January 14, 2012, 7:04 AM — As a Baptist pastor, Terrill Gilley says his work calls for him to help worshippers and provide support to the senior pastor at his Florida church located in a rural area outside Orlando. And oh, he's also the network administrator for the church and the school it established.
"When I took over for the guy who left, we had 10 users sharing a network," says Gilley, who has education in theology but picked up knowledge about information technology mostly as he went about expanding the network for NorthRidge Church and Christian Academy in Haines City, Fla., over the past five years. It's now wireless, connected to a wireline backbone supporting about 300 students and teachers in the school and the church, with Internet access, email and applications for school administration. His humble title as net admin doesn't fully describe his role, which includes network design and configuration, vendor negotiations, security and trouble resolution.
Budget constraints precluded NorthRidge from bringing in full-time IT staff, but Gilley appears to be rising to the challenge as he makes information-technology choices based on the budget and approval process in the church. Gilley, who administers passwords to students even as he ministers to the church flock, acknowledges he's glad to be able to make use of cloud-based services for some things.
Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) offering has been useful, especially with its special pricing for not-for-profit organizations at $2.50 per mailbox per month. "It's been reliable, and includes Forefront security built-in," Gilley says. But he's not looking forward to the migration to Microsoft's updated platform, Office 365.
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