When choosing a hosting service for your business network, you need evaluate a number of different factors. While cost, speed, and uptime are all important considerations that businesses spend a lot of time comparing and thinking about, many immediately dismiss the idea of managed hosting.
What’s managed hosting, you ask? In the simplest terms, when you choose managed hosting, the hosting provider handles all of the technical and maintenance aspects of your IT infrastructure. Ideal for a small business that doesn’t have the resources — money or talent — for an in-house IT staff or the necessary equipment, managed hosting ensures that the system is configured correctly from the start and that when problems do occur, they are handled quickly by experts.
Some of the services you might see from a managed host include server setup and configuration, application installation, security management (including antivirus protection, patch installation, and monitoring) and performance management. Basically, a managed services provider will take care of your business’ virtual environment, allowing you to focus on running other aspects of your business.
While managed hosting provides a valuable service to a small business, there are some drawbacks — most notably, the cost. Managed hosting does cost more than self-managed hosting, and many small businesses experience sticker shock when they see the difference between managed and non-managed hosting. However, when you consider all of the reasons that you should use managed hosting, it quickly becomes evident why it’s worth the investment.
Top 5 Reasons to Use Managed Hosting
While there are many good reasons to go the managed hosting route, these are some of the most compelling.
Security. Small businesses are constantly under attack, and while your hosting provider will offer security of the physical infrastructure of your servers, you maintain responsibility for your applications and data within the cloud. Unless you have the time and experience to managed security updates, conduct system monitoring, and stay abreast of the latest security developments, it’s in your best interests to leave those tasks to a dedicated staff of security experts. Doing so not only protect your business, but also helps ensure your compliance with government and industry guidelines regarding data protection.
Site Speed. Often, when websites aren’t managed effectively, they slow down. Perhaps you installed a bad plug-in, there is malware lurking somewhere, or you just haven’t configured everything correctly. Regardless of the reason, managed hosting ensures that your site and network are always running at optimal speed, since performance management is one of the primary responsibilities of the host.
Backups. Did you know that the typical small business loses more than half of its data after a disaster? What would you do if you lost your company’s data? Managed hosting helps ensure that you never have to worry about that. Instead of managing backups yourself, managed services will manage backups for you, keeping your data secure. And should your company face disaster, you can easily be back up in running quickly, thanks to the assistance of the managed services provider.
Reduced Costs. Yes, managed services cost money. However, by outsourcing your hosting needs to a knowledgeable partner who has the equipment and expertise required to manage your site, you can actually save your business money. Not only do not have to hire in-house IT staff, you also save time not trying to figure things out for yourself. Without the right experience, what should be a simple fix can take hours — or even days — costing your business revenue and hurting productivity. When you consider the opportunity costs and the potential for lost income, paying for managed services becomes a much better option.
Dedicated Support. When you choose managed hosting, you have a dedicated support team who will be there when you need them. You don’t have to wait on hold for the next available operator or submit a help desk ticket and hope you get a response soon. You can get help when you need it, which again, helps keep your business up and running.
The fact is managed hosting isn’t for everyone. If you already have the staff and the skills in-house to effectively manage your virtual environment on your own, there is no need to pay your provider to do it for you. That being said, though, for most small businesses, going the managed hosting route is the best option for a seamless IT environment.