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In yet-another sign that IT is truly destined to be a service, IBM and Qwest inked a deal this week that will enable Qwest to offer its mid-sized business customers a host of managed services spanning security, remote monitoring and unified communications.

The five-year agreement between the two companies enables Qwest to offer a number of IT services to a business customer segment it describes as often lacking both the budget and the in-house technical resources to upgrade their existing infrastructure.

IBM technology is the foundation of the hosted option, which Big Blue will also house in its datacenters. The following services will be available:

•    Managed Security Services for 24/7 protection against malicious Internet activity including viruses, spam and distributed denial of service attacks.

•    Network Management Services, an automated solution that monitors data network performance, proactively identifies issues, notifies customers and initiates resolution. This service will be managed by IBM Express Remote Management Infrastructure Services (ERMIS).

•    Unified Communications Services, which support implementations with fewer than 100 IP phones, include remote monitoring, reporting and management for an integrated telephony service. This service will also be managed by ERMIS.