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IBM Helps Eliminate Virus and Spam Headaches for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

New IBM Express Service Simplifies Growing Complexity of Managing PC Networks

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ARMONK, N.Y - 21 Apr 2004: IBM today announced new services designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) manage the growing complexity of maintaining their employees' personal technology devices.

IBM Desktop Management Services, a new suite of 'price-per-seat' services delivered remotely by IBM via the Internet, offer SMBs a simple, affordable way to reduce the complexity of managing personal computers (PCs), and printers as a monthly, per-seat service. Starting at $40 per user, the new service specifically designed for SMBs can cut the costs of managing personal technology by up to 30 percent (1), and can support a variety of personal computing systems, not just IBM hardware. The new IBM Express service automates the management of personal computers including critical software updates which help reduce the spread of viruses.

The offerings take advantage of tools and technologies developed by IBM Research that help transform networks into remotely managed, self-healing, self-updating systems. By remotely managing many of IT chores previously handled manually by uncoordinated systems, SMBs can achieve quantifiable
cost savings, while focusing on their core business. Since they pay a fixed, predictable price per user, SMBs can gain access to IBM expertise, global IT resources, and the latest technology at a fraction of the cost of managing their own PC networks.

Worldwide customers such as Ros Casares, an iron and steel distributor and Ranstad, an employment agency, have turned to IBM to manage the complexity of their desktop systems, protect against network attacks, and provide significant cost reductions through consolidation and standardization of IT systems.

"In recent years, offering effective IT support to our smaller offices in the UK has been difficult," said Patrick Green, director of Business Services, Randstad Employment Bureau. "IBM's capacity to reach all of our 100 UK locations and 400 staff with its on demand Desktop Management Service means that we can expect to reduce our yearly IT spend and management costs by approximately 40 percent. We also hope to be able to open new offices much more quickly, since we can now leave all the associated IT installation issues to IBM."

An overlooked expense of the management of a personal computer is the cost of the help desk support, countless fixes and maintenance. One recent infection, MyDoom, cost businesses $26.1 billion in lost productivity, bandwidth clogging and software recovery, according to security firm mi2g.

One of the key features of IBM Desktop Management Services is the ability to alleviate the growing headache of viruses and spam. While many SMBs manually install and run anti-virus software on users' desktops and gateway servers, the fast-moving nature of viruses today requires a more rapid response than these solutions can deliver. IBM's worldwide coverage enables it to react much more quickly to virus outbreaks, whenever and wherever they occur.

IBM proactively deploys protection from new viruses hours before new signatures are publicly released. Additionally, IBM is able to provide immediate protection prior to the release of anti-virus engine updates by using its powerful policy and attribute blocking capability to block specific kinds of attachments or filter email based on the particular characteristics of a message. In addition to securing inbound email and ensuring viruses do not enter the network, IBM can also scan outbound email to protect the companies with whom an organization communicates.

IBM delivers Desktop Management services by installing a central, remotely-managed server at the customer site which distributes the necessary tools and software for managing the desktop environment. Remote management functions include: 24-hour network monitoring, software image loading, virus scanning and detection, patch updates, software updates distribution and virtual help-desk services.

The services also allow customers to control and monitor the inventory of employee desktops and printers, which helps guard against fraud and inventory loss. Hardware and application protection features guard against unauthorized access and loss of valuable information, while ensuring that operating systems and related software are compliant with industry standards -- a significant and frequently overlooked cost for organizations.

"Viruses are not the only thing that are exploding, so are the personal technology devices they infect," said Beth Feeney, director of small and medium business offerings, IBM Global Services. "Due to the growing number of PCs, PDAs, printers and faxes proliferating in companies today, rapid business growth can be inhibited by the complexities and cost of technology infrastructure support. SMBs who have limited access to skilled resources for network, application, Internet and security technology can now tap into IBM's extensive, global resources to free themselves to focus on their business, not IT support."

Leveraging technology and expertise from IBM Research, IBM Global Services, IBM Global Financing and IBM Personal Computing, IBM is able to remotely deliver desktop management services on demand. For example, new ThinkVantage Technologies that reduce PC management costs can now be deployed throughout an SMB's network -- regardless of the PC or printer brand.

Starting at $40 per month, per user, IBM Desktop Management Services includes:

IBM estimates that it currently oversees and manages maintenance and operations for more than 4.5 million PCs and printers. Companies worldwide turn to IBM to deploy and manage various aspects of their personal technology, including hardware, software imaging, financing and help desk support.

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