alt tag

Posts Tagged ‘intranet’


Putting Unused Computers Back to Work

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

There are many ways to reuse an old computer. Replacing an old computer that still works is a good feeling.   The device survived the replacement cycle. However, some desktops and laptops have the potential to lead second lives in the workplace. Re-assigning old devices to different jobs is a great way to save money and increase productivity. For instance, maybe it wasn’t cost-effective to buy a dedicated office server, but a retiring computer serves as a low-cost alternative. Some businesses also may want to avoid throwing out old devices to avoid regional computer recycling fees.

Draw inspiration from the following five ideas — these are just some of the many unique second-life uses for an old workplace computer.

1. Old Operating System Testing Computer 

Your business may keep its devices running modern operating systems and software, but there’s no reason to believe all your customers do the same.

An old computer running an old version of Windows is a great troubleshooting tool.

You may encounter customers who can’t get your site or online services to work and are running old software and hardware, so the dated computer will help confirm the problem exists and possibly identify an easy fix. However, keep security in mind with this old system and isolate it from your main network.

2. NAS or Office Server

An old desktop computer can be easily converted into an onsite mass storage solution as either a network-attached storage device or a local server. This device, which can be used to store backups and share files, is helpful for collaboration purposes. Setting it up is pretty straightforward, and your server can even take unused hard drives from other computers to amass plenty of space. Your office may have much to gain with a NAS device or local server.

3. Media Server

Similar to the office server solution, the retiring computer could be reused as a media server. This device can be helpful for creating a localized storage place for promotional videos, training information and other frequently accessed media.

4. Intranet Server

Medium-sized businesses looking to invest a little time into a more user-friendly server option should consider using the old computer as an Intranet server. Intranet servers behave like an inexpensive internal website.

5. Conference Room Skype PC

An old laptop with a functioning webcam can work well as an office conference room “Skype system.” The laptop stays in the conference room and is only used when someone needs to hold a teleconference. Because nothing else is running on the computer, it’s a hassle-free solution.

If your business wants to get the most out of the technology you purchase, the IT consulting experts at MPA Networks can guide you with an IT and Productivity AssessmentContact us today to learn more about our services.

Intranets and Small-To-Medium Business Productivity

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

finger-769300_640

Many small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) have taken to hosting their own intranet to increase productivity in the workplace. For those unfamiliar with the term, “intranet” is not a typo, but rather an internal network that behaves like a private Internet. At their core, intranets help businesses improve communication, boost collaboration, and organize important information in an secure, easy-to-access location.

Intranets are considered an inexpensive solution for providing streamlined access to information and services.

Ways to Use an Intranet

A versatile tool with no specific use, an intranet can be adapted to the jobs it needs to perform. Think of it less like a 10mm socket wrench, and more like a Swiss Army Knife.

An intranet often serves as a hub where businesses can: 

More advanced intranets can host complex applications like ticketing systems, customer relationship management systems, payroll management, time clock services, and benefits enrollment.

Designing Your Intranet

According to the Worcester Business Journal, businesses should determine who will be using the intranet, what purposes the intranet will serve, and what the security needs of the system are at the beginning of the design process. From there, your business should look at all necessary applications and hardware for the platform.

Security needs can vary greatly between intranet implementations: An outward-facing intranet that holds confidential information and can be accessed online will need a login system, data encryption, and user privilege controls. On the other hand, an intranet that is used exclusively for internal reference, and is only accessible in the office, won’t require much protection beyond a Wi-Fi password.

How to Test Drive an Intranet

Your business may not want to start big with an intranet and all its accoutrements. In this case, it’s possible to test drive the concept at low cost by building an internal reference website accessible only from your in-building network. Your business can re-purpose a recently replaced or unused desktop computer to act as a makeshift server for the site.

Install the free web server software Apache on the computer, and host a website. Your company can start with hosting basic HTML pages that have links to all the important documents, policies, and contacts employees need to access, and then move on to a more robust content management system like CMS Made Simple or WordPress. Employees can access the internal site through the web browser of any computer connected to the office network.

The experts at MPA Networks, in the San Francisco Bay Area, can help your business maintain and secure your intranet and network via our IT managed services. As your intranet grows, so may your server management needs. Contact us today to learn how MPA Networks can help your business increase productivity and improve IT security.