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Small Business Programs and Best Practice

Posted on 2013-01-18
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Last Modified: 2013-02-04
I need some help with opinions.
I recently started to work for a small company as a Network Administrator and now I find myself not knowing which programs are best to go with for some fundamental parts of the company.

Company Background:
30-35 employees
Windows Vista/7 (Business Edition) and MacOSX (10.7)

Most machines has been reformated tested for hardware problems and now have a standard image on them and all applications installed by me logged and updated by Group Policy. All users were removed from Administrator and set as Standard with the exception of a few that got approval.

Things I need solutions/opinions on:
A program that will alert me to hardware problems before they happen(Smart Mointor or Something).
I need software that will help me track and block applications running on a machine at any given time.
A program to filter website and TCP/IP traffic on Firefox, Chrome, and IE that can support wildcard filtering and category filtering for things like porn or known malware sites.
A chat program for internal and external chat on networks like XMPP, AOL, GTalk, and Facebook Messenger. (We currently use Pandion and Openfire but Pandion has its issues while Openfire works great)
A password manager like lastpass or roboform that has a MSI with Group Policy control and can integrate with Firefox, Chrome, and IE.

I would like it if all  the solutions offered can be controled by Group Policy and in the form of a MSI so they can be controled centrally.

As these questions may appear, I am new to the Network Administrator field and I find that all the books, tests, and teaching have not shown me a good enough path to take. Any help to the answers above will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
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Question by:ThermoDust84
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Expert Comment

by:Levi Gwyn
ID: 38793803
I can help with your third bullet item.  Use OpenDNS.  The base service is actually free and does not require any hardware on your end - just some simple router and DNS configuration.  A paid version will do much more granular filtering and reporting.

Check it out at http://www.opendns.com/
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McKnife earned 500 total points
ID: 38799317
Hi.

I recommend to make that 5 questions, not one. Those should be asked in the forums specializing in that matters. You will get better results because trying to answer 5 quite complicated questions in one will lead to a chaotic thread.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ThermoDust84
ID: 38852672
Remaking question as suggested.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 38852680
Thanks, but you could have closed this thread by accepting your own comment. Next time.
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