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The myths about hosting

There are many myths about hosting in circulation. Some of them originate from the low standard of such services as the omni-present POP3 mailboxes and have completely nothing to do with professional hosting built on a Microsoft Exchange, for example. Some of them have been created by the marketing policies of Western hosting companies (mainly from the USA).

Below is a list of the most popular myths, and explanations of the reality. It is also a good guide to understanding what hosting companies really offer.


The myth of "We guarantee 100% SLA"

SLA should be the one of the most important parameters which characterise the quality of such services as e-mail, but this is not always so.

This is due to the fact that each company interprets the index which defines the service availability level. For example, the 99.8% availability of an e-mail service means that it might be unavailable for 0.2% of the time translated into, say, one year, which is less than 18 hours - less than 1.5 hours per month.

Some American hosting companies have judged that in terms of marketing it is better to declare this index at 100%. In reality though, such a result is virtually impossible to achieve. So, in order to avoid telling the outright truth, some of these companies decided to define the SLA in specific agreements arbitrarily. That is why if you find an offer with the SLA at 100%, you can be 100% sure that the related agreement will have strange provisions about service availability levels.

An example of this is a clause which states that the availability per year is 100% with except for 4 hours per month for unscheduled maintenance, problems resulting from hacker attacks, manufacturer-caused software failure, global DNS failures etc. As a result, the declared 100% is 90% in reality, which translates into problems in exacting any real SLA.
Apart from the interpretation of the index, there is the issue of failure of the provider to provide any precise service availability level. In order to provide the availability level of, say, 99.8%, you need advanced, failure-proof infrastructure which includes high-availability features and system performance monitoring. The 1.5 hour mentioned in the example above is simply too short to remove even the slightest failure, hence the infrastructure must be completely resistant to such problems. 


The usual myth of "We offer 24/7 technical support"

To Host Up, a 24/7 technical support means that there has to be a qualified administrator available 24 hours, 7 days a week, who is ready to immediately take action in order to solve the reported problems.

Most hosting companies offer 24/7 support; however, in reality it comes down to a simple contact form which collects the applications and relays them to administrators. Some hosting companies define this "24/7" as a 24/7 hotline to the Customer Service Office, where its employee collects your maintenance requests and forwards them. The effect of contact forms and hotlines is similar - in reality the administrator responds on the next working day following the notification.

That is why it is always worth studying the technical support, because the availability of services depend on it heavily.
 

The usual myth of "In-house infrastructure is less expensive than hosting"

 An in-house infrastructure is less expensive only if you deploy it for at least 3000 users and only provided that its quality level will be approximate to what Host Up offers. When you build your own infrastructure, apart from hardware and software purchases you need to consider the service costs in the form of at least two qualified administrators.

In-house solutions might become more profitable than hosting within a few years from deployment of at least 4000 mail accounts. Otherwise hosting is much less expensive. Moreover it constitutes a fixed cost and it is easy to include in your expenditures.

To support our claims we have developed a specjal calculator , which will allow you to easily compare the costs for the two models (i.e. hosted and in-house) of deployment of business e-mail for companies and institutions.


The myth of "I have less control over a hosted service"

At Host Up, you have full control over your services via extensive management, reporting and administration tools which can be accessed via a webpage. You can use these tools to manage your entire Exchange environment from anywhere in the world. Adding new mailboxes, changing specific user settings or adding and configuring additional services is quick and easy.

In terms of control, local running of services gives you no more than our customers get in the hosting offer - except for one thing, naturally: they cannot use the administrative panel to physically pull the power plug from a server rack.


The myth of "My data is safer at my place"

Large enterprises with extensive IT departments can afford to spend money on security experts and their e-mail system protection, but it is seldom in the case of SMEs.

Maintenance and ownership of multi-layer protection against viruses, spam and fraudulent attempts (phising and spoofing) at the required level is a key issue to data security. It is also one of the main reasons for which even large enterprises and corporations often decide to move their e-mail system to specialist providers - the company IT department chiefs understand that they cannot provide the required data security within the scheduled budget and solely with their own means.
Host Up heavily stresses this fact. Our entire infrastructure operates under the control of five independent multi-layer anti-virus system and Microsoft Internet Security and Accelleration Server, which guarantees virtually full immunity of the e-mail system to the threats of the modern Internet.


The myth of "The size of the mailbox is most important when you buy an e-mail service"

Large mailboxes lure potential customers to hosting companies. It is best to advertise mailboxes with seemingly unlimited space. However this is where good news end and numerous problems begin.

Too large mailboxes translate into a drastic plunge in the overall system performance, which in turn decreases the quality of services. Moreover the data are exposed to an increased risk of damage, which is especially hazardous to the users of "infinitely large" mailboxes, since no provider can guarantee to archive the data on an "infinite" mailbox.
This problem can be further explained with a simple dilemma. Is it better to have an 8 GB mailbox which you often cannot access, because the service is down, the bandwidth is unsatisfactory and anti-virus service works only in theory, or to have a mailbox with half of that size, but running on an efficient infrastructure with high availability and good protection at the same price? The users of e-mail services must be simply aware of the fact that there are better methods of storage and transmission of very large files than simply an e-mail account.


The myth of "My data is safe with anti-virus and anti-spam"

The Internet is a living and continuously developing organism. Every day hackers, spammers and the automated programs of their making seek for the holes in security systems and effect innumerable attacks on random and specific targets.

The sole declaration of having anti-viruses and anti-spam engines running does not guarantee security alone - these systems must be continuously maintained, improved and tested to be sure that you are always one step ahead of cyber criminals.
That is why Host Up continuously replaces, maintains, improves and tests its security systems to keep them updated and ready to repel any potential threats.