Qwest and IBM have signed a five-year agreement that will give Qwest customers access to several IBM managed services targeted at medium-sized businesses.
Qwest says the goal of offering IBM's managed services over its network is to "simplify complex technology operations and enable customers to optimize their IT networks." The services offered break down into three categories: managed security services, network management services and advanced unified communications services. Essentially, Qwest will handle the network connectivity side of the equation while IBM will tackle the managed services themselves.
The managed security services will be powered by IBM's Internet Security System and are designed to keep medium-sized businesses protected from viruses, spam and DDoS attacks. The network management services will be powered by IBM's Express Remote Management Infrastructure Services (ERMIS) and are used to monitor overall network performance. And finally, the advanced unified communications services are also managed by ERMIS and include a unified communications telephony service, network connectivity service and network equipment.
Eric Bozich, who serves as vice president of product management for Qwest's business markets group, says that the unified communications services are being targeted at branch offices and independent locations with 100 or fewer employees."Many midsized businesses are struggling in the current economic environment, but they don't have a big capital budget and they don't have time to shop around for all the best-of-breed solutions," says Bozich. "This alliance brings all those things together and gives business customers one company to deal with that encompasses the best of what we do and the best of what IBM does."
Qwest and IBM say that pricing for the managed services will be available sometime in the third quarter of 2009, when the services officially hit the market. All of the services will be accessible through Qwest's Web-based customer portal, which provides real-time alerts for users.