Intermedia Adds Online Backup For SMBs

Mozy partnership enables the hosted Exchange services provider to break into the data protection business for mobile and virtual offices.
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Intermedia on Tuesday announced a new online backup service for small and midsize businesses that it will deliver in partnership with Mozy.

Intermedia is probably best known for its hosted Exchange platform -- which boasts around 300,000 mailboxes -- and related services. The deal with Mozy marks the vendor's first foray into backup. Intermedia COO Jonathon McCormick said the move is part of the provider's increased focus on data protection and security, especially for mobile workers.

"There's an increasing theme in the marketplace that has to do with mobility," McCormick said in an interview. Intermedia's existing data protection products -- such as email encryption -- have tended to concentrate on its Exchange mailboxes. McCormick said the new offering enables broader backup for laptops and other hardware in the mobile worker's toolbox. "This is really our first product that focuses on data protection for the mobile user."

McCormick also said that adding services like online backup will be an increasingly important differentiation strategy for hosted Exchange providers. "Exchange is at a point where, over the next couple of years, you'll see more and more commoditization of the market," McCormick said. "You'll see companies doing more of this type of stuff where we're adding in other products to increase the basic Exchange product."

Pricing starts at $5 per machine, per month for 4 GB of storage. That base package represents a slight discount -- 95 cents per user, per month -- compared with the same capacity on MozyPro's desktop license, which costs $3.95 per month plus $0.50 per GB. Intermedia will sell additional storage in 10 GB increments for $5 per machine, per month. Though Intermedia won't bundle backup with its other products at launch, McCormick said it will only be offered to Exchange or Web service customers.

Out of the gate, Intermedia's primary target is made up of very small businesses, particularly those that operate mobile or virtual offices. "If you have a smaller office, a lot of times that's a loose group of a half-dozen professionals working from home or different places," McCormick said. "They don't have any sort of central infrastructure at all."

As a result, those businesses may be particularly ill-prepared for data loss or other IT disasters -- they have little or no backup and recovery protection in place.

"In that sub-25 space, I would consider it almost non-existent," McCormick said. "Customers at that size really don't even think about data protection until they have a gigantic disaster." He added that Intermedia has witnessed the problem regularly with the growth of its Exchange business, where its typical customer size is around 15 seats. "A significant number of clients come to us every month because their Exchange server blew up, and when it blows up they end up losing all of their data."

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