Security's Everyman

Security's Everyman

Monday, March 12, 2007

Small Business IT

Mitchell Ashley writes about how guys who work in IT for small companies often have to do it all.

SMBs face a unique challenge when it comes to IT. Frequently, there are only a handful or sometimes just one IT person (even part time for very small businesses) to support the entire organization. This includes all aspects of IT; desktops, printers, end user applications, servers, web and spam filtering, networks, VPN, security software and devices, telephones, voicemail system, data and voice connectivity, hardware and software inventory, software license tracking, and upgrades, to name a few responsibilities. That’s a very large domain to train, cross-train, and manage going concern or growing business.
Man can I relate. He has nailed it right on the head. I've exchanged a couple of emails with Mitchell, but I've never spoken to him, but you would think that we just finished talking about my job.

There is really little out there that makes life easy for small companies who are trying to maintain a network. There are lots of companies who are claiming that they have the answer, but so far all I've seen is solutions that are actually just one more thing to maintain. Often they create as much or more work than they save. Last week I posted about how having better tools would have made my life easier when it comes to detecting new devices on my network. I got lots of comments and email from all of you with all kinds of great suggestions for different tools to help with this problem. I really appreciate all the suggestions but my real problem isn't so much a lack of tools (although I don't have them; It'll make sense later) as it is the fact that many of them require more work than I have time to put into them or (as Rothman puts it) a lack of organizational understanding.

I have downloaded but not installed StillSecures alpha version of their new UNP product Cobia so I can't really talk about it, but I do hope that it does what they envision. Someone needs to do something to make life easier for those of us in the SMB space.


LonerVamp said...

I like to think about that in extremes. You've mentioned the first part where a smaller company needs one or two people who need to know a little (or a lot) about a ton of things.

But in a large corporation, you might only need to know how to troubleshoot Exchange mailboxes for people in the US, or just how to create AD accounts.

Mitchell Ashley said...

Andy, Thanks for the positive feedback on my SMB IT description. It really takes a unique blend of personal, professional, customer service, and technical talents to do that job. I've admired some really good people I've worked with that play this role and do it well.

Thanks for taking a look at Cobia too. Any feedback you have, please pass it along on the Cobia forums. Also, if it's easier, there are downloads for VMware on Windows or Linux too.


- Mitchell

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