Nearly all modern businesses are dependent on their IT systems. It is fair to say that many organisations can barely function without the IT systems being available whenever business users require access, typically twenty four hours a day, possibly seven days a week. Any service interruption can have damaging impacts on business operations. This is especially true of systems that are customer facing, such as Web sites, or those platforms on which much business is conducted and that may be in use throughout day and night, including electronic mail.
Maintaining IT service requires access to good platforms and software. For outward facing systems such as those used by customers and partners, there is a supplementary requirement to ensure that excellent and reliable communications links connect the systems to the Internet. In addition it is necessary to have highly skilled IT staff available to ensure that the systems function whenever required. For many organisations, getting hold of good IT staff is not a simple process as such people are much in demand and for businesses where systems must be operational around the clock throughout the year, retaining skilled IT professionals can be expensive.
As a consequence an industry has developed to help organisations run some, perhaps all, of their IT systems. Offers include Hosting Services that provide organisations with the ability to house managed or unmanaged servers in a data centre run by a professional services supplier, and the running of applications in shared co-location environments.
There are clear indications that hosted services fit the needs of many organisations and that the use of hosted services continues to increase.