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How Open Source Can Benefit Your Business

November 27, 2012 Chris Fairey

Open Source Software can help your business achieve more with your limited budget.

Due to the fact that using Open Source Software costs nothing, as the software itself is free to download and use, the only costs involved in implementing an Open Source solution lie in any customisation and user training that you require.

Flexibility

As you have a right to access the source code for any Open Source solution you implement, making changes to how the application works, so that it fits your business model is very easy.

Many Open Source applications, like WordPress, that powers our website, have many plug-ins that can be installed to extend or change the functionality of the application to suit your exact needs and, if a plug-in doesn't already exist to perform the task you need, they are usually fairly easy to develop.

Security

As many Open Source applications are developed by teams of people, and you have access to the source code, the chances of major security issues remaining hidden inside an application, waiting for the exact conditions to trigger them, are a lot smaller than in proprietary systems, where only a limited number of people have seen and audited the source code.

Also, should a security issue arise in the future, the developers will often quickly take steps to address the issue and release an updated version of the software to remove the security vulnerability. Many closed-source applications only have security issues fixed in their next planned version, which often requires you to pay for an upgrade.

A Solution to Almost Any Problem

Open Source solutions exist for almost any conceivable problem you business may be facing:

Need a Customer Relationship Management system? There are several Open Source options available, that you can implement for a fraction of the cost of many closed-source systems.

Need to extend or replace your ageing telephone system? Asterisk, the Open Source Communications Platform, can be configured to act as a PBX, while giving you additional features normally only found in the most expensive proprietary solutions.

Want to replace your router with a more effective firewall or implement a VPN? There are many Open Source firewall solutions available, some of which have features you would only find in the most expensive enterprise-level hardware devices.

Want to implement secure Instant Messaging within your company? There is an Open Source Instant Messaging protocol, that has been adopted by many organisations (including Google, who use it as the basis for their Google Talk chat service) that gives you the ability to run your own encrypted Instant Messaging server so you can safely share sensitive data with people both inside and outside your company, in real-time.

These are just a few issues you may be dealing with in your company, that have readily available, mature Open Source solutions that you can implement today.

If you have a problem that I haven't covered here, chances are there is an Open Source solution to it, and I would be more than happy to discuss it with you, so get in touch, and see how Open Source can help your business thrive in the current economic climate.

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