I have been playing a lot with FOG and Squid with Dansguardian alot recently. They are really good systems for open source software, I have been to and worked in schools, colleges and universities who pay thousands of their pounds for services like these.
I was thinking about and would like some opinions on contacting local schools and colleges etc and offering to install these kind of systems for a small fee, they could even buy a suitable server from me if they havent already got one.
Might be a long shot but these kind of system could really benefit, especially FOG.
Probarbly a stupid Idea but I'm trying to come up with a few ideas to start up my own IT business that is diffrent from the ones we have locally.
Whats your opinions ??
You would probably find that the majority of the schools in the UK have the internet filtered by the ISP or the council. Allot of school dont have control over filtering.
Also to be honest myself i would prefer using a good commercial product such as smoothwall or websense. Its a product the company is dedicated to and is more likely to catch proxy sites.
Filtering is a touchy subject - as the current crop of products in use by schools mostly follow a set of rules set out by Becta. Systems such as Squid+Dansguardian, while good, are not as effective as these commercial solutions - simply because the lists that they make use of are not as complete compared, say, to Smoothwall's.
Also, most filtering is done at the ISP side, rather than the school side, meaning that the added expense of a server would put many schools off. Think of a server as a consumer of electricity, air conditioning and time. Its an investment that requires a lot of effort to keep running.
One way you could get into allot of good books/contact books is offering this information free on the web eg images ect, then allow people to buy pre configure hardware from you ect. Yes it means giving stuff away free but it'll raise your online profile and people are more likely to trust your products if they've already tried them for free and they've liked them.
Squid-with-DansGaurdian already has a commercial version - SmoothWall, which you'll find hard to beat. I think the self-contained FOG server is a good idea, though - someone started a thread the other day about running a packaging service, packaging applications up as MSIs, but you could just as well run a service doing a managed FOG server. One of those HP MicroServers would be just the ticket, too - find a "white label" dustributer who will ship (and support) the hardware for you, you supply the software and updates.
Originally Posted by cpjitservices
Sounds like a great idea - but why charge schools for installing something when you can sell them the software and charge them for the installation.
You'll probably make more money in the end if you get into the lucrative licensing game. I mean look at the big boys; capita, RM etc.
Give it a go and see what happens. :)
The only danger is if you sell your time to set them up, you'll also be expected to provide support for said boxes which can then start to eat into your time, so make sure you price your time sensibly. I charge businesses a minimum of £40 per hour for my time, some of that is account for the fact that I know I usually end up making at least 1 non-chargeable return visit to fix those last few problems or issues.