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9/27/2007
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IT Survival Guide

The basics on how to get through your next technology project. Come up to speed quickly on network access control, open source, virtualization, VoIP, and more.

It was a cold, dark night when a weary IT professional opened the e-mail from her manager with the news: She was being pulled from the Exchange upgrade project and redeployed to work on a new voice-over-IP system, which would serve as a key component in a long-term plan for unified communications.

Sound familiar? We've all been there--asked to come up to speed quickly on technologies outside our expertise and experience. For every IT staffer and manager stuck in this situation, InformationWeek has created this Survival Guide. Tuck it away for the next time you get asked about network access control, open source, or virtualization. We've highlighted the opportunities for cost cutting and innovation and the keys to success. It's meant to help get you through the next business technology storm, because you can be sure it's coming.

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Survival Guide
Virtualization:
With Virtual Machines, Management Is Key
Do a deep dive review of your current servers to identify early candidates for virtualization, make sure everyone involved agrees on goals, and update internal policies to reflect this new world order.
Enterprise 2.0:
Underpinnings Are Key To Web 2.0 In The Workplace
These new technologies promote communication and collaboration, but they aren't all right for business. Here's what to watch for.
NAC:
NAC Success Depends On A Solid Foundation
To succeed with network access control, lay the groundwork. Develop policies and inventory your current security infrastructure to maximize integration.
VoIP:
Voice Over IP Makes Convergence Possible
Want efficient and effective business processes? VoIP is the base on which advanced communications systems like UC and FMC are built.
Data Centers:
Build An Automated, Modular Data Center
Get off the one-off treadmill--today, standardization does not have to mean inflexibility.
Open Source:
Exercise Caution Amid Open Source Options
Open Source software is generally reliable, but GPLv3 can cause problems. Here are ways to avoid pitfalls.
SaaS:
Software As A Service Requires Diligence
Here's how to decide if the siren's call of SaaS will lead to better service for users--or a hard landing on the rocky coast of broken dreams.
Online Exclusive
Business Intelligence:
Get Smart About Business Intelligence
Standard tools and appliances have lowered the barriers to data analysis.
IT Budgets:
The Art Of IT Spending
Business alignment, ROI, and careful vetting are the keys to success.
Outsourcing:
Outsourcing's Advantages
Offshoring can cut costs dramatically, extend support and capabilities, and provide hard-to-find expertise, but careful management is the only way to ensure success.

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