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Making the most of certifications when choosing managed hosting

Companies developing a managed hosting strategy face a number of important decisions that may impact which vendor they choose. There is a lot to think about, such as what type of hosting system is wanted, where the third-party data center needs to be located and how much spending the budget allows. However, the most important consideration may be to which industry certification a hosting provider complies. Standards are in place to create a sense of oversight and consistency across the hosting sector, making them an invaluable resource for companies considering a hosting plan.

What certifications accomplish
There are a wide range of standards and certifications that impact the managed hosting sector. This complexity is created by the simple reality that different industries have to have their own standards. For example, the need for clear auditing of all data handled within the hosting plan is imperative in a sector like financial services, but may not be nearly as important for a small retail organization. However, both companies will have to comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, and their hosting plans have to reflect that regulatory environment.

Healthcare companies, on the other hand, have to ensure that hosting plans comply with HIPAA standards. While there is not yet an official standard for data centers, hospitals and other care providers have to ensure that hosting vendors meet these regulations. Furthermore, HIPAA mandates that every company that handles healthcare data in any way has to work within the standard, so organizations that partner with hospitals for billing services or similar solutions also have to make sure any hosting plans fit within the regulatory climate.

These types of industry-specific standards abound and often cross between sectors. There are also data center sector regulations that provide broader classifications. As a result, these standards, though not all encompassing, can provide companies with a clear idea of what to expect from a hosting plan.

Using standards to guide managed hosting decisions
By understanding the various regulatory requirements that impact their industry, businesses can take a more strategic approach to selecting a managed hosting provider. However, simply going through a checklist of what certifications a service vendor has is not enough. Organizations still need to take a tour of the facility and perform other basic evaluations to ensure the vendor is capable of meeting their needs.