2016-06: External Services and Consultants

Location:  The Working Centre 58 Queen Street South, Kitchener, ON (plan)
Date: June 13th, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM

What sources do you provide in-house? What do you outsource and why? Office 365? Web services? Email? Phone services? Other things?
What are the pros and cons of hosting these services internally versus getting somebody else to do them? What factors do you consider when outsourcing a service?

How do you deal with people providing external IT services to your organization? How do you interact with consultants and other external service providers effectively?


July 29: System Administrator Self-Appreciation Day

Locking Down Lab Machines

– Use Group Policy to prevent what users can do?
+ Group Policy Orchestrators (there is one by Symantec?)
– Software Restriction Policies
– Virtual machine rollbacks?
– System Restore on a regular basis?
– Reimaging machines?

What do you outsource? Why?

– Bringing in expertise we are not familiar with
+ Active Directory health
– Services that should be on the Internet
+ Hosting web servers
+ Running email servers on the Internet

– Switching from internal Exchange to Office 365
+ Offload responsibility from local server
+ Makes it easier to maintain
+ Free for nonprofits and featureful (Exchange, Sharepoint)
+ Easy to deploy
+ Good spam filtering
+ Can use it with Outlook
+ E1 gives you 1000 users
+ But you have to get on-premise Office if you don’t want to use the webapps
+ Skype for Business
+ The host does updates
+ Has backups built in (but you may have to contact Microsoft for restores)
+ Can you divorce? Can you switch providers?
+ OneDrive for Business had some issues initially
+ Workers can work from home using a single login
+ You can have one copy of a document with many different versions (so that you don’t have copies floating around)
+ Maybe you can dissuade people from emailing documents around?

– Web hosting
+ Better uptime
+ Can use shared hosting or VPS services
+ Outsource content management

– Web design
+ REEP had somebody design their CMS (WordPress)
+ Was on budget and people were happy
+ Their website designer does maintenance
+ Regular communications people can do updates

– How to choose a website designer?
+ Have a matrix of criteria, brought together by staff
+ They found designers via word of mouth?
+ All the designers were local
+ Who does the wordpress updates? It is internal?

– Cellphones/phone service outsourcing
+ Some people do phone service in house
+ Brendan supports people getting email on their cellphones
+ Windows 10 wants to unite all devices
+ It will allow you to wipe specific company content (and leave the rest?)

– LibreOffice is releasing an online version
+ It is released by Collabora
+ The official release is a month from now?

– There is also https://wiki.enterpri…­
+ Requires lots of resources to run the server

– OwnCloud is having a schism!
+ They are making NextCloud
+ NextCloud will be distributed instead of monolithic

– Outsourcing developers (web, databases, …)
+ Most things we develop tend to be web apps
+ How do you open up permissions?
+ Do you want to give the keys to everything?
+ You want access controls
+ What data do they get access to?
+ How do you deal with people leaving? Who does the maintenance?
+ You want a culture of collaboration so that developers can talk to in-house staff
+ Maybe distributed workflow (version control, pull requests) can help
* But who sets this infrastructure up?
+ How can outsiders contribute to the infrastructure safely?

– When you outsource, the contractor can’t make big systematic changes and the internal people have outsourced the work
+ Cleaning up technological debt takes planning and could cost a lot

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