purpose in the event of an emergency, such as a fire, if the backup tapes are stored in the same office.

There are several options and choosing a solution to backing up your data may depend on a cost/benefit ratio.  A small company may not need a sophisticated system, costing a lot of money, while a large corporation with several locations and sensitive data has no choice but to use the expensive system.

Another consideration is the amount of date being backed up and how long it will take to back the data up. If your IT department starts the daily backup at the end of the workday and there’s so much data to backup that it doesn’t finish till early the next day, then a speedier solution should be put into place.

Online backups are convenient, but can be expensive. They provide for quick backups depending on your internet connection, but also dependency on your internet connection can cause problems. If your primary internet connection goes down for a long period of time, so does your backup. If this is a solution that you decide to use, make sure the online backup company is a reputable business.

Tape backups are the one of the most common backup methods in organizations as they provide portability of data. One caveat, however, is that you sacrifice security for portability because  all of your stored data is can be stolen. Also, tapes are not the fastest way to backup your files. The more expensive backup tape technology will be a little faster.

Using an offsite backup storage company may be the fastest and most secure, but it will also be the most expensive. It will require additional servers to replicate to and an offsite location to house the servers.  An offsite system will immediately save any changes from your server, thus if there is some type of emergency, like a fire, flood, or some other calamity, the files will be safe and available at another location. 

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