Telecommunications giant AT&T announced the availability of remote IT support for small and midsize business computer servers, building on the offerings of its Tech Support 360 service for midmarket companies. With the new service-Tech Support 360 Server Support-SMBs receive wide-ranging care for Windows servers from U.S.-based AT&T certified network engineers.
Features and options available with the service may include 24/7 server performance monitoring, security patch management, management of critical business applications, and network and Internet connectivity, monitoring of firewalls, switches and routers, consultative recommendations on best practices, unlimited phone and live remote support and regular reporting and updates.
Server Support subscription plans start as low as $99 per month per server. Premium plans that come with unlimited remote access support for hardware and operating systems start as low as $309 per month per server. Support for key SMB applications are available for an additional charge, the company noted. SMBs can also contact their designated AT&T account manager with any questions or to get more information.
"With the growth of mobile applications, mobile devices, and remote workers, more small and medium business are investing in servers to run their business," said Michael McDonald, an analyst with IT research firm AMI-Partners. "As a result, the demand for remote IT server support is growing as well and we expect that it will continue to grow for the foreseeable future."
In fact, AMI reports that North American midmarket businesses already have more than 3 million servers deployed, and projects that the market for remote IT server support will grow from $1.4 billion in 2010 to $5 billion by 2013, a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent.
AT&T's Server Support monitors and reports on more than 2,000 hardware and software indicators to help ensure the health of SMB servers and systems. In the event of an application failure or other critical issue, customers are notified and AT&T certified network engineers work remotely to resolve the situation. They can even go onsite to business locations if necessary, the company said in a release.
All online sessions are logged and recorded for security purposes. The company explained because SMBs need flexibility as well as security, Server Support makes it possible for customers to change passwords, disable old users, and set up new users.
"As businesses grow and get more complex, so do their IT issues," said Ebrahim Keshavarz, AT&T vice president of small business product management. "With Server Support, we have a solution that offers thorough monitoring, proactive maintenance, problem resolution - at a predictable monthly cost. By remotely monitoring and managing SMB servers, our aim is to prevent problems before they happen. But if they do occur, we react quickly to minimize any impact to their operations."
For those midmarket companies that have IT staff, AT&T's service can help offload day-to-day server support, enabling the customer's technicians to focus on other business priorities, such as building websites, setting up networks, or ensuring that billing, accounting or other software and applications are running properly.