I spent a few minutes this morning searching for the name of a product I’d come across a few years ago. Finally, it came to me, Igaware (new window).
I think the Igaware model is really the way of the future for Small Business IT. To put it simply, Igaware supply a server which has all the basic functionality required by the average small business. It includes your basic things like:
- Email server including webmail
- Shared calendars and address books
- Virus scanning, firewall protection, etc
- File sharing, backup, and so on
But that’s not particularly significant. What is significant is the business model. You rent the server. You lease what’s known in the trade as a “managed server”. That means, igaware look after it for you, although it’s physically located in your office.
It makes perfect sense really, the supplier has several hundred, or if my predictions are right, potentially several hundred thousand, servers which are identical. So they can easily roll out updates across them all, having thoroughly tested the update in advance. They can provide excellent, first class support, because they know exactly how the box will perform in any given situation. The model also guarantees reliability. With thousands of identical machines, it’s much easier to make sure they’re all reliable than make sure that thousands of different servers are all equally reliable.
I think the future of small business IT will be based around a product like this. Having said that, i don’t think it will be igaware, have a look at their web site (new window), have you ever seen anything more in need of a face lift?