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Readers Review Hot Products - 28 Jun 2007

Build Applications on SharePoint
CorasWorks Workplace Suite

In my work with the US Marine Corps (USMC), I was involved in reevaluating day-to-day business processes and methods of collaboratiom. We came to the realization that the USMC collaborated and performed day-to-day business processes using just email. We decided to move the USMC's business processes from email to CorasWorks Workplace Suite so we could more easily manage projects, automate processes, and create custom solutions.

Workplace Suite completely changed how the Marines do business and empowered us to modernize our business processes. For example, the Marines have a program called the Urgent Universal Needs System (UUNS), which is the process Marines in the field use when they desperately need a piece of equipment they don't have in order to accomplish their mission. Before CorasWorks Workplace Suite, the UUNS approval process consisted simply of a Microsoft Word document attached to an email message. Using CorasWorks, we moved data onto SharePoint, and Workplace Suite's charting capabilities let us track the number and status of UUNS requests. CorasWorks also lets Marines push email messages to the appropriate people.

I like solutions built for people who have average skill sets—I avoid products that require extensive IT knowledge and expertise. CorasWorks has the same philosophy, and Workplace Suite lets us create our own solutions on top of SharePoint even though we're not IT gurus. CorasWorks extends what you already know about SharePoint and builds on what you already have.

Reader: Ronald Simmons
Director of knowledge management, US Marine Corps
CorasWorks Workplace Suite
Contact:, 703-797-1881 or 866-580-3115

Learn to Solve Ad Problems
O'Reilly Media's Active Directory Cookbook

Many of the books on Windows Server 2003 and Active Directory (AD) are very good, but Robbie Allen's Active Directory Cookbook (from O'Reilly Media) is the best book I've ever read. The book has many "recipes"—procedures for doing certain AD tasks—using commands fired from the command prompt, Visual Basic (VB) scripts, or a GUI console.

There's also a lot of invaluable information about the architecture of AD. For example, I learned why the password and account lockout policies are domain-wide: They are attributes of the domain object (domain class). I also learned how to easily increase the AD quota that limits the number of machine accounts end-users can add. The quota information resides on the domain object in the ms-DS-MachineAccountQuota attribute, which has a default value of 10, but you can change that value to whatever value you like by using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) ADSIEdit.msc snap-in. Other invaluable information I learned was how to move computer accounts from one container to another by using the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, the Dsmove command, or a VB script. What differentiates this book is the under-the-hood information in it and the alternative methods it provides for accomplishing AD tasks.

Reader: Murat Yildirimoglu
Active Directory Cookbook
O'Reilly Media
Contact:, 707-827-7000 or 800-998-9938

Put Security at the Heart of the Network
High Tower Software's High Tower SEM 3210

As the enterprise security coordinator for the Idaho Tax Commission, I led our security team on a major project to replace the entire infrastructure of our network. Because we were responsible for complying not only with state requirements but also with Internal Revenue Service requirements, it was essential that security be at the heart of the network. We needed a security event management (SEM) solution that could collect, correlate, and analyze data from all devices in our network. Also very important to us was minimizing the amount of time spent managing the solution so we could put our existing human resources to better use.

We purchased High Tower Software's High Tower SEM 3210 appliance and put it at the center of our new network. The appliance correlates and analyzes data from devices around the network, alerting us to potential problems and letting us target our resources at legitimate concerns instead of spending time reviewing tons of data manually. What helped separate High Tower Software from the competition was its uncomplicated licensing scheme (some vendors require a license for every host that you collect data from) and its overall understanding of security and our unique requirements.

Reader: Glenn Haar
Enterprise security coordinator
High Tower SEM 3210
High Tower Software
Contact:, 949-330-3080 or 877-448-6937

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