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11/30/2004 - Triangle’s SafeDesk Solutions Succeeds Nationally

Small Terabyte Triangle companies tend to grow quietly and cautiously until they are suddenly an “overnight success.” SafeDesk Solutions is the latest example. They began as Class101 with just two employees, Phil Autrey and Michael Francisco. Now called SafeDesk Solutions, they have grown into a national business with more than eighteen employees.

SafeDesk is the name of their core product, and with this product, they have moved out of a primarily service based business. SafeDesk is a bundled server based on Linux and thin client technology. Heavily focused on education, the SafeDesk server runs on a SUSE Linux platform, and easily integrates with Novell and Microsoft software. The bundled software includes Open Office and other Open Source software, GIMP Open Source graphics package, and assorted education software for all age groups. “We’re like Citrix for Linux,” explains Phil Autrey. “However, SafeDesk is around a third of the cost and has much less down time than competing thin client solutions.” Because Linux is a piece of the puzzle, but not the whole puzzle, SafeDesk bridges and integrates Microsoft and Novell solutions into Linux.

The SafeDesk server brings thin client technology to the desktop. This is especially good for the school environment, according to Autrey. If a student messes up at a desktop or workstation, simply logging off takes care of the problem. SafeDesk and its thin client architecture allow the end user to use old computers – as dumb terminals – past their normal lifetime; thereby keeping hardware costs to a minimum. The use of Open Source also keeps costs down by lowering, and in many cases, eliminating license fees.

“In addition,” says Autrey, “no Linux knowledge is required to deploy or maintain SafeDesk.” “This reduces IT maintenance and virtually eliminates security issues. SafeDesk is just that safe and secure.”

Mount Spokane High School is deploying SafeDesk in their library. SafeDesk Solutions has installations from coast to coast, and 99% of their business is outside of Spokane. Although their focus is education, they are poised to enter parallel markets. In fact, SafeDesk Solutions is expanding practically weekly, and they are in the midst of a capital drive to finance growth.

INTEC’s Connect Northwest program is providing “great and valuable” assistance in helping SafeDesk Solutions prepare for growth, according to Autrey. “INTEC’s Connect Northwest is an admirable not-for-profit agency because it is a grass roots offering, working on the individual business level,” says Autrey. “Connect Northwest has created a level of trust and cooperation among the companies involved --- both companies currently working through the program, and those who have ‘graduated’. INTEC is very valuable.”

To learn more about SafeDesk Solutions, visit http://www.safedesksolutions.com.

Billie Moreland
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