RFP Checklist

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Ground control

Selecting the best wireless messaging solution for your organization requires a close look at your existing infrastructure and consideration of future needs. Here are some critical issues you'll want to answer first.

  • Which existing systems ' including e-mail, calendar, instant messaging, database and agency applications ' must the wireless messaging solution integrate with? Identify hardware platforms, operating systems and environments. Look for vendor experience in integrating those systems.
  • After determining the likely locations of users, the available wireless carriers in those locations and appropriate devices for those carriers, ensure that wireless messaging back ends support those devices.
  • Estimate the number of users, plan for growth in users and traffic per user.
  • Use the capabilities of existing systems. If your e-mail server can already handle wireless messaging, experiment with using that before investing in a separate wireless server.
  • Anticipate integrating wireless with other existing systems. Microsoft Exchange Server, IBM Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise are the main e-mail providers to deal with. The more systems a vendor supports, the better.
  • Ensure that wireless solutions support all current IT security standards, such as Advanced Encryption Standard or Triple DES encryption ' both end-to-end and on the device ' passwords, authentication, encrypted transmissions, single sign-on access, two-factor authentication, and directory and public/private key. Administrators should be able to disable or erase lost or stolen devices remotely.
  • Administrators should be able to establish policies for all devices, such as password standards and which third-party applications are allowed.
  • Wireless back ends should allow for various styles of management, including role-based administration or by individuals, address list or groups.
  • Determine whether you are dealing with a low-bandwidth or high-latency situation. Investigate ways the server can mitigate this, through compression, sending minimal data as a default and adjusting data transfers dynamically as the load changes.
  • Look for vendor experience in dealing with government compliance measures.
  • Make sure back ends support creating configurations for all supported devices. The more ways to provision devices ' such as a wireless channel, cradle, cable synchronization or a Web site ' the better.
  • Consider end-to-end solutions to limit troubleshooting of problems to a single vendor.

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