Outsourcing is an important facet of any business plan, and the choices you make for your outsourcing partners have the potential to dramatically impact your opportunities for success. This is especially true when it comes to selecting a Managed Host for your business website and hosted applications. In best case scenarios, your Managed Hosting Company operates in sync with your Data and Business units, anticipating needs and extending your company IT capabilities more cost effectively and efficiently than you would be able to do in house. To ensure a high level of service from your Managed Hosting Company, the below checklist can help you see how your current or potential new provider stacks up.
1. Comprehensive product line including – multiple options for storage, backup, recovery, security, monitoring & management – Certainly the first thing you are looking for from a Managed Hosting Company is actual web and/or application hosting, but that is just the first piece of an overall solution. It takes supporting services to maximize the performance and capabilities of a hosting deployment. An expensive steak restaurant doesn’t just serve the steak- they enhance the meal with side items, salad, and dessert. Your Managed Hosting Company should offer flexible options for data storage, managed backups and security services, and server monitoring and management solutions that add value to your IT investment.
2. SAS70 Type II – Top end server hardware and software technology are important, but without bulletproof facilities, performance and reliability will be an ongoing concern. To avoid those worries, make sure your Managed Hosting Company has SAS70 Type II certification for their datacenters. This level of certification is rigorous and thorough, and gives you the confidence that every step has been taken to ensure maximum performance and uptime.
3. Flexible Networking – firewalls, load balancers, system topology – Users and applications continue to grow more sophisticated, and as a result the things we demand from our networks are also more complex. Your Managed Hosting Company should offer flexible options when it comes to bandwidth and network technology devices like load balancers and firewalls, as well as services like content distribution networks and geographic redundancy.
4. Monitoring & management – both automated and proactive – Basic server monitoring should be a standard option for any
, but as with the other topics on this checklist, the real value comes from going further than basic options. Automated monitoring and management functions are a good start, and to be truly effective will be bolstered with pro-active monitoring and management from on-site personnel. All the automation in the world can’t deliver the level of service that a trained network administrator can provide.
5. Company History, Certifications, Partnership – This last item is a true differentiator, because the pedigree of your Managed Hosting Company isn’t something they can get with a purchase order. It’s earned over time, customer by customer, and partner by partner.