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ASPs and security concerns

This tip illustrates the common security concerns related to outsourcing.

You may be contemplating using the services of an application service provider as a way to save internal IT resources....

If so, you have to be wondering about security. And you're not alone, as this tip shows.

An application service provider (ASP) manages and delivers application capabilities to multiple entities from data centers across a wide area network. This gives customers an alternative to procuring and implementing complex systems themselves. These services provide many advantages to customers who are able to control the costs of technology ownership through scheduled payments.

ASPs are concerned about growing security issues and have conducted a survey among current and potential users of their services. The third survey in a quarterly series was commissioned by the ASP Industry Consortium, an international advocacy group of companies formed to promote the application service provider industry. Zona Research, Inc. of Redwood City, Calif., conducted the survey at the direction of the Consortium's Research Committee, which is chaired by Sheila Boughner of Hewlett-Packard Co.

The most important potential issue for sixty-one percent responding to the survey was, "security of my data may be compromised." Another major concern was that Internet security technologies should be supported and provided by ASPs, such as virus software and software firewalls; user-based control/authentication; and intrusion detection.

It is interesting to note that for the first time, the tracking survey also asked non-ASP users reasons for not using ASP services. Fifty-six percent responded that they have sufficient IT resources in-house. Forty-five percent indicated that there would be no cost advantage for them. Three percent had never been contacted and the remaining thirty-one percent said they were not familiar enough with the ASP concept. Although the ASP market is relatively new, analysts expect rapid growth within the next few years.

The Consortium's Research Committee will commission more surveys and studies this year covering a variety of markets and topics relating to application service provisioning.

Results may be obtained free of charge through the Consortium's Web site,

Barrie Sosinsky ( is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates in Medfield, Mass. He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.

Related book

ASP -- Application Service Providing : The Ultimate Guide to Hiring Rather Than Buying Applications
Author : Scn Education Bv
Publisher : Morgan Kaufmann
ISBN/CODE : 3528031484
Cover Type : Hard Cover
Published : July 2000
How can you use ASPs for your business? The Application Service Provider-market is on the verge of becoming a multibillion-dollar business, from its position as a niche market. Hiring an application instead of buying one means that the network (i.e. the Internet) becomes crucial. E-mail and Web site hosting were the first two killer applications for ASPs. What kind of applications will follow? Word-processing? Or even Enterprise Resource Planning software?

This was last published in February 2001

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