10 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Selecting a Hosting Provider

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-06-23 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

With cloud computing now established as a standard part of everyday enterprise IT, more and more companies of all shapes and sizes are either adding public cloud services or having their own applications hosted on an outside network, such as Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft or a lesser-known provider. The economic and time-saving aspects of this new-gen IT have been well-chronicled, but the fact is that selecting the right hosting provider for the type of business you are running is not a slam dunk proposition. Hosting providers, whether global, national or regional, all have varying value-adds—or lack of value-adds—and the decision to cast your lot with a provider is one that will certainly be of strategic importance to the entire enterprise. In fact, hosting providers are de facto partners with you in your business, so you must select carefully. In this slide show, comprising eWEEK reporting resources and industry information from Connectria, a cloud hosting provider, we examine 10 important warning signals to look for when selecting a hosting provider.

 
 
 
  • 10 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Selecting a Hosting Provider

    by Chris Preimesberger
    1 - 10 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Selecting a Hosting Provider
  • Limited or No Uptime Guarantees

    This is the first red flag that your hosting provider may be suspect. Quality hosting providers offer some level of guarantee regarding the reliability of their services (e.g., 100 percent network uptime guarantee and 99.99 percent server/cloud uptime guarantees). If you are experiencing occasional outages, you should look elsewhere.
    2 - Limited or No Uptime Guarantees
  • Limited or No Security Guarantees

    Similar to reliability guarantees, if your hosting provider does not guarantee that your data is safe with them, you may want to avoid that provider. A good hosting provider offers a 100 percent security guarantee that your data is always protected. Security should be included with every hosting plan, not be treated as an optional item.
    3 - Limited or No Security Guarantees
  • Doesn't Take Steps to Back Up Data Correctly

    An experienced hosting provider realizes that computer systems occasionally fail. Having the necessary backup and restore systems and procedures in place is of paramount importance. Avoid any provider that does not proactively address this with its customers. Have them demonstrate their backup process.
    4 - Doesn't Take Steps to Back Up Data Correctly
  • Allows Unscrupulous Customers to Host in Their Data Centers

    Your hosting provider should not risk compromising your data by allowing companies with poor security practices to share data center resources. Demand a provider that performs background checks before allowing customers to host.
    5 - Allows Unscrupulous Customers to Host in Their Data Centers
  • Unwilling to Customize Service-License Agreements to Meet Your Needs

    Rigid contracts, policies and procedures is a preview of a hosting provider's commitment level to its customers. A customer-focused provider is willing to work with its clients and prospective clients to craft arrangements that meet mutual business needs. Remember, if you are paying for unneeded server capacity, you are paying too much.
    6 - Unwilling to Customize Service-License Agreements to Meet Your Needs
  • Uses Sales Teams Motivated by Monthly Quotas

    Avoid the hosting provider with ultra-aggressive and eager sales reps. A good way to ensure proposed solutions will work as promised is to go with a hosting provider that uses the same sales engineers (pre- and post-sale).
    7 - Uses Sales Teams Motivated by Monthly Quotas
  • Geographically Concentrated Data Centers

    If your hosting provider's data centers are close in proximity, its claim to provide reliable redundancy and disaster recovery should be questioned. A reputable hosting provider manages multiple geographically dispersed data centers on separate power grids.
    8 - Geographically Concentrated Data Centers
  • Lack of Industry Standard Designations and Audits

    There are certain industry standards and certifications, such as SAS70/SSAE16, that ensure the credibility of hosting providers. Additionally, many hosting providers offering compliance solutions such as HIPAA and PCI undergo regular audits to ensure their compliance. If your hosting provider lacks these designations, run away—far away.
    9 - Lack of Industry Standard Designations and Audits
  • They Nickel-and-Dime You, or Prices Increase Without Warning

    It's reasonable to expect a long-term plan that locks in a price for a number of years. If your provider has continually increased pricing without a warning, you are in the wrong place. Plus, if it is charging extra every time you need support, that's a red flag. There's something to be said for a hosting provider that regards its customers' problems as its problems. A good provider offers this support and often solves complex problems at no extra cost.
    10 - They Nickel-and-Dime You, or Prices Increase Without Warning
  • Support Is Hard to Reach and Has Long Wait Times

    Support should be a phone call away, especially when it's a server issue that happens in the middle of the night. If your hosting provider does not have a direct line of communication with support staff or takes days to resolve issues, you may find yourself in a major downtime situation.
    11 - Support Is Hard to Reach and Has Long Wait Times
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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