Your Guide to Managed Services, Hosted Services, and Cloud Services: What’s Right for Your Business

Knowing the types of services your business needs to thrive can be overwhelming at times. This article will detail whether you should consider managed services, hosted services, and/or cloud services for your organization.

Continuity is Key

The role of an IT department is to maintain how information flows throughout your business. While ensuring data security, professionals in the technology industry provide systems and processes that allow you to create value for your customers.

One break due to technological problems hampers meeting organizational goals by slowing down the entire process. Therefore, your decision-making process for applying a solution depends on your business needs. Think minimal effort and maximum impact.

Fortunately, various market solutions can support your business’s technology environment. Each solution includes advantages and challenges from providers that offer technical expertise, resources, and cost structures.

As you take a strategic assessment, consider a few factors for determining which is right for your business:

  • Adaptability
  • Budget planning
  • Experience
  • Help desk support
  • Proactive IT maintenance
  • Reactive support

This guide discusses three viable options: managed services, hosted services, and cloud services. You can choose one or a combination of all three for secure, functional, and scalable IT infrastructure.

Managed Services

Falling behind on important functions such as security updates and backups can easily occur. Other pressing issues take center stage until an outage or other major IT issue affects your business. The purpose of managed services is to prevent these situations from occurring.

The decision to add managed IT services comes with questions about the benefits and features of the services offered. Generally, providers offer assistance with help desk support, network management, and disaster recovery plans.

With a focus on prevention instead or reaction, your managed services provider understands the importance of a reliable IT system. Actual features change with each organization, but a reputable provider ensures employees can work with minimum to no network interruptions.

Generally, a provider offers to manage a range of IT services for a monthly fee. They use a customized package to support and manage your IT infrastructure. The needs of your business drive the types of services you receive.

Types of Managed Services

Typically, a managed services provider offers a partnership. Their goal is to work with you to develop a technology strategy that meets your business’s requirements. Over time, their initial service plan may expand to match your growing needs.

Endpoint Management

The MSP you hire will monitor and manage all components of your IT infrastructure, including network devices, servers, desktops, and laptops. With a security focus, the provider works to protect your IT systems from vicious:

  •  Malware
  • Phishing attacks
  • Computer viruses
  • Ransomware

Other services will maintain business systems and service uptime for a productive workforce.

IT Security

A digital presence makes data protection a top priority. The last thing you want is for your business to become a victim of cyberattacks. So through remote services, an MSP works to keep your business safe.

They bring skill and expertise in preventing attacks with advanced threat detection. If an attack occurs, the MSP takes proactive measures to remediate the threat.

Help Desk Support

Even under the careful watch of a managed services provider, an occasional glitch is likely to happen. Therefore, how the provider responds to support tickets is a crucial consideration. A platform that allows employees to track the progress of service requests offers an added layer of transparency.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Data remains one of the most valuable assets of your business. Therefore, you need to know continuity is not an issue after a system failure, unexpected emergency, or cyberattack. Make sure the managed services provider offers a backup and recovery plan.

This gives you the reassurance that the provider understands the importance of keeping data protected and available whenever you need it.

Compliance Management

The growing number of regulations, such as GDPR and HIPAA, means you also need compliance management services. Ensuring security controls are in place helps your business avoid non-compliance penalties.

Benefits of Managed Services

  • Full-time IT support without the overhead costs – A managed service provider relieves the burden for your internal staff with proactive management that might get lost while you focus on organizational goals. An MSP monitors critical components, customizes software solutions, and assists with technology planning.
  • Improved productivity and efficiency – Your MSP works to improve the efficiency of current systems and suggests improvements through upgrades or newer management systems.
  • Timely updates and patches – While your internal IT department works on priority issues, the MSP can ensure your business is not vulnerable to security issues. In addition, they will handle software updates and patches.
  • Reduction in downtime – By having the ability to track and correct problems before they become major issues, a managed services provider helps your business avoid prolonged downtimes. As a result, customers are satisfied with your organized and reliable service.
  • True partnership through contracted services – An MSP also wants to be seen as reliable with its service offerings. They work to optimize your IT operations with reporting and analysis on what works for your business today and in the future.

Potential Challenges to Managed Services

Keep in mind that not all managed service providers will offer the same level of service. With that in mind, beware of potential issues. If you notice any of these challenges with a current provider, you may need to switch to a new MSP.

Response Time to Support Tickets

Although you are not the only client, an MSP should not leave support tickets unacknowledged for extended periods of time. Instead, they should prioritize issues and follow up when response times might take longer than usual.

Recurring Technology Issues

Does the service go down every few days? If your business constantly experiences the same IT problems, the provider is failing to monitor your systems properly. Mission-critical factors should be a priority for the provider.

No Strategic Planning Foresight

You want a managed service provider that offers suggestions that support your business’s current needs. They should also provide input on strategic plans to help your business adapt when technology changes and grow within your respective industry. Want to know even more about managed services? Check out our standalone in-depth guide to managed services.

Hosted Services

Understanding the purpose of hosted services can help you choose what is right for your business.

What Are Hosted Services?

With hosted services, a web hosting provider allows you to upload business data onto their servers. Essentially, you are renting the provider’s resources to store data instead of maintaining a hard drive.

Not only can you pay for storage space, but web hosting service options may also include security, support, backups, updates, and maintenance.

Key Terminology To Understand Hosting

 Some key terms to know as you review options from hosting providers:

  • Domain Name – how customers access your business website over the internet
  •  Domain Name System – how domain names are translated into IP addresses
  • Web Hosting Service – server space you pay a provider to use
  • Server – the main computer that hosts and stores your website
  • Bandwidth – limited or unlimited amount of data that you can send or receive from the server
  • Control Delivery Network – strategically placed servers in various locations to deliver content faster
  • Content Management System – where you can create and manage a website
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) – the place that secures connections between your business and the server and is offered as a free service when you buy a web hosting plan
  • Secure File Transfer Protocol – used to support bulk transfers and transferring large files
  • Uptime – a guarantee from the hosting service provider of uninterrupted accessibility
  • Site backups – regular archiving of data to ensure website restoration if a problem occurs

Types of Hosted Services

There are many types of hosted services to consider for your organization:

Shared Web Hosting

As the name implies, shared web hosting is a single server for different users. Considered the best option for small businesses and startups, this type of hosted service is good for a small amount of web traffic.

However, a business has the option to upgrade as they begin to grow. In the meantime, the business can operate from a leveled playing field. They can showcase products and services with better online exposure.

Typically, shared hosting plans are inexpensive because the website uses the same server as other websites.

Virtual Private Server

This type of service is similar to a shared hosting service. However, the virtual private server acts as a middle ground between shared hosting and a dedicated server, which is discussed below. The primary difference between VPS and shared hosting is how resources are allocated.

Choosing a virtual private server means sharing hardware resources with other businesses that opt for this hosting platform. Still, it might be the better option for your business if providing visitors with a better user experience matters for your core business.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Some consider WordPress web hosting services to offer a better solution for businesses. Essentially, the hosting provider manages the security, backups, and updates on this hosting platform. The cost is worth not worrying about an unmanaged service.

Furthermore, you are free to focus on core business goals since the provider manages the hosting functions. The hosting services provider has the technical resources to protect your business website from cybersecurity threats.

Dedicated Web Hosting

Compared to shared or managed WordPress, the dedicated web hosting service is a more expensive option. But, typically, established businesses can benefit greatly from this hosting solution.

By selecting this option, you have complete control and do not have to share server resources with other businesses. Businesses with an e-commerce store that expects a lot of traffic can use this web hosting service to their advantage.

An example of this is never worrying about a slowdown since you are not sharing resources. What you pay for a dedicated web hosting service depends on specific business requirements.

Possible Downsides to Hosted Services

Considering which hosted service is right for your business depends on how it can fit seamlessly into your overall strategy. After all, the technology environment is there to support your business, not the other way around.

As you narrow your choices, the potential downsides to using hosted web services cannot be overlooked.

Limited Room for Growth

When you use shared hosting services, you will constrain your ability to grow. This is particularly concerning when an opportunity for growth occurs sooner than expected. For instance, you may introduce a new product line that becomes the next viral sensation.

You do not want the limitations of sharing a server to cause you to lose out on a business opportunity. And, even with an unlimited hosting option, you may have to pay penalties for exceeding the allocated threshold.

Lax Data Security

No matter the size of your business, you need to know that your data is secure. This is especially concerning when you entrust this valuable asset to an outside provider. Data breaches can occur within small or large corporations.

Having to store website data, which may include the customers’ personal and financial data, at an offsite location is concerning. Therefore, you need a hosting provider with a trusted reputation.

Costs May Increase

A web hosting provider will typically offer a plan for the first year they provide the service. If you are given an introductory discount, that cost may increase the following year. In addition to discounts, you may pay more as your site grows.

Be sure to plan for increases in your budget, particularly if you anticipate growth over the years.

Cloud Services

Cloud services can cover a wide range of solutions a provider delivers over the internet. With the right provider, you receive an affordable and easy way to access business applications and resources without an internal IT infrastructure.

The cloud computing provider will host applications on their servers if employees need to collaborate on documents or check email.

Cloud Services Solutions

Generally, there are three types of cloud service solutions to consider.

Software as a Service

Commonly known as SaaS, this type of cloud service encompasses a variety of solutions for your business that are stored in the cloud. For example, you can get a web-based email for employees, project management tools, and file storage and backup.

Infrastructure as a Service

Cloud service providers manage tools used for SaaS through this solution. By using IaaS, the provider does not need an onsite installation to manage the tools. Instead, all networking hardware and storage servers are through a third-party provider.

Platform as a Service

This cloud service model is an environment where web developers build cloud-based applications. Essentially, your business receives an operating system, database, and programming language to develop software minus underlying elements that require a different level of maintenance.

Key Advantages of Cloud Services Solutions

There are many advantages cloud services can provide your organization:

Enhanced Scalability

One key advantage to considering cloud services is the ability to scale. The provider supplies your business with infrastructure and software. As a result, you are not investing resources to hire additional IT staff.

Instead, you can depend on the solution scaling as needs change. For instance, you may need to increase licenses for new hires or expand existing business applications.

Lowered Costs

Typically, a cloud services provider offers a monthly or annual subscription to their services. The fee gives you access to services such as software and storage minus the cost of an underlying infrastructure or regular maintenance.

Increased Flexibility

Having access to on-demand cloud services gives you the flexibility to cancel the subscription when necessary.

Disadvantages To Consider

Cloud services also present some disadvantages that can interfere with your business.


Maximizing the benefits of cloud computing services requires having a reliable and fast internet connection. Without sufficient bandwidth, your business processes will suffer.


Connectivity with poor reception can create downtime when the entire business relies on this service. In addition, even brief offline data centers during maintenance or power outages can be costly.


Migrating to a new cloud service provider might cause support issues. In addition, you could see additional costs for challenges to setting up a new configuration. Cloud migrations may also expose your business data to security weaknesses.


Deciding to use cloud services means you have limited control over how the back-end infrastructure of your technology gets handled. The provider has full ownership and control of the platform.


Without adequate security measures, your business could suffer data loss after a breach. In addition, poor cloud security measures and practices put your business at risk for unauthorized access to employee data, customer data, and trade secrets.

Elevate Your Technology Environment With a Trustworthy Provider

As you consider the choice between managed, hosted, and cloud services, consider the requirements of your business. Also, keep in mind that you are not limited to just one option. The needs of your business dictate the right choice and the provider capable of delivering.

With over 70 years of combined industry experience, Meriplex offers reliable services to support your business’s digital journey. We deploy transformative technology and stay ahead of cybersecurity issues.

If you are interested in learning more about our technology service solutions, contact us to schedule a consultation.