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Sampling of Companies
Possible Future Trends
We have been hired to design a small network for a company that will utilize the newest technology out there and give each person the capability to work from the office as well as on the road. This company has ten people and will be working from home and on the road quite often. The best solution would be to set up a wireless network with additional security and the use if Internet Protocol phones. We will also make a push to hire a full time systems administrator to handle all the security issues and the overall maintenance of the network.
First we need to stress the importance of a full time systems administrator to work from the site as well as on call 24 hours a day. We are going to use a wireless network as well as IP phones and from time to time they are going to experience connectivity issues as well as authentication problems logging into the servers remotely. The main point we must stress to the customer is the security issues that affect every network. The network will need constant monitoring and updates due to the nature of the business and the virtual private network that will be utilized for off site connectivity.
The proposed hardware list will contain 3 physical servers, a Cisco router, 2 black and white laser printers, a color laser printer, 12 laptops, 12 IP phones, a server rack, cabling, and wireless PCMCIA cards. We want to make sure there are a few laptops and phones configured for users who are experiencing problems. This list will continue to grow as we start to install the network and get everything configured properly and continue on with the testing. We must also ensure we have the proper licensing for all the servers to include Microsoft Server 2003 and Microsoft Exchange. We will run Symantec Antivirus software on each of the laptops as well.
The telephone system that we are going to put into place is a Mitel system consisting of twelve 5220 IP phones. This system will consist of a voice mail system, and the ability to take your phone home and all your calls will be forwarded to that phone making it easier for our staff to work from home without the customers knowing. The hardware involved in the setup of this system is a PC for voice mail administration, and two switches.
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There are many different ways we could have designed this network to meet the needs of the company. This is a small company that will remain around ten systems on their network. We could have gone the easy route and created a ring topology that connected all the systems together and everyone just stored data on their own system. This would cause many problems as people are frequently not working form the office and the use of laptops would not be feasible. This topology would not be in the best interest for this company.
We also looked at a mesh topology that would connect every system to each other. This would not cause as many problems as the ring but we did not want to use this topology in the environment we are trying to create. The network needs to utilize many different resources as well as maintain a level of security that will be able to use wireless as well as off site authentication. This company does much of their business outside of the work place and the need for this level of security is key to the success of their operations.
We will start by installing the servers in the rack and ensure the UPS is working properly and the servers stay powered up in the event of the power going down. Once the servers are mounted in the rack we can start installing Microsoft Server 2003 on the main server and ensure all the proper security patches are loaded and then run a vulnerability scan. We want to make sure all the proper ports are open or closed to ensure no one can gain access to their network. The router will also need to be configured at this time. The router will be a major factor in the security of our network.
Once Microsoft Server 2003 is loaded we will create accounts for all the users and assign them to different group. We are creating two different groups based on the customers needs. We will have one group that is for the five employees that deal with strictly stateside business. The other five employees will be assigned to another group that deals strictly with overseas business. Each user will be required to create a ten character password that has to have at least one lower case and one capitol letter, a numeric character as well as a unique character. This will be one measure to help maintain the security of the network.
While the servers are being set up we will have another member of our team creating an image to use for all the laptops. We will load one laptop with Windows XP and Office 2003. We will need to make sure we have the proper amount of user licenses for all the software we are using. We will ensure all the proper security patches are loaded as well as Symantec and the most current updates. We will need to make sure that each system has Adobe Acrobat Reader and WinZip to access all the files that are used within the company. Each user will also be mapped automatically to the appropriate shred drive.
A script will be used to map each user to the proper-shared resource on the server to store common files as well as historical files. Due to the nature of business and the lack of storage space we will recommend an electronic file plan to store all the historical documents. Based on the group you are assigned will determine the level of access you have to each of these folders. The systems administrator will maintain the electronic file plan if the company decides to hire a permanent person. Each user will also have a designated amount of space on the server as well to store important data. All this information will be backed up on a nightly basis.
The backup plan needs to be tested and implemented as soon as the new servers go online. We will start with Emergency Repair Disks for each server and each laptop. These will be completed on a quarterly basis and stored in a fireproof safe with all the backup media. We are still looking at the different types of media to use. We will either use tape or DVD’s based on the amount of data that will need to be backed up each night. We will schedule the backups to start at 0230 each morning and backup the selected files to media. We will use a 4-week cycle of media and the first of each month we will use a different media to save for each month. Once a quarter will we back up everything to another server as an additional precaution in the event that the media gets corrupted.
The cost for the network and telephone system for this small company might seem a little high, but that is because we made sure to set this network and phone system up in such a way that there should be minimal changes to its core infrastructure for many years to come. Therefore the cost up front is high, but looked at over a five to ten year period it works out to be a good deal for a company of this size.
Part Telephone Network
1 HPProcurve Managed Switch $900.00
1 PowerDsine Hub $1,300
12 IP Phones $2,500
Voice Mail System $7,500
12 Laptops $16,000
3 Servers $7,500
Cisco Router $1,000
2 HP 2400 Laser Printers $800
1 HP 2600 Color Printer $400
Microsoft Licensing $ 5,500
Labor $2,200 $2,500
TOTAL COST $14,900 $33,700
The total cost for both the Phone system and network install comes out to approximately $48,600. That is relatively cheap for what is actually being accomplished this phone system and network should not need any major upgrades for at least five years. In theory this company could run its current phone system for fifteen years without needing a major upgrade. The only factors that will come into play are the fact that technology is moving at the speed of light and if management wants to stay current with technology then they will have to make minor upgrades every year, but most likely the only changes this company will make are the necessary changes. Thos would be changes that are deemed necessary for the company to do business and be competitive.
Sampling of Companies
There are many companies out there that are utilizing small networks these days to manage their companies. Some of the smaller travel agencies are setting up small networks to gain better use out of their resources. By setting up small networks they are able to use fewer printers within the office, gain quicker connectivity to the airlines and using this a tax write off, and provide better customer service.
Another example of a smaller network being used is a local doctor’s office. While many doctors have offices at a major hospital there are still doctor’s out there that like to have their own office with a few nurses and some office personnel. This type of environment would be a prime candidate to set up small network. The security issues here would be to make sure that the doctor can send in prescriptions to the pharmacy and that connection is not breeched. No matter what business you are in there is always someone trying to gain access to your network. If someone were to gain access to this type of business then they could get their hands on drugs rather easily. Network security would be a major priority for them.
Possible Future Trends
The nice thing about this particular installation is that it is using the leading edge of technology that best suites the companies needs. Since this network is based on a wireless connection we feel that the company would be best served to hire an administrator that could handle all of the potential security problems that might arise. With wireless networking still in its early stages as time passes systems will be created that will better secure these types of networks. Also by using IP technology over the phone system phones will act as a piece of the PC instead of a separate object. This kind of technology is also moving forward at a rapid pace, and it won’t be long until we are answering are phone on our PC. This will also incorporate video feed as well. So with the current infrastructure in place this company is set to grow with the potential future trends instead of stagnating in a pool of old technology.
Another important area we need to focus our attention on is a company web page. We will host the web page on one of their local servers. We will subcontract the design to another agency to ensure the page is professional and operational. This will allow our many customers to access information without contacting us. The systems administrator will maintain the web page and updates after it is launched. The idea behind the web page is to better service our customers, advertise the quality of work we do, and reduce the amount of phone calls we receive on a daily basis. Overall this is going to save the company money over the long term.
A quality web page is the key to additional business and global recognition. This company is trying to expand their overseas contacts and the Internet will allow them to do this and still maintain a smaller amount of employees. They will be able to provide that detail oriented quality to businesses out side of their local area. The time spent on creating this site as well as the additional money to maintain it will more than pay for itself. As each associate works with existing customers they will be able to show the new web page and hopefully get some more business contacts through word of mouth.