Welcome to a new way to network
Every Tuesday morning.

Welcome to a new way to keep in touch through our business connections.  Every Tuesday we explore business issues, reports and feature ethical businesses to help us find the best products and services.

We are a new business networking group for Rotary members across the world.  We are becoming a friendly and informal networking and referral group who meet online each week and which is open to Rotarians and non Rotarians alike.

Heather Dontenville This week we are delighted to introduce eRotarian Heather Dontenville and her business Opensure which she runs with her husband Kevin.

OpenSure is essentially an online services business. If you speak to our technical director you’ll get drawn eyebrows if you mention ‘hosting’, but as far as our customers are concerned, that’s our core business. We host websites, email, DNS and everything else you would expect. We also provide an extensive range of ancillary services, from domain registration to security audits to interim IT management and almost anything else related that you could imagine.

OpenSure is about five years old, and grew out of an established network OpenSureLogoWithName250x250services company, KeepNet, which in turn grew out of the break-up of a blue chip London HQ 15 years ago, which found several highly qualified and driven IT experts at a loose end – briefly. KeepNet sprang into being and provided network and hosting services in what we now think of as the ‘traditional’ way, ie using proprietary software revolving round Microsoft products.

For many reasons this became an undesirable and unwieldy business model. After using open source software to fix some of the disparate problems in proprietary software, it became evident that rather than fix stuff that was inherently broken we should look for solutions made up of robust open source software. So we launched OpenSure, a business not only providing open source solutions for business, but running every possible office function on open source.

KeepNet remains our parent company, but OpenSure is our main focus. There are so many reasons to use open source, but the flexibility and freedom have to be the primary ones. Companies save money using open source, they use the software that’s right for them, rather than for any given software house, and they will be working to open standards, allowing them to combine a far wider choice of programs than if they were compelled to follow the path set down by MegaCorp Software.

computerskillsOur customers come from all around the world. They vary in size from sole traders to hundreds of employees. Some want just a few specific chosen services, many want the whole shebang, and quite a few have washed up on our shores because they’ve got into a terrible mess with their existing provider and need rescuing. We do A LOT of rescuing. Some come to us because we provide proper, copper-bottomed renewable energy-powered IT run our own servers in the UK – no carbon off-setting for us or reselling space hired from another company, possibly in another country.

We provide services for web developers, construction companies, tourism businesses, charities, publishers, petrolheads, photographers, venues, designers, the financial sector, service industries and all sorts of other companies – we work with a real range. Usually sector isn’t significant for us but we are building a few niches thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations.

Megan Baker House is our adopted charity for 2013. We encourage people helped by any of our free services to donate a small sum.
Megan Baker House is our adopted charity for 2013. We encourage people helped by any of our free services to donate a small sum.

Our best relationships are with those companies that already place a high value on their IT services. They readily accept the need to pay for properly-run and maintained services as their business relies on them so heavily. Many of our customers need no convincing of the benefits of open source, others don’t care much either way and a few remain wedded to some proprietary products. Usually this isn’t a problem but some software houses do make it quite difficult to combine their products with others’, and if those products are ones that come into play as we run someone’s email or net-based service some ingenuity can be required.

SMEs form our customer base and we love to grow individual relationships with them, understanding their business and supporting them as they grow, always ready with what they need as their IT requirements evolve.

Have you a comment or question for Heather?  Please share your thoughts here.

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