Tuesday, 10 January 2017 ehdf

The 7 Point Checklist for Choosing a Managed Hosting Provider

Anyone who has managed the IT infrastructure of a company will, no doubt, agree that it is a complex and demanding function to deliver. Everyday functionality to long term strategies, several aspects involved in a company’s IT operations require specific skillsets and considerable amount of time.

Given these challenges, Managed Hosting has been a boon to businesses around the world. Nominally, Managed Hosting can be described as an IT provisioning model in which a service provider leases dedicated servers and associated hardware to a single client and the equipment at the hosting provider’s facility is managed by the service provider. This converts CAPEX to OPEX, gives you access to a wider range of advanced IT features and services, highly specialized talent and the latest technologies. It also lets you focus on your core business objectives as day to day IT operations are managed by the Service Provider.

For a business to choose the best Managed Hosting Services Provider in the UAE, it needs to make careful and thoughtful evaluation. Some of the key factors that a business should consider include:

1. Facility and Network: It pays to ensure that the Managed Hosting Services Provider is committed to the highest possible standards of physical infrastructure, with regard to the Data Centre and Networking. Services should include reliable internet connectivity, with ample redundancy built into the network. Power and cooling are also critical in optimizing the performance of IT infrastructure. 99.99% availability for your hosted services can be achieved by a well maintained N+1 Data Centre facility, and a lesser N standard can result in more downtime. In addition, it always pays to deploy the highest quality version of hardware and this should be part of the commitment that a Managed Hosting Services provider agrees to.

2. Security: Security can be particularly important when businesses handle business critical information. A comprehensive package should include well designed firewalls, scanning for malware, filtering spam and other unwanted data, updates etc., as well as physical security measures for Data Centres. Services that include physical security staff, biometric scanners and video cameras are preferable. Also, SSH and VPN access is superior to direct access to client equipment and is a good indication of quality service. Likewise, it is good to ensure that login and access restrictions and practices are up to par and best in class. Also these services should be maintained by high quality resources around the clock on a 24/7/365 basis.

3. Cost: Low costs doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of savings for your business. While there are many providers in the market who offer low costs as compared to others, but once you start reading through the fine print, you will realize the non-covered items quickly add up to an amount equal or above what another vendor may have offered as a part of the solution. In fact, low costs can sometimes mean more risks for your business: Lack of support, insufficient technology & resources, unreliable Data Centre facilities, and this can end up being very costly for your business.

4. Service Level Agreement (SLA): Scrutinize your prospective vendors’ SLA and negotiate upfront on areas/time frames that are unacceptable to your organization. Look for a provider who has 99.9 per cent uptime at a minimum, with financial incentives to ensure this SLA is met.

5. 24/7 Support: Managed Hosting Service Providers absorb and reduce the cost of employing skilled specialists who are well versed in setting up the most appropriate configuration for servers at the outset of the lease, while continuing to fine tune and calibrate the IT infrastructure used by the client, according to the evolving needs of the enterprise. A business should ensure that the services it is signing up for will include 24/7 response from human operators rather than automated processes. The IT administrator assigned to an enterprise, and their team, are a critical functional cog and it pays to establish a hands on and healthy relationship with them.

6. Back Up and Disaster Recovery: Lost data can undermine the trust and company profile an enterprise has built through the years in one fell swoop. Other negative consequences of such a disaster can include, financial loss, downtime and missed opportunities. It is critical for a company investigating to ensure that the potential services provider has committed to a comprehensive and effective Disaster Recovery plan and ongoing data back-up.

7. References: Before committing to a Managed Hosting Services Provider, it is a very good idea to investigate and understand its professional, financial and functional stability. When you take on board the functional benefits of acquiring such a service, you also leave yourself open to the vulnerabilities introduced via an external party’s strengths and weaknesses. It is important to seek the feedback of other enterprises that the services provider has been involved with, as well as to get a good idea regarding their ongoing viability and previous record.

In summary, Enterprises enthused by the opportunity presented by Managed Hosting Services need to take care that the service provider is providing a solution that comprehensively addresses and enhances their processes. Finding the perfect fit for a particular set of business requirements is fundamental to the success of the strategy.

Leave a Comment

Thank You

Your comment will be published after approval.