8 tools that make Microsoft shops run smoother

Little-known technologies that pack a big punch

  • [[xref:|Open IT Online]] is a plug-in for Firefox that allows you to open and edit your documents wherever you are. The extension allows you to also open and edit spreadsheets, presentations and image files.

  • [[xref:|Open VPN]] is a full featured SSL VPN solution that is easy to configure and manage. Because it is open source, it is also priced right for IT pros needing to add secure access on a budget.

  • [[xref:|Excito Bubba Server]] is a full featured Web-based server (running a Debian Linux distribution) that provides all the power of a full sized server in a small form factor. Bubba II adds Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 and eSATA connectors.

  • [[xref:|Windows 2008 Server Core Configurator]] is for those who want the security of Server 2008 core, but have not quite gotten used to the command line feel yet. Here is a GUI tool to help you configure your core server easily.

  • [[xref:|PolicyPak]] is a tool you can use to create Group Policy "Paks" that can manage apps like Acrobat Reader, Firefox, Skype. It handles all sorts of apps that currently are a nightmare for a network admin -- or require a ton of work in creating or customizing ADM templates.

  • [[xref:|Password Reminder Pro]] is a tool for monitoring and auditing passwords in an Active Directory environment. Password Reminder Pro provides alerts for expiring passwords both for internal and external users. The software offers a full reporting and alert system to help keep your organization secure and in compliance.

  • [[xref:|HiveWare for Word]] is a document collaboration tool for Microsoft Word that allows two or more users to edit an active document at the same time without interfering with each other. Hiveware for Word is an add-on that uses peer-to-peer technology to share documents that evolve in real time as users collaborates.

  • [[xrefL|ClipTraining]] is a flexible, task-oriented video training tool that users can easily alter in order to meet precise software training needs. ClipTraining offers a hosted training portal, internal portal hosted on your server or on the ClipTraining appliance CheeTAh. You can even create customized training clips.

  • IT has one unending need - good management tools. If you are a Microsoft shop, you face specific challenges to ensure all runs smoothly. That's why Ron Barrett has assembled this eclectic list. These tools solve a variety of issues including group policy management, training, password management, collaboration, remote connectivity and managing the new Windows Server 2008 core. What they all have in common is that they will make a Microsoft shop run better and the tools themselves require no fuss or muss to manage.

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