What is application hosting?
In order to understand the benefits of managed application hosting, we should first understand what application hosting is.
Application hosting makes a software application accessible to users over the internet and is commonly termed ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS). Most of us will now use SaaS applications, where the application is hosted in the cloud and accessed remotely. Many well known business tools including Salesforce for CRM, Mailchimp for email marketing, Adobe for design, Xero for accounts, Slack for project management (the list goes on) are SaaS solutions. These applications are all hosted in a data centre somewhere, ready for thousands of users in different worldwide locations to gain access to over the internet – enabling worldwide collaboration.
By choosing to have applications hosted by a specialist, you can reap the benefits.
There are 3 main different ways of hosting your applications:
- On your hardware, in someone else’s data centre.
- On someone else’s hardware, in someone else’s data centre.
- On your hardware on your own premises.
So what ARE the 5 benefits of managed application hosting (option 2 above)?
Scalability and Flexibility
One of the benefits of Software as a Service is that users can have instant access. This means that your application storage needs to be flexible – to increase and decrease with the user base and data quantities. Hosting your application in the cloud, with a third party managing the compute capacity gives you the flexibility to scale and flex your business without limitations of compute resource. Quick and easy, right?
Managed application hosting enables a significant reduction to IT infrastructure and support costs. There is not capital expenditure to be budgeted for and no depreciation costs as you don’t need to replace obsolete hardware. Businesses can control their costs by only renting the server capacity required and in line with incoming revenue, which make profit levels much more predictable. We like to keep finance happy.
Having your applications managed by experts increases the levels of security over your data. With GDPR in particular, you are less likely to fall foul of breaches. You are also less likely to suffer from cyber-crime incidents such as Ransomware. It goes without saying that you should do your due diligence. Look for ISO27001 certifications to demonstrate commitment and check their DR policies as you can never guarantee that you are 100% protected against outages. And then sit back and enjoy some peace of mind.
By working with a hosting provider that has a focus on availability (think about the consequences of downtime for them – loss of customers, revenue and brand reputation generally won’t leave a hosting provider with much of a business left), your uptime will naturally be maximised. With 99.99% to 100% uptime records for many hosting providers, the upshot is that you will be less likely to lose customers if you have your applications hosted. This in turn will make you more profitable. A third-party provider will invest much more into the daily management, monitoring and maintenance of the infrastructure required to keep your availability at its optimum. Best to leave it to the experts.
Hosted applications are much more user- friendly, instantaneous, and easy for customers to adopt. These factors will increase sales and, as a consequence (in combination with the reduction in capital costs outlined above), increase your profitability. Is it starting to make sense yet?