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IBM Lures SMBs to the Cloud

By Brad King
Apr 29, 2008 2:50 PM PT

IBM released an on-demand, cloud-based suite of products targeting small and medium-sized businesses looking to offload security, e-mail continuity and archiving services.

IBM Lures SMBs to the Cloud

The Express Advantage product line -- which is meant to offload some of the more data-intensive processes an IT department has to handle -- is an offsite data backup and recovery service as well as an e-mail and archiving service aimed at companies with small IT departments. The product is also integrated with IBM's Concierge customer support center.

"Express Advantage makes it easy to find and implement solutions that are proven, reliable and backed by the best-of-breed support teams," said said Greg Faust, CEO of Valid Technologies.

Industry Moves

The IBM offering is part of an industry-wide attempt to offer small and medium-sized businesses -- those with fewer than 100 employees -- the ability to compete with larger corporations. With shrinking IT departments and borderless Web-based businesses, a small company can quickly find itself overwhelmed by technological problems.

These smaller companies don't have the people, resources or hardware to deal with the daily rigors of maintaining secure environments, Peter Doggart, director of product marketing for Crossbeam, a Boxborough, Mass.-based security network platform company, told TechNewsWorld.

"They are outsourcing so they don't have a client sprawl inside the data center," said Doggart. "They are running out of power and space. The security space is incredibly complex. Now, we have thousands of new technologies popping up, and smaller businesses can't keep up."

Small Business Structure

The Express suite of services -- and other comparable small business solutions -- need to be optimized with specific cloud computing environments such as IBM's Blue Cloud closed service or Amazon's open cloud environments, which means they work best in specific cloud computing environments.

The reason: Cloud computing environments have built-in security and backup systems, such as Express, which are then combined with business implementation services to deploy e-commerce sites, for instance.

That allows smaller businesses to focus on their business development and not technology, said Ariane Lindblom, vice president of marketing for Elastra, a San Francisco-based database service provider developing applications for cloud computing infrastructures.

"This arena is crucial to their business and there are no borders, so smaller companies can compete with larger companies and have the same infrastructure that other companies have," Lindblom told TechNewsWorld.

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