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Understanding the World of Hosted Business Services

Hosting, SaaS (Software as a Service), Outsourcing, Software plus Services – What does it all mean?


You may have seen or heard these terms and wondered exactly what they mean. They aren’t just the latest buzz words. Hosting or Software as a Service has become the new way in which businesses increase productivity, efficiency and collaboration while, at the same time, cutting costs. With the growth of the Internet, more powerful computers and next generation smartphones, the way we communicate has changed forever. In order to remain competitive, respond quickly to customer inquiries and work in a mobile and geographically diverse world, new solutions for receiving, sending and sharing information have been created.

“Hosting providers” are companies who have found a new way in which to deliver traditional software applications like email. Often referred to as SaaS (Software as a Service), hosted services, outsourcing or Software plus Services, they all boil down to the same simple idea – the software and all associated data reside on a central computer known as a server and are accessed by the user, such as a small business, via the Internet. These servers are housed in a secure facility called a data center which meets stringent requirements of physical security and environmental controls. Data centers are rated from 1 to 4 with a Tier-4 data center providing the highest level of physical and data security. All hardware and software is owned, maintained, updated and backed-up by the hosting provider, freeing the end user from having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on purchasing hardware and software for the office, constantly monitoring data availability, and ensuring software updates are installed. Businesses like yours then “rent” the services that best fit their needs, paying for only what they use.

One of the most popular hosted services is hosted Exchange Server. The use of Microsoft Exchange Server as a hosted service provides companies with a “big business” alternative to small business email like gmail, Yahoo or hotmail. Hosted Exchange and other hosted business services are accessed through the Internet, giving the user the benefit of having access from any location at any time of the day or night.

The Benefits of Hosted Services for Your Small Business

For you, the small business owner, this new model of delivering business applications as hosted services, enables you to use the same industry-leading business tools that were once used by only the largest companies but at a fraction of the cost. There’s no need to purchase expensive hardware, worry about installing the latest software, ensure your data is always accessible or hire people to maintain your network. In a hosted environment, your data, small business email, documents, file attachments, images, etc, are stored in one central location and the hardware on which they reside is monitored around the clock so your data is always available and secure. Hosted Exchange services, for example, provide you with:

More Money In Your Pocket:

There’s no expensive hardware or software to purchase. No time spent on hardware and software installation and maintenance. And best of all, affordable prices with on commitments or long term contracts. Anytime/Anywhere Access: Having a small business email account with an Exchange hosting provider also allows you to receive and send email, schedule meetings, and access contact information on the most popular smartphones including iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry.

Peace of Mind:

Hosting providers monitor and maintain their servers 24×7 ensuring that their customers’ data are always available and accessible.

Data Security:

Leading hosting providers utilize Tier-4 data centers to securely store customer data – this is the highest rating a data center can receive for physical security and data security.

The Bottom Line

With the use of hosted business services, you can take advantage of the same business email, mobility and productivity tools as Fortune 500 companies without the cost or headaches of managing these systems yourself.

Still have a few questions that you want to talk over?   You can chat with one of our cloud computing experts now.

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