IBM Canada has been selected by McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd., to provide Web hosting services for two of its sites – one for employees and an external, bilingual site.

The employee site addresses incentive programs, restaurant training and a marketing and communications program, while its public domain focuses on nutrition, menu and location information.

Besides hosting, Big Blue is also responsible for all security related to both sites.

“In the end, it came down to 24 by 7 support and monitoring (and IBM’s) very good history of stable platforms,” said Hector Catre, Web solutions manager for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada in Toronto.

The bilingual site was translated in-house, and Catre said that McDonald’s companies in all counties have their own translation departments.

Although Web hosting continues to be a viable alternative for many organizations, in the case of McDonald’s, the need also arises out of self-preservation, Catre said. “Because we’re in the public eye, the likelihood that someone would eventually try to hack us is very high. (We) needed to protect our image.”

With the recent bankruptcy and subsequent closure of 44 Exodus Communications data centres, sheer economics dictated that McDonald’s sign on with a reputable organization, according to one industry analyst. “From a practical point of view, IBM has a sterling reputation. If you extend what the company is all about, everyone is confident that they won’t disappear in the next few months,” said Mark Quigley, research director for the Yankee Group in Canada in Ottawa.

IBM Canada in Markham, Ont., can be reached at The Yankee Group in Canada in Ottawa can be reached at