Tag : Organization

Awesome Note – Stay Organized

Organization is a necessity when it comes to keeping track of your day to day activities, as well as notes, information, or whatever items that keep you on track in your busy day. I use an app on my iphone called Awesome Note. It keeps all my important information in one easy to find location. It also allows me to quickly jot down new notes or task. Even great tool for shopping list and those daily “to do’s”. It even has a calendar with reminders. You can add photos to your notes either by taking a picture or from your storage of pics. Whats also cool is if you need to draw something, you can do that here as well.

http://www.bridworks.com/anote/en/iphone/features/index.php

Archiving Email–Some Considerations

Businesses live and die by email. Orders are submitted, proposals are sent, meetings are scheduled, and deals are made through email. So emails have a tendency to accumulate rapidly. No one wants to delete email because they like to have a record of the communication. There’s the fear that if you delete and old email you’ll need it later. It’s a security blanket of sorts. And some employees will use email as a default document management system, categorizing emails by client name, etc. These and other factors tend to contribute to large email stores, and large mailbox sizes.

Since data is expensive to store and backup, and accounts with large mailboxes can be more problematic to manage, not only can the uncontrolled saving of email become expensive to maintain, but it can also become a liability for the company.

Archiving Email

To technically solve this problem many companies will install an email Archiving solution. If they are using Microsoft’s Exchange 2010 an archiving solution is built into the product, Archiving email enables organizations to move older, or less accessed, emails out of the main data store and onto a less expensive, less accessed, storage solution. It doesn’t keep emails from accumulating, but it does control where they are stored and how they are managed. Typically, users can easily retrieve archived emails when they’re needed.

Using Hyperlinks

One of the foremost reasons why mailboxes grow in size quickly is ‘attachments’. Attaching documents to emails will quickly grow a mailbox store size. It will not only increase the growth of the mailbox sending the document(s) but also increase the size of all the recipients’ mailboxes.

If users have a need to collaborate on documents within an organization there’s a simple remedy for this problem: Hyperlinks. Instead of sending the documents themselves, send a hyperlink, which is a pointer, to the document. The recipient will be able to click on the hyperlink and pull up the document without adding it to their mailbox. This is also best practice for collaboration purposes because when hyperlinks are used everyone views and edits the same document, not copies of it. This means that everyone sees the final product, not an outdated copy of it in their email store.

Mailbox Size Limits

Most companies will impose mailbox size limits on employees. This process limits the overall size of a user’s mailbox and will force the user to archive or delete email to keep the size within the limits imposed. Various actions can be taken if the user fails to heed the mailbox size limit warning. One such action, once the mailbox has reached a specified size limit, is to inhibit the ability to send emails. The user may be allowed to receive them for a limited time, but their ability to send or reply is inhibited.

Other Considerations

In addition to the IT cost for maintaining large email stores, keeping old emails can be a company liability. For instance, if a company is legally required to produce old emails for a court case the discovery costs can be huge. This requirement can be forced upon a company by an ex-employee bringing a suit, or any one of other legal proceedings that require a company produce their archived communications.

To limit liability, and the cost of discovery, in this type of situation, most companies will establish an “Email Retention Policy”. That is simply a formal document that states how far back in time the company will keep emails. If such a policy is in place and published to employees, the company is not liable to produce anything older than the retention date.

In conclusion, not limiting email retention and not imposing mailbox limits are expensive. Companies that are not proactive in establishing policies executing them find that out the hard way.

Establish Standards for Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the latest hot trend in the IT world and among technology consulting companies.  To a point where almost every meeting I go on talks about this subject matter and does so in a very misinformed way.  The perception out in the marketplace is that the cloud is cheaper, more reliable, and secure.  That is simply just not the case unless the proper steps and procedures are followed.  When will we see cloud standards?  That is a really great question because the security questions of encryption and penetration capability still have not been addressed.  How reliable is the data in the cloud?

The protocol, data format and program-interface standards for using cloud services are mostly in place, which is why the market has been able to grow so fast. But standards for configuration and management of cloud services are not here yet. The crucial  standards for practices, methods and conceptual architecture are still evolving and we are nowhere close.  Cloud computing will not reach its full potential until the management and architectural standards are fully developed and stable. Until these standards are formalized and agreed upon there will be pitfalls and mishaps, which cannot take place.

The main premise of Cloud protocol is  TCP/IP.  The cloud usually uses established standard Web and Web Service data formats and protocols. When it comes to configuration and management, the lack of effective, widely accepted standards is beginning to be felt and I have seen the negative results.  There are several agencies and organizations working on cloud configuration and management standards, including the Distributed Management Task Force (www.dmtf.org), the Open Grid Forum (www.ogf.org), and the Storage Networking Industry Association (www.snia.org).

Currently there are, as of yet, no widely accepted frameworks to assist the integration of cloud services into enterprise architectures.   An area of concern is the possibility of changing cloud suppliers. You should have an exit strategy before finding a provider and signing a cloud contract. There’s no point in insisting that you own the data and can remove it from the provider’s systems at any time if you have nowhere else to store the data, and no other systems to support your business.

When selecting an enterprise cloud computing provider, its architecture should have the following:

• the cloud services form a stable, reliable component of the architecture for the long term;
• they are integrated with each other and with the IT systems operated by the enterprise; and
• they support the business operations effectively and efficiently.

Other groups that are looking to establish industry standards include the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (http://csrc.nist.gov), the Object Management Group (www.omg.org) and the Organization for Advancement of Structured Information Systems (www.oasis-open.org).