Leveling the SMB IT Playing Field

Michael Vizard

The majority of small-to-medium business (SMB) organizations are probably not being all that well served from an IT perspective because the folks providing those services don’t have access to the resources and skills they need to really succeed.

That may not be what most IT professionals working in those organizations want to hear, but the fact remains that most of them are trying to hold together outdated systems using tools that by modern standards are essentially obsolete.

Of course, those same IT professionals would rightly point out that the amount of IT services that most of those organizations are willing to pay for is fairly limited, which makes it difficult to stay current.

A new survey of 200 SMB IT professionals conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI Software, a provider of IT management software, confirms that fact because more than half of the IT professionals surveyed would not bet their own money that the systems they manage are secure or operating at peak efficiency.

Depending on upon whether you want to see the glass as being half empty or full, things could be a lot worse. But GFI Software CEO Walter Scott says the IT services and skills problem tends to be more acute in smaller markets that don’t have “an NFL team.” To help level that playing field, GFI Software has released GFI Cloud, a suite of IT management tools that includes GFI VIPRE Business Online anti-malware software and GFI Network Server Monitor Online monitoring software. In the months ahead, GFI Software plans to add GFI LanGuard patching and vulnerability assessment tools along with a range of other services.

Scott says GFI Software is committed to making it easy for IT administrators to access those tools via a centralized console that, once set up, allows an administrator to invoke any service in the GFI Cloud on an a la carte basis in under 10 minutes. That capability will make it easier for IT professionals to stay current using tools that are always updated by GFI Software without forcing them to commit to paying for an entire suite of tools at one time.

SMB IT organizations have always been understaffed. But with the advent of virtualization and mobile computing, the challenges associated with being in SMB IT are multiplying at a rate that most IT professionals don’t have the wherewithal to keep pace with. A suite of systems management tools in the cloud probably won’t solve that problem all on its own, but it might go a long way towards at least allowing IT professionals working with limited budgets to start evening the odds.

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