Baker has SME network monitoring in the oven


14 Sep 2006

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Baker Consultants, the IT networking specialist firm, is to launch a remote monitoring service for the small to medium-sized enterprise sector (SME) next month, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

The company, which has traditionally provided a similar service to larger enterprises such as Kingspan and the Hilton hotel group, is branding it as BakerWatch and will start selling it to SMEs from October. The Dublin-based firm said it plans to aggressively market the service over the coming months.

“Small companies’ networks are getting as complex as large corporates’,” said sales director Paul McEvoy. Customers won’t need to invest in additional technology, he stressed. “Whatever you’ve already spent, we make sure that it works.”

The company prefers to call the service out-tasking rather than using the loaded term outsourcing. “We don’t take ownership of equipment or personnel,” emphasised company founder Robert Baker. The idea is that SMEs using the service won’t have to worry about traditional IT pain points such as network monitoring. “We’re not trying to take the place of IT departments in any company; we look after niche headaches and one is monitoring,” said Baker.

BakerWatch will be operated from Hosting365’s data centre in Dublin and monitored by Baker staff. The company is in the process of hiring new network engineers to cater for the work as the service will run on a round-the-clock basis. All data that is monitored will be secure as the service will run on a virtual private network connection to the customer’s site.

It will be priced at a monthly fee of €99 per server or per service; this could be a particular piece of network hardware or an application such as Microsoft Exchange. Customers will be able to log in to a website and see a dashboard view of how applications or devices on the network are impacting on its performance. As part of the service, they can also receive regular reports on their network’s performance.

During development of the service Baker Consultants took soundings from customers and found a demand among SMEs for performance indicators for IT networks. According to Baker, this part of the overall managed service market is currently worth around €5m and is likely to grow significantly. “I would guesstimate that in three years’ time it will be worth around €10m,” he told siliconrepublic.com.

By Gordon Smith