Arby Fields: Computing, Networking, And Information Technology Hardware and Software Recommendations
Fields Comprehensive Youth Services Inc. (FCYS) is a small nonprofit company based in southern California that serves adolescent male who are dependent and delinquent minors. FCYS has thirty employees. This study addresses the computing needs of the organization including hardware and software requirements as well as requirements for information technology security in the organization.
The purpose of this study is to identify computing hardware and software requirements for Fields Comprehensive Youth Services, Inc. In addition to the requirements of the organization for information technology security to protect the system chosen for implementation. This organization is presently utilizing four desktop computers purchased in 2005. The organization needs to purchase a solution that will accommodate future needs of cloud computing and to enable internal file sharing among multiple client sites. Another problem the organization faces is the manner in which documents are saved and stored. As well, the organization has a need for a higher-level of protection of its information technology. Finally, there is the need for maintaining the internal system and the liaison with service providers, security, updates, and future planning apart from the maintenance of the system.
I. Computing and Software Requirements
Microsoft Office 2003 remains a viable solution for Fields Comprehensive Youth Services Inc. (FCYS). However, with the increasing reporting and file sharing requirements of state and local agencies and the ability to share files between multiple client sites, FCYS may need to consider a change from its existing system to accommodate future needs such as upgrading Office 365. Office 365 is a subscription-based service relying heavily on cloud computing. This would allow FCYS to share files internally and externally with their supporting agencies. It is recommended that the company upgrade its systems to Office 365 because of the improved cloud capabilities, and minimize the use of obsolete systems. FCYS currently utilizes Microsoft Office 2003 with a Windows XP operating system. The current system configuration does not have sufficient memory, processor speed or storage capacity to accommodate Office 365. FCYS would have to upgrade its operating system to Windows 7 and would need to acquire the Dell OptiPlex 3010 desktops that I previously recommended for the hardware upgrade. According to Microsoft experts with the installation of Windows 7, the system requirements for using Office 365 are not different from those required to run our current versions of Office 2003 ("Software Requirements for Office 365," 2013). Furthermore, "Office 365 will now support POP and IMAP connections to Outlook 2003," which refers to emailing. This means that FCYS would not have trouble with their internal or external communications. Microsoft Office 365 is slated to replace previous versions rapidly, as the company is "imploring customers to switch" to more advanced operating systems and Office suites (Bright, 2013). Moreover, Microsoft is phasing out support for Office 2003 with upgrades to Office 365 (Osgaard, 2011). This means that the transition should be accomplished as soon as possible as to avoid any problems related to warrantees and technical support. It is recommended that FCYS make the transition to Microsoft Office 365. Their existing systems can handle the upgrade, which is not necessarily more system intensive. With Office 365, they can utilize more of the collaboration tools because Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription-based service rather than a one-time purchase. Moreover, the new Office suite operates on a cloud-based system with features than enable greater integration with mobile devices. The cloud-based system will greatly benefit FCYS by streamlining workflow, permitting employees to work from home, and making it much easier to collaborate and communicate with clients as well as each other. The latest version of Microsoft Office works differently than previous versions because it is subscription-based. Because of this feature, the latest version of Office ensures that FCYS will remain up-to-date at all times. If they upgrade now, FCYS can ensure a smooth transition to the future of communications, productivity, and collaboration software. Because FCYS has the capability to upgrade, and because they are a future-oriented company, the shift to Office 365 is recommended.
II. New System for Storing Data
A single "My Documents" folder is usually sufficient for individuals or very small companies. When file management concerns grow, however, it becomes necessary to reconsider the methods and means by which files are stored and shared across a network. Sharing files raises questions about security and access. A "My Documents" folder, however, is outmoded for this organization primarily because it does not allow for scalability. The organization in question has grown considerably. Employees need regular, secure, and reliable access to files, and cannot afford to lose any data. This proposal for change makes some suggestions as to how the organization can improve its file management system. File management is a central concern for organizations like this one. Employees need to have a simple but robust solution, which will facilitate workflow in a way that retains core security parameters that safeguard the data. There are several possible solutions, because there are a lot of software applications that can address the needs of the organization. Many are easy and inexpensive to integrate with the current systems used in the organization. A simple solution is the best one to implement immediately because there will be a small learning curve for employees, reducing the transition time between using the My Documents system to using the new system. There will also be minimal to no data loss. Microsoft offers some suggestions for companies running Windows software on their enterprise systems. These suggestions are basic and not much different from what the organization is currently doing ("File organization tips: 9 ideas for managing files and folders," n.d.). However, there are some suggestions such as subfolder naming and shortcutting that might be handy to learn. The best solution to the company's long-range needs for file management and sharing, however, are in the Cloud. There are a lot of cloud-based solution to enterprise-level file management and sharing. One of the most reputable, common, and popular is Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/). Dropbox takes care of several problems with one easy-to-use solution. It allows for file sharing that is secure, given that permissions for each folder can be customized. Moreover, the service is inexpensive and seamlessly integrates with existing systems. It is also a cross-platform solution, with mobile computing capabilities as well. Dropbox is the best solution for the business's current needs to immediately upgrade its file management practices. It is necessary to future-proof the company, and Dropbox provides a surprisingly simple means of doing that. By storing the actual data on Dropbox's servers, the company needs only to keep a regularly updated backup for emergencies. The daily access of files for work will be through Dropbox, and all files are instantly available to all employees no matter where they are or whether they are traveling. Also, there is no fear of misplacing files. Dropbox is a preliminary solution to the challenge of file management for a large organization. A cloud-based technology, Dropbox has an enterprise pricing package that is attractive and eliminates the need to train employees due to ease of use and implementation.
III. System Protection
Recent changes in the organizational structure of the IT system has left open needs for adjusting practices in order to address new demands of protection. The organization has recently made the move from a standalone system to a network-based one, which facilitates greater cooperation and collaboration within the company and increasing overall productivity. A network-based system provides a more flexible structure to still function within a diverse and multifaceted environment. It does so by the fact that within its structure, "communication between components is restricted to message passing, or the equivalent of message passing is a more efficient mechanism can be selected at runtime based on the location of components" (Fielding, 2000). Network-based systems allow communication and dissemination of information to occur seamlessly without lag. This then further empowers individual employees of the organization with greater technological tools. The research suggests that "network-based systems are those capable of operation across a network, but not necessarily in a fashion that is transparent to the user," but rather as an automatic process that increases the ease and productivity of each user while working on the system (Fielding, 2000). As such, it comes with a wide variety of benefits to increase the productivity and efficiency of the organization. However, with the implementation of a network-based system also comes with a host of new threats and challenges, both internal and externally based. There are a number of external threats that now put the organization in danger based on its new IT structure. For one, introduction of viruses, spyware, and malware can now be much easily spread throughout the organization at a much faster speed (Cisco 2012). Network-based structures increase the autonomic nature of much of the security involved; when the security is not good enough to recognize hidden risks on its own, malware could get through its initial firewalls and then spread like…