IBM will announce on Wednesday the launch of its Desktop Management Services suite, which includes antispam and virus software loaded on a central server. The suite allows IBM to manage customers' spam and virus problems remotely. The software is updated daily, and the server is located at the customer's site. The company will sell the service to companies with 100 to 1,000 employees, and pricing will start at $40 per month per user. The service can work with any hardware certified for Windows XP.
Burton Group analyst Fred Cohen said the price was very aggressive and added that IBM was one of the first big players to enter the small to medium-size business market with an antispam and virus service.
"This segment has largely been untapped by a large player because it's not an easy one to address," Cohen said. "Smaller businesses mean smaller seats...they're also a different culture to sell to."
Cohen added that addressing the segment makes sense since smaller firms face the same spam and virus problems as large businesses but often don't have or don't want to commit the IT resources to dealing with them.
Dale Moegling, director of IBM's desktop services, said that fully addressing the needs of customers requires more than just tools or software.
"Applications are constantly being updated, just as viruses and spam are, so in order to properly administer and install them, a service is needed," Moegling said.
The service will remotely monitor a company's network, back up software images, scan and detect viruses, and update patches and software.