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What Should Businesses Look for in a Hosted Services Provider?

The pendulum swings back and forth. What once was a world of centralized research ruled by mainframes became distributed and personal computing. Now we're swinging back to the centralized model as file and application servers move offsite to data centers. Businesses can benefit from this move by saving money and a lot of technical frustration if they find the right hosted services provider.

Call it cloud, hosted service, co-location, or software-as-a-service; it all means the applications that drive a business run on hardware in someone else's data center. According to a recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates, 18 percent of businesses are doing this today, and 38 percent of those list lower price as the primary benefit. Throw in hosted voice-over-IP providers, and include such cloud-based services as offsite backup or hosted exchange e-mail, and the numbers are likely much higher.

Let's talk bandwidth first. A hosted services company will offer multiple Internet connections to multiple providers. Many data center locations are placed on data network connecting points for just this reason. You don’t have to worry about the hosting company’s bandwidth, nevertheless you do have to worry about your bandwidth, and providers can help.

Dual WAN router

Get a dual WAN router and a second Internet service provider without warning. During you're at it, boost the speed of your primary connection as then. A research adviser can help you decide how to add redundant bandwidth and to use both pipes for improved performance. Find out how much bandwidth is needed in a perfect world, and see how much you can afford to spend and on the whole get the job done. Fight for the first, and accept the second only if need be.

Then, consider which apps are good choices to outsource. The simple answer: nearly every app available today. You could outsource everything and run virtual computer instances, using some form of virtual desktop interface research. For faster response times, there may be a piece of local hardware to front-end the remote services.

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