Online services can help office managers trim resource budgets

In spite of agencies’ enforced frugality, the costs of running an office continue
to climb. Managers looking for creative ways to cut costs can tap online resources for
some office services.


If you don’t trust e-mail for sensitive documents and you don’t want to give
outsiders access to internal systems via File Transfer Protocol or an extranet, look into
secure e-mail.


A turnkey, Web-based mail solution from docSpace Co. Inc. of Toronto can send and track
digital files of any type or size with guaranteed authenticity. It incorporates advanced
encryption and can be set up so that the recipient needs only a Web browser. The Canadian
Postal Service is using docSpace technology, and Microsoft Corp. reportedly has adopted
it, too.


DocSpace won’t pay off at once. It can cost a few hundred thousand dollars to set
up a multisite system. But eventually it could eliminate the need for physical delivery
services. Visit the site at http://www.docspace.com
  for details.


Another vendor in this market is NetDox Inc. of Deerfield, Ill., at http://www.netdox.com/.  NetDox can put United
Parcel Service branding on documents.


A less expensive secure e-mail solution comes from Elementrix Technologies Inc. of New
York City. Visit http://www.eastcoastsw.com.au.
 


Several companies specialize in replacing local hard drive storage with Web-based
equivalents. Using only a browser, users can launch rented applications or store documents
and databases on rented shared drives, adding or subtracting storage without system
maintenance worries.


A key player for this service is @backup at http://www.backup.com/.
  It specializes on hard drive and storage backup over the Web, including secure
transfer. DocSpace also offers such services.


But the frugal manager hunts for online research services that charge less.


Check out NetReference Inc. of Sterling, Va., at http://www.netreference.com.
 


It offers consulting services, and its online collections of white papers and articles
are valuable.


Some are free, some are in a subscriber area. An interactive decision tree gives
specific recommendations for building networks.


Another good online consultancy is Mainspring Communications Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.,
at http://www.mainspring.com. It houses a lot of
electronic commerce information and case studies.


Current Analysis Inc. of Springfield, Va., gives free trial subscriptions to its
technology reports, including one aimed at information technology managers. Visit http://www.currentanalysis.com/.


If your office is making the final push toward year 2000 readiness, visit http://www.year2000.com for a warehouse of consultant
and vendor lists, news, conferences and compliance information.


None of these sites will radically change the way you conduct business. But all of them
have the potential to shave a few dollars off the cost of handling information. n


Shawn P. McCarthy is a computer journalist, webmaster and Internet programmer for
Cahners Business Information Inc. E-mail him at smccarthy@cahners.com.

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