Businesses that need to expand or upgrade their IT infrastructure have a range of possible choices. One of the most popular is managed hosting. In this post, we’ll explain what managed hosting is, the benefits it can bring and what to look for in a managed services provider.
What is managed hosting?
Managed hosting is a type of service in which a business hires IT hardware from a service provider, such as eUKhost. All managed hardware, i.e. servers, storage and network, has single tenant occupancy, in other words, no other customer will be using the same hardware. This provides the company with all the computing resources that the hardware provides: bandwidth, performance, RAM, storage, etc., and gives the customer complete control of the hardware, OS, software and system security.
With managed hosting, the hardware is securely housed in the service providers’ datacentre and the service provider takes care of its management, admin and technical support. The alternative is unmanaged hosting, where companies still hire hardware and datacentre space but choose to manage it themselves. Whilst some companies still opt for this, most find it easier and more economical to let the service provider undertake management on their behalf.
What is included in a managed hosting service?
The range of services included in a managed hosting package will depend on the individual service provider. Most hosts will provide and manage the datacentre (space, power, building maintenance, physical security, IT engineers, etc.), hardware, networking, operating system (Windows, Linux, etc.) and application infrastructure. It is also possible to extend services even more by adding application management, too. At eUKhost, we even offer bespoke IT solutions.
The list above covers a wide range of management and administrative tasks which are done on your behalf. These can include real-time server monitoring, performance optimisation, server patching, backups, intrusion prevention, application installation and so forth. Using these services means companies do not need to worry about hardware or other issues and can let their IT teams focus on more business-related projects.
Which IT uses are best suited to managed hosting?
Managed hosting is suitable for a wide range of IT uses. This includes hosting websites, as a means for extending in-house architecture and for running custom or legacy apps. Single tenancy hosting is also ideal for those who require exceptional computing performance, large-scale storage and Big Data analytics. It is also being increasingly used for backing up data and for disaster recovery.
With increasing regulation, such as the implementation of GDPR, managed hosting also offers compliance benefits for those companies that require tight data security. If you are an organisation that has a statutory requirement to have a Data Protection Officer (DPO), for example, if you process or store sensitive information or large amounts of personal data, single tenant hosting can offer increased security and help ensure compliance.
What to look for in a managed hosting service provider
It is not only the range of services mentioned above that you would need to consider if you were looking for a managed hosting service provider. Here are a range of other factors you would need to look at:
1. Technical support: Make sure your service provider offers 24/7, 365 days a year technical support. That way, if you have any issue, you’ll know there is an IT expert there to help.
2. Firewall security: All managed hosting should provide strong firewall protection. Look for technology, such as Fortinet’s Fortigate firewalls, which protect against a wide range of security risks.
3. Port speed: Network performance is crucial for today’s websites. Look for a 1Gbit port speed.
4. High–availability: If you are paying for a managed service, you want it to be available all the time. Make sure your service provider guarantees 100% uptime.
5. High–performance hardware: You should be provided with exceptional hardware such as Intel Xeon CPUs and SSD hard drives.
6. Full root access: If you are leasing a server, you should have full control over it. Ensure the provider you choose enables full root SSH / RDP access.
7. Control panel: the quality of the control panel you are provided with can make a huge difference in taking care of the tasks which are not part of the managed service. The best available is Plesk’s Web Pro.
Is managed hosting the right choice for you?
There is a number of important questions that companies will need to ask before making the decision to opt for a managed hosting package. These include:
1) In what ways will using managed services improve your IT capabilities?
2) What are the financial implications of using a managed service?
3) If you are migrating to a managed service, how can you best manage the move to have the least impact on your business? Will your service provider help you migrate?
4) If you were to opt for unmanaged services, does your company have the in-house expertise needed to manage its own infrastructure?
Managed hosting isn’t the cheapest hosting option available, however, it can bring enormous benefits. It can cut down significantly on the in-house IT resources you dedicate to server management, freeing up your staff for more profitable tasks. It can enhance your security and compliance and, with the right infrastructure, can improve your system’s performance and IT capabilities.