Design Consultancy – Network overhaul, security and workflow changes.

The client had a requirement to completely revamp their IT process with emphasis on workflow, security and backup. Working very closely with the client we came up with a set of workflow processes, computer management and a whole new user experience on the network. They have a totally Mac based network with a large studio of MacPros and MacBook Pros and iMacs in marketing, accounts and admin.

Over a few weeks I was left to handle all necessary installations of all hardware and software, I became embedded within the company to co-ordinate myself and to liaise with other staff about process refinements and schedules for change. As the changes were vast I was keeping all staff informed about changes that were about to be made, how it affected them and how they can use it to their advantage. I also participated in an internal company meeting where I demonstrated the new systems to all staff.

Any significant service downtime was done out of hours to ensure the company was still running as usual.

Freelance IT Project Manager

I took control over third-party suppliers so I could liaise direct with them for what was needed. This included the safe transfer of the company domain names, purchasing and investigating and ordering of a leased line internet connection.

I specified all purchases of the hardware and software and broke it down into summaries with different scenarios for the directors approval. Once approved I passed the shopping list on to suppliers for quotes. These lists get long and difficult to understand (even for the supplier) so I examined each part on the list to make sure the order was correct. Once delivered I made sure that everything was accounted for.

Throughout the project I was constantly in contact with their in-house IT Manager to help make decisions and also to train the IT Manager on the new systems.

Onsite Mac and PC Support London Client

Since the projects completion I have been providing on-site, remote and telephone support.

Highlights of the new features and processes:

• User Management and Authentication.

  1. All users have their own username and password centrally managed by Apple’s Open Directory server. Users now have to enter a username and password to access their computer.
  2. Elements of the users home directory (Desktop, Documents, Settings, Pictures) are automatically backed up to the server.
  3. Users can now move to different computers, as the data is stored centrally on the server they are now able to do so with the comfort of their own settings and data.
  4. If a computer breaks there is nothing to worry about as the user can logon to another workstation and be working immediately.
  5. Freelance staff can logon to any computer with their own username and password, great for sharing computers and desks.
  6. With each new project a server area (Share-point) is created for that project and certain access levels applied to it. Freelance staff are only given access to the projects that they are working on. There are common server areas to handle resources, transit and other non-confidential data.
  7. Confidential areas of the server have been created for project management, HR, Accounts and Marketing. These areas are only accessible by users who have been authorised through the Open Directory Server.

• Server and Network Upgrades.

  1. To support the changes an Apple Xserve running 10.5 (Leopard) Server was set up from scratch and upgraded to accommodate the following hardware upgrades:
  2. Xserve Raid with 7TB capacity for Data Storage.
  3. Sony AIT Tape 16 Slot Library System for Backup.
  4. Uninterrupted Power Supply.
  5. The network was also upgraded and replaced to a more reliable system.

• New Email Server.

  1. All in and out email is archived automatically and all user email is stored on the new Kerio email server. The Kerio email server also stores the users contacts (Address Book Synchronisation) and Calendars (iCal & CalDAV).
  2. The Kerio Mail Server is installed on a second Apple Xserve which is linked to the Open Directory. This means the username and password that is used for the users login is also the same on the Kerio Mail Server.
  3. The new email server enables users to keep email synchronised between multiple computers and also supports their iPhones.
  4. iPhone contacts, email and calendars are automatically updated or received with the server via wireless protocols. That means you do not need to keep plugging in your iPhone to get it to update a contact that you may have just added to your computer.
  5. With the iPhones ‘bound’ to the email server we are now also able to remote wipe the handset if it is lost or stolen.New Backup and Archiving Regime.With the new equipment we had to make some changes to the backup regime.The main file server will backup all company data, including email and databases.I arranged for a supplier to collect the backups on a weekly basis for safe off-site storage.

• Instant Messaging with iChat.

  1. All users are now automatically set up with an internal iChat account that is running on OS X Server internally. All users are able to have text, voice and video chat whether in the office or not.

• Netboot and Computer Installations.

  1. To speed up the installation of new or reinstalled computers I have setup the server to allow computers to boot from it.
  2. From here without using the desktop’s own hard disk you can run utilities on the desktop, repair the drive and reinstall the system, pre-configured. This means no software to install, printers or any-other setup.