By Sue Poremba
Sue Poremba is a freelance writer focusing primarily on security and technology issues and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting
Hosting a site well is difficult and complex — especially if that site is large and growing. Growing sites always encounter scaling challenges. Managed hosting lets you leave these decisions and complexity to the experts, so you can concentrate on your business.
That’s the opinion of Matt Weinberg, president of development and technology at Vector Media Group. “The majority of our development business consists of building dynamic sites for clients, and we constantly and consistently recommend managed hosting — specifically Rackspace in many cases — because it allows the clients and our dev team to focus on their businesses and leave server administration and scaling questions to the experts,” he said.
Rackspace’s own Managed Cloud offering provides its users a platform, support ranging from troubleshooting to patching to architecture guidance, and expert advice. These are just a few of the benefits that customers are looking for when turning to managed hosting services. But Lorenzo Modesto with Bulletproof Networks said he also looks for a few features.
“For me, the primary benefits are availability and performance and these should always be front of mind if the application is mission critical to the business,” he said. “Mission critical applications, databases and infrastructure need to be managed by someone with the right tools (monitoring), skills (networking, hardware, operating system, application and database) and availability.”
Another benefit to managed hosting is, with the right provider, you have someone who can help you wind your way through the compliance issues and regulations of your industry. According to an article on the Server Smarts Blog: “Managed web hosts obtain compliance certifications like SSAE 16 Type II, SOC2, SOC3, and PCI DSS certifications to make sure your data is secure. It is extremely expensive to attain these in house as a service provider to your end clients. By outsourcing, your solution to your customers becomes encompassed by these certifications essentially which presents an added benefit and significant cost savings.”
So how do you know what managed hosting client is right for your particular needs? In addition to knowing exactly what the host offers that can best benefit your company, Weinberg recommends investigating the provider’s reliability, support policy, backup strategy, diversity of offerings and products and experience hosting similar sites.
Also solicit opinions from others in your industry or look to companies who have similar hosting needs. “Word of mouth is just as important for the business consumer as it is for the provider as it allows un-biased due diligence to be performed,” said Modesto. “A provider that focuses on transparency can show a number of brand-name testimonials or even have a policy whereby prospective customers can request a reference from any customer will allow a prospective customer to thoroughly establish service levels.”
“People should be able to work on what they do best; for most business owners and managers, that’s not running servers,” said Weinberg. “I’ve found that paying a good company to manage your hosting ends up saving money because if you’re self-managing and not a pro, you’ll end up spending countless hours in a server administration nightmare.”