Sometimes it's difficult to understand what we do. We've been trying to explain it to our parents for years, and they still don't quite get it. The best way is to give some examples of projects we've done.
Email Backbone DesignThe client is a major multi-national corporation with offices in many countries. As part of their growth, they've acquired many smaller companies and with them their diverse email systems. The client wants to migrate users to a Microsoft Exchange client/server solution, but this will take years. In addition, they are concerned about compatibility of Exchange with other Internet email systems, security, fidelity of attachments, directory synchronization, and management and monitoring.
Our solution was to design and install an email backbone and directory system which drew together email systems on 5 continents. Opus One consultants travelled to major data processing centers within the organization to install and configure mail backbone nodes. At each site, all of the diverse LAN-based and mainframe-based email systems were linked to the backbone. At the same time, the Internet connection was tightened down and secured to conform to company policy and good business practice.
Opus One consultants designed operations and management procedures for the backbone nodes, as well as software to assist in monitoring the email network. Over a period of months, continuing for almost a year, the backbone was brought on-line and over 55,000 users received new email addresses.
Opus One also provided training to system managers and end-user trainers on support and use of the new email backbone. The client took responsibility for the backbone monitoring and configuration during the cut-over phase.
Internet Information DisseminationThe client is a state legislature. With a huge internal network and massive existing data processing systems, the goal of this project was to bring the client to the Internet, and, at the same time, bring the Internet to the client. As a major provider of public information to citizens of the state, the client wants to use the facilities of the Internet to improve citizen access to information and interaction with legislators.
Our solution was to create a combination firewall and database server between the client network and the Internet. The firewall connected the client electronic mail network to the Internet, providing an easy-to-use and seamless way for end users to send and receive Internet email. At the same time, the firewall gave end users a way to make use of Internet information sources, including USENET News (and Clarinet) and the WWW.
Once the link from Internet to client was established, a series of WWW applications were created which translated internal legislative information systems into easy-to-use Internet applications. Citizens could interact with their legislators, find information about voting districts, identify their state legislators, and track current pending legislation. As a service to the citizens of the state, the Internet database server distributes tens of thousands of documents every day, including many via subscription-based electronic mail.
Opus One developed and delivered training courses, both to end users and to trainers, to help the client make most effective use of their new firewall. Opus One also trained client network and system managers to handle management, operations, and continuing development of the firewall and database server.
Opus One consultants, using the vision provided by the client, developed a new model for citizen/legislator interaction that has not yet been equalled. The face of public access to information has been permanently changed through this project.
Hardware TestingThe client is a major hardware manufacturer. They continually develop and introduce new products. Although internal quality assurance testing is important, the normal ranks of beta testers do not adequately insure that products are bug-free when they hit the streets.
Opus One was asked to evaluate hardware products developed by the vendor at the late Alpha/early Beta stage. Our involvement across multiple products included:
Email Backbone UpgradeThe client is a large non-governmental organization (NGO). They have been using a particular email backbone software product for years, but are now several revisions behind.
Opus One consultants went on-site with the customer to upgrade their software and configuration to the latest version of the software. Because Opus One has extensive experience with major email backbone packages, we were able to provide the correct revision and correct patch set to minimize downtime and delayed electronic mail.
As part of the installation, Opus One also provided performance tuning of the email backbone systems, assisted in updating the disaster recovery plan, and prepared a report which evaluated the current system and offered suggestions for cost-effective paths forward.
While on-site, Opus One also provided general training in the backbone software and in email management to the client staff.
Security Planning and InstallationThe client is a mid-sized manufacturing concern. They have an existing Internet connection but security concerns have them worried.
Opus One consultants worked with the client staff to develop a security policy for the entire organization, including:
Opus One met with the client management team to refine and tighten these policies, which were eventually approved as company-wide security strategies.
Then, Opus One led a product evaluation into firewall software and hardware solutions. Client staff evaluated products provided and configured by Opus One and eventually selected one for the corporate firewall.
Opus One installed the hardware platform and firewall software, configuring it to match the corporate security and auditing policies. Once the firewall was installed and operational, Opus One provided training to the client staff to transfer all further maintenance and support of the firewall in-house.
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