The significant cost-savings offered by managed server hosting has led to a huge increase in the number of enterprises opting to use it. However, many of those still considering the move are unsure exactly what services are included. Indeed, while many vendors offer a similar raft of services, there are differences between them. In this post, we’ll look at the key services you should expect to see your host provide.
1. Initial server setup
Initial server setup can be a technically challenging process, especially if you have specific configuration requirements. If you don’t have the in-house expertise, this can also be an expensive procedure. With managed server hosting, however, the initial server setup should be carried out for you by the provider. Not only does this remove the technical burden; it also ensures your server will be configured as required and to the highest security standards.
2. Migration services
Migrating your applications from one host to another or from in-house to vendor hosting is another technically challenging procedure that puts many organisations off the idea of upgrading at all. You should expect a good managed server provider to undertake the migration for you on your behalf.
3. 24/7 server monitoring
If your server goes down, the cost of downtime could be significant, especially if it happens at peak times. Your website will go offline and any other critical applications you need to stay operational will cease to work until the problem is resolved.
A competent managed hosting provider won’t let this happen. They will have 24/7 server monitoring in place which can detect potential issues, allowing them to be fixed before they become major problems and lead to an outage. Importantly, they will have failover servers in place, so that if a physical server needs to go offline for maintenance, a backup server will ensure continuity of your services. As a result, you should get 100% uptime, guaranteed.
4. Highly secure network
Enterprises are obliged to comply with an increasing range of ever more stringent security regulations in order to protect the data they hold on customers and employees, such as PCI DSS and GDPR. Being the victim of a cyberattack that results in that information being stolen risks considerable reputational damage, substantial fines and potential lawsuits. Hacking, DDoS attacks, ransomware and other forms of malware infection can also lead to service disruption, financial loss, data corruption and application failure, all of which can have significant consequences. Indeed, 60% of businesses that fall victim to a cyberattack go out of business within six months.
While the responsibility for security ultimately lies with the enterprise itself, any responsible business will ensure that their managed hosting provider also takes security just as seriously – and key to this is that they deliver network security of the highest standards. Security measures should include the installation of mod_evasive to prevent DDoS attacks, firewall configuration, operating system updating and patching and security monitoring.
5. Scheduled remote backups
While the technology used in today’s servers, such as SSD (solid-state drives) makes them more reliable, this does not mean they are infallible. Your applications, files and data are still at risk from cyberattacks, accidental deletion and from major incidents like fires, floods and earthquakes. Although your host will have remote backup datacentres in place to cover the latter, server backups are essential for ensuring that if a disaster does happen, you are able to recover swiftly in order to minimise the impact it can have on your operations.
Not only will a good host provide a backup solution for you; such a solution will give you the flexibility to backup as often as your business requires – which in some instances can mean continuously. In addition, those backups will be stored remotely to ensure that if the datacentre your server is based at goes offline, the backup is still accessible from another location. At the same time, the backup service should be able to encrypt your data for security purposes and check that none of the files have been corrupted so that if you need them, they will work.
6. 24/7 technical support
Technical issues can happen at any time, so it is critical that in the event of a problem or even a technical question, there is an expert on hand to help. The quality of technical support is crucial when choosing a managed hosting provider as you need to be assured that whatever the level of challenge you face with your hosting, the issues can be dealt with quickly by someone who has the skills and experience to deal with them effectively.
Managed server hosting is designed to give an enterprise all the features and benefits that come from using a powerful dedicated server but without the expense and burden of having to manage it for themselves. To really take advantage, however, you need to know that your vendor can provide all the services you need and at the standards you expect. Hopefully, this post will have given you an idea of the services you should look out for.