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Managed hosting is a service wherein a third-party provider is responsible for the administration, problem-solving, and maintenance and organization’s hardware or cloud computing resources. Usually, the company that provides the managed hosting also provides the servers or the cloud-hosting environment.
The managed hosting provider will build the server (physical or cloud), configuring it according to the client’s specifications. Depending on the specific managed hosting contract, the host will migrate client’s data in some instances, set up networking, harden the server with security settings like firewalls (operating system and firewall appliance, depending on the client’s desired setup), establish monitoring through the optional IDS (intrusion detection system) or IPS (intrusion prevention system), and/or maintain backups and redundancy.
A managed host does not necessarily maintain or set up any of the services that the client runs on their managed server, as this would fall under the role of an administrator.
Different managed hosting providers offer different services, and different organizations want various levels of control when it comes to how their servers are managed. Regardless, here are some of the managed hosting services that come standard from nearly every provider.
Security: One of the top needs of every organization is keeping its systems, processes, and proprietary information safe. Common functions performed include:
Monitoring Servers: Scanning servers to look for errors or potential threats is an important piece of maintaining a server’s performance and security. The managed host provider does this routinely to catch little glitches before they become major disruptions. Additionally, intrusion detection systems or intrusion prevention systems help mitigate server data breaches or unauthorized access.
Backup and Disaster Recovery: Some companies fail to anticipate the threat of a business-crippling disaster. According to InvenioIT, 30% of businesses have no disaster recovery strategy in place. If that statistic doesn’t scare you, a study by Touche Ross says that 90% of businesses that don’t have a strategy in place will fail. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires all happen every year. A managed host provider can back up critical information and processes so that your company continues to run smoothly no matter what happens.
IT Support: This might be the most comforting feature offered by a managed hosting provider. The more reputable providers have support in the form of telephone operators, email responders, or live chat agents available 24/7/365.
Server Maintenance: As any IT person can tell you, this is a full-time, painstaking job. Having a managed hosting provider in charge of your server’s lifecycle frees up your own IT staff for more on-site functionality.
The main advantage of managed hosting is easy to see: nearly any mishap that could that befall your servers and networks are now the responsibility of another party, one that stakes its branding and reputation on managing servers.
Other benefits are more subtle but can pay off in terms of lower costs and improved efficiency in the short and long-term for your organization.
Reduced Costs: Hardware and its maintenance and upgrades are expensive, even if they are tax deductible. The worst part is that when something breaks, you have to replace it, and replace it fast, which means you can’t wait around for the best bargain. When someone else is leasing you the equipment and maintaining it, all those costs are rolled into your monthly fee, and any breakdowns are repaired seamlessly by the managed hosting company.
Flexibility: No two businesses look alike and have the same needs, but when you buy your own hardware, you’re might purchase something you won’t use to its full capabilities.. Managed hosting is a solution that embodies flexibility. Your organization’s individual needs and budget will be factored in to creating a managed hosting solution that works for you, minimizing waste.
IT Savings: Employing IT professionals can be expensive. Hiring a full-time IT worker can feel unnecessary when they don’t really have 40 hours of work to do each week, but when something fails, you’re desperate for their services. Having the built-in IT services of a managed hosting company gives you the freedom to either give your in-house IT team different responsibilities, or if there is no other role for IT in the organization, reduce the position to a part-time or on-call role.
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