Choosing a Hosting Service

When a company signs with a hosting service, it is entrusting the service with a great deal – possibly with everything it owns. IT is now so central to the way companies operate that a catastrophic meltdown of the IT systems can bring the company down with it. Many companies now do either most or all of their sales business online and suspension of revenue for even a short period could be A_view_of_the_server_room_at_The_National_Archivesintolerable.

Then there’s the question of data security – not just the customer’s data but that entrusted to them by their customers and associates. Apart from feelings of breach of trust, the fear of lawsuits and of what regulators can do must be ever-present. It follows that choosing a hosting service is not something to be done lightly.

Here are some of the things to be considered.

Uptime

There is no such thing as 100% uptime – but there is 99.5% uptime and no one should settle for less. Any hosting service should be able to provide historical uptime records. Ask for them.

Stability

What is in question here is the stability – perhaps long-term viability might be a better expression – of the hosting service. Who owns it? How well financed is it? Who is the management? Doubts about any of those questions should lead potential customers to look elsewhere.

Resources

Exactly what equipment does the service have, how many customers are already signed up and what does the answer to the first half of that question look like when related to the second half? In other words, is there enough computing power, storage and bandwidth to support the number of customers comfortably? How long will it be before growth in the customer base means that the resources they have become inadequate? What plans do they have for investment in new equipment, and do their finances suggest that the plans can be implemented?

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