Quocirca’s Changing Channels Few small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have the luxury of managing their different IT requirements separately. Often a single person, with responsibility for IT, will have to cope with everything and it may not even be their primary function. All the better then if they can single source their requirements from a reseller or IT supplier.
IT vendors try to exploit this need by offering all singing, all dancing bundles. A popular software bundle is Microsoft’s Small Business Server (SBS), a collection of packages ready to install on a hardware server. Depending on the edition you buy it includes; email management, collaboration tools, an SQL database, a firewall and virtual private networking (VPN).
But SBS doesn’t cover all the needs of SMBs; it requires additional components to make it a fully safe and secure environment. Two that are missing are content security and backup/recovery software – the former to protect against viruses, worms, trojans etc. and the latter to ensure recovery is possible from a hardware failure. To this end, hardware vendors like HP and Dell, which sell some of their servers with SBS preinstalled, also make available additional products to help plug these gaps.
HP has just released a new range of ProLiant servers branded “Business Protection”. These are shipped with SBS and a range of content security products from Symantec. The backup component is missing, but that could easily be added by a reseller using products such as Computer Associates’s ARCserve or Veritas’s Backup Exec.
This is all well and good for selling to a customer, who happens to need a new stand-alone server, but many SMBs fail to adequately protect their existing environments and often these are not exclusively based on Microsoft operating systems. In the real world many SMBs need to protect multiple servers running a range of operating systems, including new and old versions from Microsoft as well as Linux, UNIX and older legacy stuff.
Resellers can address this requirement by pulling together the components from specialist vendors who are able to secure and protect these heterogeneous environments. This could include, for example, content security from Symantec and backup products from Veritas – two companies that are seeking approval for merger anyway and are likely, if it goes through, to have a single offering for SMBs at some point in the future.
But if dealing with multiple vendors is too inconvenient, resellers and SMBs do not have to bother waiting for Symantec and Veritas to sort themselves out. Computer Associates has had backup and security products under one roof for years and already sells them bundled together under the brand name “Total Protection”.
Whatever resellers recommend to SMBs, or SMBs seek out for themselves, a holistic strategy to make IT safe and secure, will give the managers of SMBs peace of mind, and let them focus on their businesses, rather than worrying about their use of IT.
Bob Tarzey is a service director at Quocirca, specialising on the route to market for IT products and services in Europe. Quocirca is a UK-based research and analysis firm with a focus on the European and global markets for IT.
SMEs play IT fast and loose
Small.biz gets the virus jitters
Small.biz gets more spam
Small businesses improving email security
Small.biz goes a bundle on SBS 2003?
UK preps major security awareness campaign
Cisco offers security certification
Small.biz crap at security (redux)