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News from The Globe and Mail

Monday, October 20, 2003

In a niche of the computer-services industry, Toronto's Eastbay I.T. Consulting Inc., a firm with eight employees and $500,000 in annual revenue, is making a business of keeping the computers of other small companies running.

Headed by Jeff Ridout, the company specializes in the PC desktop, PC networks and Microsoft operating systems and software. This is not the mid-range computing niche where larger information-technology consultants tune up Unix or Linux or mainframe computers.

Smallness is the key, Ridout says. "We are affordable. We bill in 15-minute time increments. We do remote servicing so that our people don't even have to go to a customer's site, and we service small offices and home offices. Small companies don't have the resources to have IT staff, so we are the staff for our base of a few hundred customers. And we specialize in the biggest problem today, viruses and worms, with our staff of MS-certified engineers."

One of Eastbay's clients, Chair-man Mills Inc., a supplier of seating and supplies for big events and meetings, has been a client of Eastbay for four years, says Laurel McHale, the company's office manager. "We don't have the time to worry about virus problems and not everybody on our staff is an IT person. So we use Eastbay as our IT staff."

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