As more hosting companies tout their managed service offerings, you may be wondering if the approach is right for your business. To help you make up your mind, here's a rundown of 10 major responsibilities — 10 annoying, troublesome chores — that you'll never miss if your enterprise decides to go with a managed hosting provider.
1. Server Monitoring: As a pastime, server monitoring ranks right up there with such thrilling activities as standing in an airport-security line, sorting spare change and watching a Pauly Shore movie. Fortunately, a managed hosting provider will spare you and your staff from countless hours spent scanning event logs, tracking down problems and handling other assorted server-monitoring tasks.
2. Software Installation: Does your business need a new software platform or application? Just tell the provider what type of product your company requires, and it will take care of all of the messy installation, testing and debugging work.
3. Software Updates: With a managed provider, there's no more wondering if your business's Web software is current, since the provider handles updates automatically.
4. Hardware Acquisitions: If your company's Web operations suddenly expand or become more complex, you won't have to plan and deploy new hardware. Just call the managed hosting provider and ask for an expanded service contract.
5. Hardware Repair: Since the server is owned by the provider and located at one of its office, there should never be any need to even see the server and the related infrastructure hardware, much less touch it or repair it. Customers are still responsible, of course, for fixing workstations and networking gear located on their own premises.
6. Employee Training: With a provider taking care of day-to-day hosting chores — such as server monitoring; software installation; software updates; and hardware procurement, deployment and maintenance — you won't have to train employees to handle any of these tasks.
7. Data Backups: The provider will automatically back up all of your company's data that is stored on its servers. It's very unusual for a provider to lose customer data. Still, just in case the hosting company goes out of business or suffers some type of natural or man-made calamity, it remains a good idea to keep your own set of backups .
8. Physical Security: Under a managed hosting agreement, all of the servers and related hardware reside at the provider's datacenter . This means that it's the provider's responsibility to make sure that the equipment is adequately protected. Therefore, if an alarm rings, you won't have to answer it.
9. Disaster Recovery: You'll have many problems if your business's office burns down, floods, crumbles, blows up or suffers some other type of disaster , but your company's Web operations — which are hosted off-site — will continue to run as normal.
10. Carrier Negotiations: Since managed hosting deals include a specified amount of bandwidth, customers are spared the time-consuming and typically unpleasant task of bargaining with carriers for bandwidth deals. Also, since the provider brings a huge volume of potential business to the bandwidth negotiation table, it will always be able to cut a better carrier deal than your company can.