What are Hosted & Managed IT Services?
Hosted services are IT services that you “rent” instead of buying the products to run a particular service in-house, in your office, including email, backups, help desk, security, and more.
Services like email can be hosted by another entity (“in the cloud”) that someone else manages for you. They provide the email service so that you don’t have to pay for the software, installation services to get it up and running, and, the maintenance of it over time. Like most other things you buy, you must maintain IT over time. Therefore, there is a cost to maintain your email platform, if you own the software (and the server). Both need patches and updates applied routinely. The advantage of hosted services is the hosting entity handles all of the patches and updates, provides continuous service and they will support multiple devices you may have with each license such as your phone and tablet as well. In most cases these services can be engaged rather quickly as opposed to the time it takes to purchase and setup what you purchased. Different hosting services offer different features based on the industry you are in. For example, medical professions need more security features to be HIPAA compliant. Some hosting services are more geared towards compliance and provide more security features along with the email service.
Many companies employ hosted and managed backup solutions where the backups are managed in the background and stored in the cloud (a server in a data center somewhere). Again, if you were to perform this on your site then product would have to be purchased, set up and configuration is needed, someone would have to manage the backups by making sure it was performed, changing tapes and periodically checking for updates for the products purchased.
Why Should You Consider Hosted & Managed IT Services?
Hosted and managed services can be a great solution for companies that are small, just starting or that need a quick reliable solution. There is a vast array of services to choose from to fit almost any need. Larger companies may find that it is more cost effective to “own” the service in-house (i.e. email) because they employ so many people and have an IT staff who can manage it. It is common practice for most companies to have a two-tiered backup solution where there is a device on site with backups and a cloud service as well. This solution also helps protect against issues that malware can present.
Power is another factor to think about when considering hosted and managed services. Email, for example, would always be available if hosted because the hosting facility is, or should be, in a data center that has multiple power backups, and, you can access your email by using that service’s Webmail feature where you can log in from any location and from any device to retrieve your emails. If you own the products and the power is interrupted to your building then your network could be down and therefore no email. If you have a server problem then, again, your email is down.
One word of caution though. In the beginning, when hosted and managed services come to the market, many people jumped on the bandwagon not thinking of the future in regards to a possible growing cost. In many cases, the costs grew so rapidly that many companies found themselves having to terminate the services for an alternative solution. The problem was that they were locked into a contract. Make sure you extrapolate the costs over time to verify that the particular solution is a good fit for your needs financially, and, that you don’t lock into a long-term contract forcing you to pay a lot of money. ASE can certainly help you. Call us.
Put Our IT Expertise to Use
Contact ASE for hosted and managed IT Services. ASE IT Services is based in Fairfax, Virginia, and we serve all of Northern Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.