Steps to Planning Hosting Services

  1. You must be absolutely clear why you are considering a hosted service. Make sure that terms are defined, objectives are clear and that all parties know exactly what is expected of them and how process improvements can be made.
  2. Scoping. You will need to ensure that you scope your requirements accordingly. While you might have plans for a global ecommerce site, you might not initially need a comprehensible service with a price to match! It is much easier to increase your requirements as and when your needs change.
  3. It is important that when you request proposals that they meet your business and technical demands, but also that they are ‘like for like’. While it may seem obvious that the most expensive is not necessarily the best, you should make sure you find out why one company is more expensive than another. Perhaps they have a more secure or resilient service. Make sure you ask why there are differences.
  1. Security. It is important that your data is protected and that unauthorised access is prevented. For example, a bank will have an undertaking to protect its’ customer records and financial details. This protection must be ongoing even with backup data. Unauthorised access of customer records will be in breach of the Data Protection Act.
  2. Length of agreement. The agreement should allow you flexibility so you can change certain areas of the agreement especially when it comes to renewing or cancelling it. Ensure that the agreement is long enough to make a difference and short enough to remain flexible.
  3. Scope and terms. Make sure that terms within any agreement are defined, and that any objectives and the SLA’s are clear. Ensure that all parties know exactly what is expected of them.
  4. Will the SLA compensate your organisation should you suffer financial loss due to an issue caused by your hosting provider?
  5. Compliance. If your organisation is effected by legislation or codes of conduct such as Sarbanes-Oxley, this must be considered and be potentially written in to any agreement. Legislation and codes of conduct relating to records generally fall within the remit of your companies IT function so ensure the new system keeps you compliant.
  6. Backup. You need to ensure that backups or copies of vital information are kept regularly. This will ensure that if any of your vital information is lost or if you experience some technical issues your data can be quickly and easily recovered.
  7. Transition plan. You will need to work with your hosting company to fully identify how the services will be transferred if you are moving from another supplier.