UK startup ThinkGrid is offering to provide businesses with hosted IT services including Windows desktops, Microsoft Exchange and BlackBerry email access.
Available immediately, ThinkGrid's services enable small-to-medium sized companies to get the benefits of modern IT without the cost and complexity of installing and managing the infrastructure themselves.
"The idea is to take enterprise-level technology, things that the average business isn't able to engage with, and make it more accessible to SMBs," said ThinkGrid chief executive Rob Lovell.
From £49 per user per month, businesses get access to a Windows XP account with Office 2007 included as standard, which staff can access via a laptop, thin client or any internet-connected system with a web browser.
Other services, such as a hosted Exchange email server or voice-over-IP telephony, are similarly available for a monthly subscription fee.
Lovell said that, unlike similar hosted desktop services, each ThinkGrid user gets their own machine and an experience just like a normal PC.
"We provide a full virtual machine. You can personalise the desktop with your own wallpaper and make it look how you want," he said.
While Office comes as standard, other applications are available 'à la carte', so that firms can choose to have access to Adobe Acrobat Professional one month, then remove it the next if they no longer need it.
Customers can also choose to lock down desktops, or give users the ability to download and install new applications themselves.
The beauty of this service, according to ThinkGrid, is that customers don't have to worry about data backup or disaster recovery, as this is also taken care of as part of the service. "You just tick a box and it will be done," said Lovell.
While the service is announced today, it has been undergoing trials for about six months with over 500 beta test customers, according to ThinkGrid.
One such company is Parcel Country. Founder Rob McCarthy said that ThinkGrid enabled his firm to get "big business support at small company costs".
But while businesses can see the cost benefits of using IT-as-a-service, this could potentially make a company vulnerable to any failure with their internet connection.
David Pratt, ThinkGrid chief operating officer, said that web delivery can actually help with business continuity, because workers can still access their desktop from home or from any other location that has internet access.
Lovell also said that the firm provides 24/7 technical support for customers, and offers service level agreements guaranteeing "four nines" availability, or 99.99 per cent uptime.
"This is better than you would get if you were an enterprise paying £100,000, " he said.
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