Ahh, this is one of our specialities!
The big buzzword today -- rightly so -- is the Internet. The Internet is a huge, massively powerful network of networks. It will literally connect your organization to the world and give your employees access to huge amounts of information.
But that power comes with costs. For example, there are some people in the world I don't want contact with! I don't want my employees surfing gambling or porn sites when I'm paying for their time. I don't want to give the world access to my local network (LAN) if I connect my LAN to the Internet (a problem that is far more common than you think!).
While the Internet has some huge benefits, it also has huge risks. And Internetworking is a different beast than traditional networking -- just because I can hook up a printer on my LAN does not mean I'm qualified to hook my entire LAN up to the Internet. And even if I do hook my LAN up to the Internet, chances are strong that it isn't going to be secure.
Spartacus Systems can solve problems like this cheaply and affordably! Our preferred solution to Internet problems is not to use the Windows operating system (OS), an OS riddled with security holes and which typically costs well over $1000 to implement as a server solution. Our solution is to use an OS which was "born" on the Internet -- the free software GNU/Linux operating system.
For you as a customer, Linux interacts with your existing computers just as well as any other system (after all, on the Internet it doesn't matter what operating system you're using since the Internet is based on public protocols). But best of all for you, Linux solutions mean lower costs and increased reliability and security.
To give you an idea of some of our Internet solutions, consider these common problems which Spartacus Systems routinely solves:
Problem #1: You need a domain on the Internet because you want to have our own custom e-mail addresses and create a mailing list to stay in close contact with your customers. But you don't want to learn all the complex computer geek-speak and buzzwords and are not sure how to make this happen.
Solution: Don't worry, Spartacus Systems can speak geek-speak. We also know the fastest and cheapest ways to establish your organization on the Internet. We provide full Internet hosting and have a variety of hosting plans and, if needed, we can provide training on the solutions we implement.
Problem #2: You need a web site on the Internet but the costs involved in designing a web site are ridiculous. Plus, you don't want to pay an employee to constantly update the web site -- you need a way to easily post information on the web.
Solution: Now you're talking our language. We've worked with companies which have spent tens of thousands of dollars on web site design, only to wind up with a ho-hum "average" web site. To us, that's just foolish. Our preferred solution to web sites are to use "program-based" Content Management Systems (CMS) to quickly establish a custom, dynamic, and functional web site and to allow any novice computer users to easily update the site.
If you will, take our Spartacus Systems web site here. We can completely change the color schemes and look (themes) with about 5 mouse clicks -- literally! Anyone, and we mean anyone, can post news onto this site. A typical secretary can "administer" the web site and function as webmaster -- it's that easy. And best of all, because this is based on free software, the costs of creating such sites are extremely affordable -- you only pay for our time to set this up and configure it, a time measured in hours or days, not weeks!
Admittedly, our CMS solutions are not for everyone (we can also do full non-program-based web sites, but we warn you that the costs may be prohibitive). But if you want an easy, cheap, customized presence on the Internet, we can do it for very little money. And we can also host your web site and/or mail systems on remote, high-speed, powerful servers to ensure that your site is rarely, if ever, down. And the cost of this hosting? It's about the same cost as a regular dial-up Internet account. See our hosting plans for more details!
Problem #3: You need to connect my entire network to the Internet but only have a dial-up modem line (or a too-slow high-speed data line; it makes little difference).
Solution: For dial-up lines, we can implement a GNU/Linux server to automatically dial out to the Internet when you need it to. This solution will provide firewall security and routing (and other capabilities) too. And the solution is smart enough so if there is no traffic to/from the Internet in X amount of minutes, the server will automatically hang up the phone line. (We can also easily link your network into the Internet with a high-speed data line too.)
Problem #4: I don't want to be big brother, but I would like to keep a log of which web sites my people travel to.
Solution: We can implement a free software Linux solution which uses a proxy server to keep a log of web access. And/or, we can also implement a filtering system which can block Internet access to porn/gambling (etc.) sites. No filtering solution is perfect but we can eliminate the vast majority of problem sites. And we can implement these solutions for $0 software cost and only the time to install/configure the system.
Problem #5: Since I only have a slow Internet line and I have a dozen (or more/less, makes no difference) people using it, I need to speed up my Internet access.
Solution: We can implement an Internet object cache solution for $0 software cost. This system works like this: the first time someone goes to a web site, the entire site will be downloaded through your slow Internet line. But the next time someone goes to that same web site, only the changed parts of the web site will be downloaded. This typically reduces Internet "bandwidth" usage by 1/3 or more and you'll see a distinct speed increase.
Problem #6: Our company has our LAN hooked up to the Internet and everything works okay. However, we have a suspicion that our security is not what it should be and we're worried about people cracking our computers.
Solution: We can quickly and easily check your networks out and analyze them for security problems. A quick check is inexpensive and will ensure that there are no easy-to-exploit security problems. We can also do more extensive security testing but for many small organizations, this generally is overkill and a waste of time and money. Rest assured, Spartacus Systems can help identify problems and protect your resources from crackers.
Problem #7: I need to access my work network from at home using the Internet.
Solution: This is a common request and can easily be solved using a virtual private network (VPN). The caveat here is that there are serious security concerns to be aware of! If you recall, some time ago a cracker broke into Microsoft's corporate networks and operated for weeks without being detected -- that cracker came in through a VPN. Again, this is an easy task, but you really need to know the pros and cons before implementing such a system.
These are a few examples of common internetworking problems and represent just a few of the ways we can solve them. If you don't see your area of concern above, or if you have questions about issues your organization is experiencing, don't hesitate to contact us today!
And remember, at its core Spartacus Systems is a consulting company. We have no conflict of interest in selling you a particular service. We deal with companies who provide good service for cheap prices. If you don't like one of the companies we recommend, we can work with others. As a consulting company we don't own your resources. We instead provide integration services and support for your organization.
This gives you unique advantages. For example, if we work with you to set up an Internet site for your organization and you later decide that Spartacus Systems isn't the best company for you to deal with, you retain complete ownership of your site and you can easily have another company assist you in maintaining your Internet site -- you can swap Spartacus Systems out at will. This means we have to constantly work to keep your business, and it also means that you're not "locked in" to us as a solutions provider.
Again, don't hesitate to contact us to talk about your needs. We're sure you'll appreciate the honest, straight talk and that you'll be thrilled at the ways Internet problems can be solved cheaply and easily.