10 Tips For Choosing Between Managed Hosting Providers

Posted by Chris Isham on September 3, 2015

If you've decided to consider managed hosting for your IT environment, you've probably recognized that there are a lot of companies out there competing for your business. These 10 tips help you identify the most important criteria when comparing potential partners.

1. Cost
Of course you already know that cheapest doesn't necessarily mean best, but you need to find the most cost-effective solution for your business. Conducting a thorough analysis of your fundamental IT costs will give you a basis for evaluating managed hosting providers. Pay particular attention to the cost of downtime, since the information you gain from that analysis will help you focus on your most critical areas when assessing a potential partner.
2. Data center hardware
Make sure that all data center hardware is enterprise-grade. Some providers utilize low-end equipment that can result in system failures that could cause instability and data loss.
3. Data center controls
A managed hosting provider should be able to give you detailed specifications of their data center. Look for adequate environmental and physical security controls, and ensure that their security systems satisfy any requirements that may be specific for your business (SOX, HIPAA, Part 11, etc.).
4. Disaster recovery
Find out what plans the managed hosting company has for handling failure, including support/replacement contracts. Ask how they protect their customers' data, and make sure you understand what backup and recovery procedures will be in place for your system.
5. Proven performance
Take a look at the company's history, and check their references. Find out how long the company has been under its current leadership, and whether it is financially stable. Have they been growing consistently? What are their long term plans? The stability of the company will impact their ability to serve your needs.
6. Qualifications
Your managed hosting provider should have a well trained staff. The ideal company will be able to tell you about the qualifications of their security engineers, DBAs, and other in-house expertise for the systems they use. Ask what certifications they have, especially if any are particularly relevant to your business (CISA, CRISC, ITIL).
7. Dedicated support personnel
Keeping a data center up and running is a 24/7 proposition. To make sure you don't wind up with costly interruptions in service, make sure you understand how your system will be supported and staffed.
8. Service level agreements
Your managed hosting provider should clearly state its prices and service levels. Ensure that your critical concerns are addressed, and that there is a minimum guaranteed uptime (be wary of a provider that can't offer at least 99%).
9. Documentation
Documentation needs will vary based on your business type. Find out how they will share performance data with you. If you have special documentation requirements, be sure to address those in your service level agreement.
10. Specialization
Many businesses have special IT requirements that must be met by their managed hosting provider. If you are in a regulated industry, look for a partner with experience serving that industry. Some firms will have teams of regulatory specialists that can help make sure you stay in compliance with the requirements for your field (21 CFR Part 11, HIPAA, GxP, SOX, etc.).

ByteGrid has been implementing premier managed hosting solutions since 1999. With world-class infrastructure, superior management, and proven expertise, we can keep your systems up and running so you can focus on your core business.