Kent IT:
The backbone of small business growth in the South East

Fasthosts has helped Kent IT Maintenance create and support critical technology infrastructure for small businesses across its region, ensuring they can thrive and grow.

Kent IT Maintenance (KIT) has been at the forefront of providing IT services for businesses in the South East for over twenty years. It's based in the stunning Kent countryside on the outskirts of the historic village of Pluckley, which can be traced back to the Domesday Book, nearly a thousand years ago.

Yet the firm is anything but backward looking. While its headquarters nestle in the Kent Downlands, its heart is focused on providing crucial infrastructure for the region's small businesses.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, there were 5.9 million of these smaller firms in the UK at the start of 2020. These account for three fifths of employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector. The South East has the highest proportion of these anywhere outside London, a staggering 931,675 companies.

We carefully select partners. It's important they have proven success, experienced staff, and a work ethic that mirrors our own. Fasthosts ticks all those boxes
- Adam Friday, KIT Managing Director

It's firms like KIT, supported by Fasthosts, that keep this bustling local economy running, providing essential technology that powers the region's growth. As Adam Friday, KIT's managing director says, Local businesses need IT support and services they can trust. They want to be assured there is someone they can call on locally who understands the pressures they face and knows what they need. We're that business – because we're just like them.

As a result, KIT has built up a client portfolio across a wide range of sectors. This includes everything from farms and agricultural firms through to estate agents, solicitors, manufactures, hotels, local government and the public sector. We've even got undertakers and a variety of entrepreneurs running amazing home business on our books, adds Adam.

KIT was established in the 90s, by founder and director, Garry Stockton. He knew this local approach would work. Back then, SMEs were just starting to dip their toes into new and emerging technologies. But they were woefully underserved. The tech sector was geared up for large enterprises and smaller operations were generally ignored by many IT support firms, he says.

But there was a growing call from the region's business owners for help when it came to taking early steps towards digital transformation. They were finally taking notice of technology advances and could see how these would really benefit their operations. It was obvious SMEs needed skilled and experienced IT services companies to work with. We were proud to step in.

Being agile and always evolving

In many cases, smaller firms are more agile than the larger ones, leapfrogging older technologies and staying at the cutting edge of newer developments, without the baggage of legacy systems and huge investments in complex IT. This calls for a support partner that moves quickly and evolves with the ever changing tech landscape.

KIT has certainly risen to that challenge. Tech moves at breakneck speed and the biggest challenge we've faced is being at the forefront of innovation that suits our clients, says Adam. We've kept pace and continually evolved, fine-tuning our services to respond to what our customers want.

As a result, the business is a very different animal today compared to what it was once was, and it's teamed with strategic partners to broaden its offering. Our primary focus is still IT support, but our clients often ask for more. These additional services are now delivered in partnership with a carefully selected list of trusted IT services providers. This has given us flexibility in an ever-changing market, a completive edge and the ability to scale services on demand without the associated costs of managing them in-house, which is what we used to do.

This approach has allowed the firm to increase its portfolio of services quickly, which has fostered growth. Companies interested initially in one or two services soon take up more, preferring to deal with one company to manage all their IT and telecoms needs, he adds. Fasthosts is one of those strategic partners, having helped KIT stay ahead of the game since 2010.

A great example of where this partnership has succeeded is a carers' charity in Kent. It had a mix of cloud and on-premises services. Its existing physical server was reaching the end of its life, meaning it was less compatible with key business software and could become vulnerable to security issues. It needed a new IT strategy for the whole enterprise.

KIT was awarded the contract early in 2020 and recommended further adoption of cloud services, the benefit being the charity would minimise costs while being able to take advantage of a better, modern infrastructure, heightened security and GDPR compliance. It also removed the challenge of hardware and software becoming obsolete.

Fasthosts was instrumental in this work, providing a cloud virtual private server (VPS) and domain. Thanks to Fasthosts, we've been able to greatly simplify the charity's IT and provide all the features the team wanted. Not only that, but they've seen significant cost savings, flexibility and compliance for the long term, Adam explains.

He is particularly proud of this work. It's an organisation that provides support for people who look after a relative or friend, who for a range of reasons, cannot manage alone. With Fasthosts, we're helping this crucial charity do its best for those who care for others.

However, this is just one of the many clients KIT has helped – often using services such as VPS, cloud back-up and disaster recovery from Fasthosts. The last of these is often vital, enabling the recovery or continuation of infrastructure and systems following a crisis.

We carefully select partners. It's important they have proven success, experienced staff, and a work ethic that mirrors our own. Fasthosts ticks all those boxes and has most definitely supported our growth, helped us reach specific goals and given us all the tools we need. They're also excellent value for money. You get fast access to a broad range of critical infrastructure services, backed by technical expertise.

You get fast access to a broad range of critical infrastructure services, backed by technical expertise.
- Adam Friday, KIT Managing Director

Working as a team

Those who work for KIT have the benefit of being part of a close-knit group of highly-experienced IT professionals. There is a family feel to the place. We love what we do. We take our business and responsibilities extremely seriously, but at the same time customers like our relaxed yet confident style.

Again, being a local business that understands its customers is key. Feedback is always extremely positive, which results in clients typically staying with KIT for the long-term, which is ideal for us, but also ensures continuity for them. Many have been with KIT for over 15 years, enthuses Adam.

There's another member of the team who has supported the firm as it's grown. This is Fasthosts account manager, Asif Veshmia. Asif is approachable, very knowledgeable and always gives us the best advice and technical clarification whenever we need it. Having him on board makes us feel part of a much bigger team with the same set of objectives.

It's clear KIT has become a crucial part of the regional business community in the last two decades – and Fasthosts has helped the company stay at the top of its game for the last 10 years. As it goes into its third decade of IT expertise, it does so knowing it has a partner that can help it continue to provide vital support for the many small businesses that depend on its services.

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