What is managed hosting?

What is Managed Hosting? The Quick Start Guide

Shifting your organization’s IT infrastructure to the cloud is a smart move, but the path to accomplishing your objectives is one that comes with a dizzying array of potential directions to take. You’ll need to identify the type of hosting that will work best for your organization, and as you research different options, you may find yourself asking, ‘what is managed hosting?’

As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, the day-to-day responsibility of managing your organization’s IT effectively will only increase. Managed hosting is a solution that enables your infrastructure to work in the background, freeing your employees to focus on what they do best. 

Here’s a guide to managed hosting that answers the question ‘what is managed hosting?’ along with what you need to know to make an informed decision and move forward with confidence. 

What is Managed Hosting? 

Simply put, managed hosting is a service model in which a provider handles the setup, administration, management, and support of an organization’s IT infrastructure. The managed service provider (MSP) owns the data centre, network, servers, storage, and security, and the customer leases access to the hardware, which is maintained by the MSP.

Without managed hosting, your employees take full responsibility for maintaining servers and equipment, administering servers remotely, conducting software upgrades, handling security, and monitoring activity continuously. Even if you were to rent space on remote servers, without managed hosting, this would require your team to manage countless moving parts, leaving opportunities for something to go wrong or slip through the cracks. 

With fully-managed end-to-end hosting, your organization gets 24×7 IT operations backed by a team of experts, so you can concentrate on your business applications as opposed to infrastructure concerns—all under one subscription fee.

Key Benefits of Managed Hosting    

By subscribing to a managed hosting plan, you are tapping into the knowledge of skilled experts that are dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest security threats and innovative opportunities.

Handling Problems
The IT professionals at an MSP are responsible for supporting and solving problems for multiple customers simultaneously, so an inherent part of their job is to continuously learn new ways to innovate, enhance your company’s IT, and improve their service delivery.

As technology evolves and your business grows, managed hosting allows you to ensure your IT infrastructure stays up and running 24×7. This frees up time and space to focus on other aspects of mission- and business-critical operations. 

Security Threats
No business can afford to ignore the growing threat of cybercrime or the constant risk of downtime. Managed hosting reduces both vulnerabilities with a high level of oversight and constant maintenance, so your organization’s exposure is mitigated. 

MSP teams keep operating systems up-to-date continuously and patched quickly as-needed while also keeping a close watch to identify and immediately remediate security threats. Suspicious traffic is stopped at the gate using virus scans, firewall configuration, vulnerability scans, and other methods. Plus, protocols are implemented to ensure sensitive data can be shared securely.

Compliance Requirements
For companies that manage highly-regulated data, such as PCI or HIPAA information, an MSP will design and support your solution to manage ongoing stringent compliance requirements. In addition, they can support you in your audits.

Disaster Recovery
With comprehensive monitoring, scalability, and capacity management, a managed hosting provider can spread workloads effectively across the platform, guaranteeing redundancy and virtually eliminating downtime. Backups and disaster recovery services protect the integrity of the most complex and business-critical workloads and data, and disaster recovery services can meet even the most demanding recovery time and recovery point objectives.

Public or Private Cloud Capabilities
Managed hosting is also effective for workloads and applications that are known to work on traditional systems. Not all applications are tested to work on public clouds, making managed hosting an option to upgrade infrastructure without having to make the investment to re-factor to be cloud-native immediately. 

Ideal for predictable workloads and businesses, managed hosting yields predictable monthly fees in contrast to public clouds, which can fluctuate hourly. By communicating with your MSP, you’re in a position to grow and scale, ramp up seasonally, and handle expected ebbs and flows. 

It’s also possible to create hybrid scenarios that mix managed hosting and public cloud, driven by application dependencies, data sovereignty, and cost factors to leverage the best of both worlds.

Agility with the Latest Technology
Finally, managed hosting offers access to the latest and emerging technology, keeping up with competition and with the speed of doing business in the modern marketplace. As technology advances, your organization can stay competitive and even ahead of the pack without large capital investments. 

Misconceptions About Managed Hosting

When asking the question, “what is managed hosting?” you’ll likely get answers based on common misconceptions about how it works or what it entails. But you’ll find that in most cases, with the right MSP, the flexibility exists to effectively meet your needs. 

First, managed hosting is not as costly as you might think. By dedicating fewer internal resources to your IT infrastructure management, your organization actually saves time and money in staffing and overhead costs. 

Plus, managed hosting is for companies of all sizes, including small businesses, startups, and large enterprises. Even if you have a dedicated IT department, an MSP can serve as an extension of your staff, enabling your employees to spend less time on routine activities with more time for new business initiatives and innovation.

If you think managed hosting means limited choices or lack of flexibility, think again. The right MSP offers access to options from dedicated cloud to secure virtual private cloud to custom solutions, built from the ground up to meet specific complex needs, with your choice of management and control levels.

Perhaps most commonly, there’s a misconception that organizations must choose either managed hosting or managed cloud. It’s not an either-or decision. Depending on what would work best for your situation, your organization could benefit from adopting a combination of both solutions. 

What to Look for in a Managed Service Provider

If you’re thinking managed hosting might be a good fit for your organization, take the time to find the best provider for your needs. Every MSP has different capabilities, levels of experience, and ways of doing business.

Client experience is the most important attribute that will make or break your relationship with your managed hosting provider. Managed hosting is delivered by people and powered by great technology. Take the time to ask questions about their customer relationships and learn about their operations, support teams, and documented process. 

As a baseline, proactive monitoring and ensuring the health and performance of your system isn’t optional; it’s essential. A managed hosting provider should be set up to be an extension of your IT team with 24×7 service desk operations with defined processes and escalation paths. Many MSPs are designed this way so look out for this capability and ask for documentation and understand the size of their operations team.

Your MSP should provide access to fully-managed top-tier data centres and networking services, certified to meet leading security standards with redundant connectivity via multiple ISPs. The partner you choose should offer comprehensive IT and security management policies and processes, guaranteed assurance that your workloads are always running and infallible disaster recovery services.

Other considerations depend on your organization’s specific needs. For example, you may require a managed hosting provider that can integrate with cloud computing platforms, such as Azure and AWS. You may also want to look for a provider that implements efficient DevOps workflows and recognizes the importance of effective IT management throughout the entire development and delivery cycle. 

Choose the Right Provider for Managed Hosting

Overall, with managed hosting, you can share responsibility, administration, problem-solving, and maintenance for your organization’s IT infrastructure with a partner dedicated to hardware and cloud computing.

Not every MSP offers the same level of quality, expertise, and customer service. It’s important to identify and partner with a managed hosting solutions provider that meets your organization’s unique needs.

Contact us to learn more about how to harness all the benefits of our Fully-Managed Hosting solution. 

Carbon60 is an MSP dedicated to helping businesses maximize the performance and security of their core application infrastructure with an agnostic cloud approach using public and hosted private clouds.  A partner with both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure along with major cloud and data centre technology companies, we have the experience and the expertise to support organizations wherever they might be on their cloud journey

About Sean MacInnes