ImageIf you’re a consultant with an ever growing list of clients, you’ll see the benefit of this software.

Web Help Desk is a web help desk software packaging that will allow you to track support tickets from clients. It’s server software installs fine on a Mac and has a lot of great options. (Email to ticket conversion, Knowledge Base, etc.)

The best part about it is if you are doing your consulting solo, you can run a single license copy of Web Help Desk free of charge. It’s when you have more than one tech support engineer that the licenses start costing money.

If you’d like a copy of the software (and instructions on installing) you can get it here.

ImageWe recently had a customer send in a Mac mini for their business data retention. I asked him to share a bit more with me to share with other customers.

In summary, he told me that because of the recent FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) changes, he knew his company needed to be better about keeping full archived of all their email. It’s not enough to have nightly backups to disk or tape. He said, “What if I received an email from a customer and then delete the email. By the time the nightly backups run, that email will have come and gone. We needed something more thorough.”

He told me that in their mail server, they have the option to send all mail to a specific address. This would include all mail coming to their users, as well as mail that is sent from their servers. They decided to send a copy of all mail to macmini@businessdomain.com. Then, on the Mac mini they have in our data center, they have an account in Mail that is set up with POP retrieval of that email address. So everything is downloaded from the server and stored on the Mac mini in our data center. He also has that Mac mini cloned to an external drive here.

He said that there are a lot of other options out there for archiving mail, but he chose this option for three reasons.

First, the mail will be stored on their own hardware so they know it’s available and no one else has access to the email history.

Second, Using Mail.app gives you the benefit of spotlight searches. One of the new rules according to the FRCP is that the data should be searchable so quick and easy retrieval is possible for civil litigation.

Finally, he chose this way so hid email archives would be in a different physical location than his email server. He didn’t want his email server to also act as the archive to avoid loss from fire, theft, etc.

He also uses the Mac mini for archiving iChat transcripts in a similar way.

If you’re a business owner, it’s become quite critical to pay attention to data retention. Google has provided two great white papers on the FRCP changes and how best to align your company with the new guidelines. (I’ve made both available in a zip file here.)

ImageSome of the more popular webmail installs (Horde, SquirrelMail) are a bit slow and not very good looking. Yesterday I installed RoundCube and was very impressed. It really behaves like an online application and looks wonderful. It’s responsive and quick with searches.

Roundcube is quite easy to install and runs on a standard PHP/MySQL configuration. Change a few lines in the code, create a database and you’re ready to go.

You can download the projects at the Roundcube project page and the install instructions are there too.