Managed hosting is an IT provisioning model in which a service provider leases dedicated servers and associated hardware to a single client. The equipment is at the hosting provider's facility and managed there by the service provider.
Managed hosting differs from other dedicated hosting in that the service provider administers the hardware, operating systems and system software. The client usually has administrative access but as a rule rarely uses it, instead interacting with the leased system through a Web-based interface. Typically, the hosting provider is responsible for setting up and configuring hardware, installing and configuring software, technical support, patch management, system maintenance, monitoring and updates.
Managed hosting is usually an extension of dedicated hosting, whereby the required hardware is owned by the hosting provider and is leased to a single client. It differs from other forms of dedicated hosting, however, in the fact that the day-to-day management and maintenance of the servers is handled by the hosting provider rather than by the clients themselves.
The ambiguity in the term managed hosting stems from the different ‘levels’ of management available; although fully managed hosting usually includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Server Monitoring – This is the process of scanning the servers in search of any irregularities or potential failures; when done in a timely fashion, these problems can be rectified before they develop into major issues or service disruption.
- Security – This includes virus scanning, spam filtering, firewall configuration and operating system updates in addition to standard physical data centre security measures. Security is important on any computer system/network, but it is especially important when dealing with personal or business critical data and information.
- Full Back-up and Storage – A company losing data can be costly in every sense of the word; it can cause a loss of money, time and customer trust. For these reasons, it is vital that all critical or personal information is backed up and stored securely.
- Managed Hosting Providers are far more likely to have both the physical and technical capabilities in place to carry out the back-up/storage process correctly.
- Server Configuration and Maintenance – Managed hosting providers can offer specialist staff with the expertise to ensure that the hosting solution is initially configured to meet the customer’s requirements effectively and subsequently, to perform the necessary server maintenance to keep the platform running smoothly
- Support – An attractive benefit of managed hosting is that – if there ever is an issue – there is always qualified support on hand. In ideal cases, companies make human telephone support available 24/7/365, however in some, support is offered via email.
There are also business benefits to managed hosting, which usually include, but once again are not limited to, the following:
- Flexibility - Managed Hosting is a flexible solution – not a one size fits all service – and providers can work with customers to achieve a solution tailored to suit the budget and individual requirements of their business. What’s more, when those requirements change, managed hosting providers can react in good time to ensure that the hosting platform continues to meet those demands.
- Reduced cost of operation – The hardware and expertise required to manage hosting in-house can be very costly; with many businesses, the cost outweighs the benefits. Managed hosting can be a more cost effective IT solution without having to compromise on suitability or control.
- More effective use of resource – If your company employs IT staff then you know better than anyone that skilled IT employees can be costly. With this in mind, it makes sense to make sure that you put this resource to the best possible use. When using a Managed Hosting service, the provider takes care of the day-to-day running and maintenance of the servers and infrastructure, meaning that in-house IT staff can focus on other, more important tasks.