An IT Department in a Box

By Lauren Simonds | Posted June 04, 2004
Small businesses do have a few advantages over their larger cousins — they adapt to change faster, they aren't bound by as many regulations as larger companies, and they have less overhead — plus, the holiday party's cheaper. However, when it comes to IT support, small businesses usually don't have the money it takes to support an in-house IT department.

EmergeCore, a Boise, Idaho-based company offers a product designed for small businesses with up to 75 networked employees. The IT-500, a small box that looks like an external modem on steroids, provides a wide range of networking tools that are both affordable and easy-to-manage.

Small but Mighty


EmergeCore's IT-500
The small IT-500 provides big networking features for companies that don't have an IT staff.
The IT-500 fits easily next to your desktop — measuring 2.9 x 9.8 x 10.2 inches — yet it can handle over 12 networking functions that pretty much cover any network-related service a small business needs. Here's the breakdown of the its major capabilities:
  • File Sharing: Store files centrally and share access to them with other networked computers.
  • CRM: Manage your contacts, track business opportunities; generate sales pipeline and activity reports.
  • Traveler: Manage expense reports, use Smart Phone technology to manage itineraries, store airline, hotel, and rental car data.
  • E-mail: Configure the mailbox size for each employee, multiple aliases, uses common Internet standards such as POP 3 and IMAP, Web-based e-mail (sending and receiving).
  • Firewall: Choose from three pre-configured security levels: low, medium and high.
  • Networking: Easy configuration of hostname, primary domain, and DNS servers. Supports any number of IP addresses and uses Network Address Translation (NAT) to route internal networks to the Internet.
  • Save and Restore: Comes with 60GB of storage and, should data disaster strike, you and the IT-500 can restore the data — a potential cost-saver.
  • VPN: Lets workers securely access the network from off site and can also be used to connect to other networks. — no limit on the number of people who can connect to the VPN.
  • Web Server: Host your own company Web site.
  • Wireless LAN: The IT-500's 802.11g capability lets you connect to the network wirelessly.
  • Web Site Builder: Includes tools to build your own site.
  • Anti Virus and Spam Blocker: Scans all e-mail for viruses and automatically updates the latest virus definitions.

IT Degree

The It-500's graphic user interface
A friendly interface makes it easy to configure the IT-500's network settings.
The device offers a user-friendly GUI (graphic user interface) with easy-to-use management tools to set up and control the various features. According to the folks at EmergeCore, a non-technical person can configure the IT-500's network services in less than 15 minutes. Since the controls are Web-based, you can access them through any computer browser that's connected to the Internet — a handy feature if you need to maintain network services while away from the office.

For the more technically inclined among you, the hardware specs include: a VIA733MHz processor, 256MB SDRAM, a 60GB hard drive, a 15-port Hub switch,10/100 Mbps Ethernet, one WAN for up-link 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, and two USB 2.0, one PCMCIA and one nine-pin COM port connectors.

Worth a Look
Priced at $2,300, the IT-500 packs a lot of value for the price, and offers small business owners networking capabilities that are generally reserved for big companies with big budgets — not to mention a big IT department. If the lack of IT support has kept you from expanding your network capabilities, the IT-500 might just be what you're looking for.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor at SmallBusinessComputing.com

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

Comment and Contribute


     

    Get free tips, news and advice on how to make technology work harder for your business.

    Submit
    Learn more
     
    You have successfuly registered to
    Enterprise Apps Daily Newsletter
    Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date