It is an undeniable fact that server hosting is a crucial element of the business world in this day and age. No matter the purpose or size of your organization, this type of service offers benefits that accelerate growth and provide better security, all while being a cost-effective and helpful solution. Hosting services are in many ways an indispensable part of every blossoming, ambitious organization out there, but often times people don’t even know where to start.
You can easily find tons of information on why you should use some type of hosting, whether it’s a cloud, dedicated servers or a service that is more specialized. But, as a consumer in the market who is looking to work with a provider, your choice in learning more about what will be important to you is quite limited, and there is a whole Internet mess to sort through in order to find credible, objective information. It seems that the focus is on promoting advantages and all the effort is put into selling a service, instead of explaining the importance behind the paramount aspects of a service.
This is why we have decided to provide you with a concise summary of the things you should look out for when choosing various types of hosting services, based on our industry experience of over a decade and spanning across multiple hosting locations. If there is one thing we at ColoCrossing value the most, it is the right of the consumer to have quick and easy access to sources that will help them make a better, more informed decision when seeking out a provider. To help with that, we have broken down services into separate categories. Let’s get started!
Cloud Providers (Self-Managed)
Cloud services are rapidly gaining traction when it comes to hosting options. However, they may also be one of the most difficult to implement in an organization. There are a few things you must make sure are in check before you commit to a cloud provider:
A defining characteristic of every cloud service. Make sure the necessary protection is in place - both physical (well-guarded facilities, secure entry) and virtual (firewalls, encryption mechanisms, anti-malware tools).
Every cloud service out there should be able to easily adjust to your organization’s needs as they change, no matter how frequently. A provider must be willing to be flexible in scaling up and down as your resource and storage demands shift.
One of the greatest challenges before cloud technology is implementing it into an organization’s life seamlessly and intuitively. It is imperative for a cloud service to be built on expertise and ease of use, allowing for simplicity in navigation and fast file transfer with zero hiccups.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service / Dedicated Server Providers (Self-Managed)
IaaS or dedicated servers can be extremely valuable to you, but they come with a set of requirements that need to be fully covered for a smooth, beneficial experience:
If you are considering dedicated servers, your organization has reached a point where desktop-level equipment will not be enough. Make no compromises with hardware - it doesn’t matter what other advantageous features you might have available to you if your server cannot handle the workload.
Where your dedicated server is hosted plays a huge role in how it is going to perform. A provider should have strategically-placed hosting locations that will benefit from more developed web infrastructures and excellent networks.
Being offered tiered options is the norm, but a distinguishing quality of providers that are worth your money is their flexibility in configurations. The option to acquire a custom-built server tailored to your preferences and goals is a very important factor you should have at your disposal.
Colocation Providers (Self-Managed)
The decision to house your own server equipment at a data center is proven to be an extremely cost-effective solution for many businesses, but it also is one that should not be taken lightly. Here are its most important elements from a consumer standpoint:
On-site, around-the-clock support
Arguably the number one priority in a colocation service is the attention to your equipment at any given time. Do not settle for anything less but 24/7/365 support and on-site experts that will ensure everything is running smoothly and issues are resolved within minutes. Otherwise, there is always a risk of extended downtime and heavy financial losses - outsourced support and unavailability during certain hours are to be avoided.
Businesses that are looking at colocation as a viable option often demand the ultimate in connectivity and speed. A provider whose solid reputation precedes them when it comes to networks should be a crucial factor to you as a consumer.
Skilled remote hands
“Remote hands” stands for the additional physical tasks provided separately to the colocation service - for example, installing extra RAM, changing hard drives or extra server racking. A reputable provider will offer transparent remote hands pricing and ensure these services are performed in a fast and effective fashion.
Managed hosting services can fit a variety of environments and fulfill various needs, whether business-related or otherwise. As such, the focal points consumers should pay attention to may vary depending on the type of managed service they are looking for.
The hallmark of any worthwhile managed hosting service for traditional organization is the presence of a superb managed network. A provider must make great efforts to manage and monitor a network in a way that uptime is constant, guaranteed and easily accessible by the intended users.
Proactive DDoS mitigation
Cyberattacks are a common occurrence in today’s world, and no business is safe. The top offender by a large margin is DDoS attacks - simple to deploy and potentially devastating, they need to be dealt with before they affect your organization. To prevent costly negative outcomes, your managed hosting service must have adequate protection from DDoS that eliminates attacks before they become a major threat.
Disaster recovery options
An integral component of managed hosting services, DR plans are something you should pay special attention to. Your provider go above in providing a “Plan B” in the case of unforeseen events such as hardware failure, natural disasters or data breaches.
Specialized Managed Services (Medical)
When it comes to regulatory requirements concerning health care data, there is one more aspect that is crucial to hosting services in addition to the general ones outlined above. Compliance with regulations such as the HITECH Act, HIPAA and PCI-DSS is mandatory - guaranteeing your servers count with the necessary security and reliability is important, but of equal significance in this field is ensuring they are fully compliant with current regulations and ready for future ones as well.
Specialized Managed Services (National Security / High Security)
Similar to the specialized medical managed services, government solutions come with the irrevocable requirement of strict compliance with the HITECH Act and HIPAA / PCI-DSS regulations. Government organizations often deal with matters of national security, which demands for expert knowledge and protection mechanisms that cut no corners whatsoever. A provider must show prowess in this complex field and offer a wide array of services and solutions.
Specialized Managed Services (Banks / Financial Institutions)
The scenario of extended server downtime is unfavorable for any type of organization, but with banks and financial institutions it takes on a whole new meaning. This is why providers who offer such specialized managed services must absolutely make sure they are up to the task, and potential clients must demand the highest level of quality available - because when something goes wrong in this case, the affected group includes way more than just the organization itself. From strategical locations that offer minimal latency on financial markets markets, to securing electronic payments and efficient, 100%-protected access to highly sensitive data, you as a consumer must look for the full package and make zero compromises with providers.
Knowing What You Are Looking for Is Key
Once you have a clear understanding of the matters of importance in hosting services, your choice is sure to be a better one. There are some aspects in a provider that must be present no matter what - these include favorable Service Level Agreements and around-the-clock support. Whether self- or provider-managed services, cloud or dedicated servers, general or specialized solutions, at ColoCrossing we strive to deliver the perfect hosting service to you. Our 100% SLA and 24/7/365 support are our first impression - and we offer a lot more. No matter your organization’s purpose, size or goals, we are here to help you find the perfect hosting service for your needs.