Choosing a reliable host for your business

The decision to hand over your data to be hosted by someone else is never an easy one. Besides making sure that your company is ready internally, you must also decide which Internet Data Center (IDC) is the best-suited for your business.

The decision to hand over your data to be hosted by someone else is never an easy one. Besides making sure that your company is ready internally, you must also decide which Internet Data Center (IDC) is the best-suited for your business.

But what makes one IDC more attractive than another? Having asked some seven data center operators – iAsiaWorks, 1-Net, Satyam Infosys, Triaton, Digital Centrix, Hutchison GlobalCenter and WebVisions - what their customers looked for, these are our findings:

When a company makes the decision to go online, they basically choose to make their business available 24x7. Customers need to feel confident that the service provider can deliver on that promise.

Hence, they look at the Internet Data Centre’s (IDC’s) track record of success and experience in delivering 24x7 Internet services. Investing in technological set-ups and infrastructure tend to be costly, and not every customer will find hosting in-house cost-effective. They would want to find outsourcing to service providers to be a cost-effective option.

Also, they may not be equipped with the technological know-how or the human resource to be able to manage their Web-based business. By outsourcing, customers are entrusting the hosting job to service providers who are experts in the field. The security of data is also another important consideration. Some even expect hosting to have a quicker deployment of applications that allows them to reach out to their target markets earlier. Customer interactivity will be higher and as such, they need to gear up on their online customer relationship.

From a business angle, when customers outsource to an IDC, they are looking for cost savings in terms of reduced up-front investment in facilities and hardware, and ongoing operations. On the technical front, they need to know that a company has the experience and expertise to manage such a critical operation. They will give careful consideration to:

· Business focus of the IDC: Is hosting the main business or a “side-line business”? Will there be conflict of business?

· Experience & track record in operating data centre.

· Availability of a telco-grade hosting facility that will ensure high quality bandwidth.

· Connectivity to multiple ISPs, telcos and other service providers. In other words, there must be redundant lines to other service providers in case of failure in the primary line.

· Performance: Availability and reliability of servers and storage processes.

· One-stop service: Billing, software upgrades and amenities such as staging rooms within the data center.

· Scalability: Space available for expansion and bandwidth-on-demand services.

· Value-added services: Such as managed services, streaming services, security services, storage-on-demand services and call center services. There are some which offers integration to mobile applications.

· Location: Is it conveniently located, near to public transport, expressway etc.

· Sustainability: Will the IDC go bust like many others?

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