Choosing the right hosting provider is vital for the success of any organization. It involves everything from running a web-facing application, a back-end database, transfer and access to sensitive information, and etc. Below are some initial questions to ask hosting providers as you do your research that will help narrow down the field.
What security measures do they have in place?
Security should be one of the main criteria for choosing a hosting provider. Look for a range of security services including managed firewall services, network intrusion prevention, server intrusion prevention, vulnerability scanning, advanced server hardening, server integrity monitoring, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection, and Data Encryption, among others.
What hardware are they using?
Make sure the hosting provider is using reliable and widely used hardware. This can help reduce problems in the future by having parts readily available for speedy hardware replacement/upgrades as needed. Reputable brands include Dell, HP, and IBM among others.
Are they able to support all managed systems in-house?
There is something to be said about in-house expertise when it comes to hosting providers. For things like Citrix or HIPAA, it’s crucial that the hosting provider has engineers on-hand to build and support your environment in a timely manner. The alternative typically requires significant lead time resulting in delayed projects, long turnaround times and lots of frustration.
Will the environment be easily scalable?
Picture this. Your e-commerce start-up just got national news coverage and your site traffic has spiked 50 times its regular levels. Will your site (and hosting provider) be able to handle the volume or will your site go down to much of your dismay? The point here is that you want to make sure that your environment can be scaled with your business growth whether it is a quick spur or over a few years.
Do they support HIPAA or PCI Compliance (if required by your business)
If you are in the healthcare or e-commerce industry ensuring you are compliant in accordance with federal regulations is extremely important. Although a hosting provider cannot ensure you are 100 percent compliant, it can still provide the support you need on the IT side of things to help you get there. Look for a couple of key features such as Data encryption for both data in transit and data at rest, managed firewall protection, VPN access and two-factor authentication support.
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