Hosted SharePoint: Questions every provider should answer

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1 Hosted SharePoint: Questions every provider should answer Deciding to host your SharePoint environment in the Cloud is a game-changer for your company. The potential savings surrounding your time and money are substantial 20 to 60% off your infrastructure! But realizing the benefits of Hosting SharePoint isn t enough now it s up to you to ensure your Private Cloud environment is hosted safely and securely with a company you can trust, one with the experience and expertise to design a solution you can build on. To assist in evaluating what hosting provider is the correct fit for your company, Fpweb.net created a resource that identifies your needs through a series of questions directed at possible hosting vendors. To keep this resource objective, the questions were developed by Richard Harbridge, an internationally recognized SharePoint expert, as an audit of sorts for any hosting provider. Mr. Harbridge has architected, developed and implemented well over 100 SharePoint solutions from small implementations on a single server to over 80,000 user implementations in global organizations. His SharePoint expertise is called upon often as a trusted advisor, consultant, specialist, analyst and architect. This document discusses Security, Identity & Access, Storage, Reliability, Support, Performance, Flexibility, Offline Access, and Costs. But first, we will highlight five questions that we believe sets Fpweb.net apart in this industry: How many years have you worked with SharePoint? Fpweb.net has been in business for 15 years. We were the first and only company in the world to provide hosted SharePoint in Fpweb.net once again showcased hosting innovation by being the first to host SharePoint Because Fpweb.net is a member of Microsoft TAP (technical adoption program), our engineers are already installing and configuring SharePoint 15 to ensure we continue to set the industry standard in SharePoint hosting. How many SharePoint 2010 Enterprise implementations are you currently hosting? Fpweb.net currently hosts over 700 dedicated SharePoint 2010 Enterprise customers. We have deployed SharePoint farms ranging from single server installations to high availability redundant farms. What percentage of your business is SharePoint hosting? 100%. Fpweb.net prides itself on being the premier SharePoint hosting company. Because our focus has been SharePoint, we seek and obtain the brightest SharePoint talent to ensure customer satisfaction with their SharePoint. What Microsoft gold competencies do you have? Fpweb.net is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with competencies in Portals & Collaboration and Hosting. Additionally, we have been named a 2010 Microsoft Partner of the Year Finalist and a Best of Connections 2011 Finalist for the Best SharePoint product, our SharePoint Private Cloud. What relevant certifications does your staff have? Fpweb.net utilizes three specialized teams to deploy and configure SharePoint farms. Our infrastructure team handles networking, security, and the operating system. Team members have earned MCITP: Microsoft Server 2008 certification, Security+ certifications, and are Cisco Certified Network Associates. Our database team installs and configures Microsoft SQL to provide optimal SharePoint performance. Team members have earned MCITP: SQL Server 2005 and MCITP: SQL Server 2008 certifications. One team member is on the board of the St. Louis SQL Server Users Group. The SharePoint team installs and configures SharePoint with over 30 years of combined IT and SharePoint knowledge. Active in the SharePoint community, team members are well versed on best practices for any sized SharePoint implementation. All SharePoint team members have earned MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010 certifications. 1

2 SECURITY How do I know if my cloud is secure? o Fpweb.net isolates customer environments by virtual networks, data partitions and active directory domains. o Our physical data centers are SSAE 16 SOC Type II Certified; this involves SOX, PCI, HIPAA and Safe Harbor compliances. Who will have access to my sensitive data? o Fpweb.net creates two accounts that have access to the servers (a support and backup account). o Fpweb.net also creates an admin account for the customer at handoff. o The customer s admin account will have rights to create and assign users permissions. Do I have full ownership of my data? o The customer owns the data. What type of employee / contractor screening do you perform before hiring them? o We do a background check on all Fpweb.net employees and do not subcontract. How do you detect if an application is being attacked (hacked), and how is that reported to me and my employees? o Fpweb.net does not have an Application Level Firewall. We monitor SQL SA attempts and Signature based attacks. You would be notified if an attack is detected and what Fpweb.net LC did to prevent it. How do you control administrator access to the service? o The customer maintains administrator access. What firewalls are in place? o Cisco edge firewalls What anti-virus technology is in place? o Forefront for Windows Server, a comprehensive, end-to-end solution to help protect users and enable secure access virtually anywhere. Can I get virtual layer 2 networking and a stateful virtual firewall? o At this time Fpweb.net LC does not offer these solutions. IDENTITY & ACCESS Do you offer single sign-on for your services? o Yes. Typically customers choose to establish Active Directory trusts over a VPN tunnel. However, other options are available. For example, some customers choose to implement ADFS. How can I synchronize user information from my On Premise based environments and directories with cloud based ones? o Over a VPN tunnel and active directory trust, ADFS and a custom claims authentication provider, third party software, or something custom. STORAGE Where will my data be stored? o This depends on your plan. If you have not purchased SAN storage, then the data is stored locally on the host server. If you have purchased SAN storage, your data is stored on our SAN. 2

3 Will my data be replicated to any other datacenters around the world (If yes, then which ones)? o No. What controls do you have in place to ensure safety for my data while it is stored in your environment?- o Active\resting data security procedures are up the customer. o Backups are stored on media agents in a proprietary file structure and are encrypted. Can you tell me where my data physically resides? o Yes. It will vary depending on the hosting plan. Data Center Location? o St. Louis, MO, USA (Two Data Centers) o London, England (soon) How many live copies of my data are there? o Active data, two instances of weekly backups and potentially more if you purchase item level backups. What happens to my data if I cancel my service? o You can download the backups manually or pay Fpweb.net to ship the data to you. RELIABILITY What is your Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity strategy? o We help customers design their own disaster recovery plan to meet their custom needs. Examples include offsite backups, failover environments, etc. How do you back up data? o Data is backed up with a 3 rd party software solution, compressed and encrypted to SAN storage. What is the retention period and recovery granularity? o The default backup strategy is weekly full backups with two week retention. Additional backup options are available for purchase. Is your Cloud Computing service SAS70 compliant? o Yes, Fpweb.net s Data Center certification has been upgraded to SSAE 16 SOC I Type II. What measures do you provide to assist compliance and minimize legal risk? o The Data Center compliance is meticulously maintained through yearly audits. o Data compliance on customer servers is the customer s responsibility. SUPPORT Who do I contact for support? o We offer 24x7x365 phone and support ticket support. o o Https://www.fpweb.net/my-account What types of support do you offer? o Fpweb.net supports any technical issue for the hosting plan with a 30 minute best effort resolution. We specialize in SharePoint administration and troubleshooting. If the issue is caused by a failure in hardware or something outside of the customer s control, it will be worked on until it s resolved. If the support incident is outside the scope of Fpweb.net s support, we will offer additional assistance at an hourly rate or refer the customer to qualified consulting partner. 3

4 Are there additional support options available to me? o No, but we do have qualified partners that offer additional consulting and management services. PERFORMANCE How fast is the local network? o 1 GB What is the storage architecture? o This depends on the hosting plan: Direct attached storage, SAN, or both. How can I ensure global consistency across cloud service providers? o This must be tested from the remote location. Our networking team can assist with any inconsistencies that the testing might uncover. How many locations do you have and how are they connected? o The two St. Louis facilities are connected by dark fiber. How many IOPS can I expect at each I/O performance level? o At this time, Fpweb.net does not measure this. o Typically, it will vary depending on the hosting plan configuration. How does your memory access score on the STREAM benchmark? o At this time, Fpweb.net does not measure this. How does your virtualization system score on the SPECvirt benchmark? o At this time, Fpweb.net does not measure this. FLEXIBILITY Am I able to load my own VMs? o No Am I able to install software? o Yes, we do not restrict customers from installing software. Am I able to install 3 rd party plugins like Nintex Workflow? o Yes, we do not restrict customers from installing software. Do you provide assistance for installing SharePoint plugins? o Fpweb.net does not assist with installing 3 rd party software. A consultant or direct support from the vendor is required. What virtualization technology is being used? o Hyper-V Are there additional abstraction layers? o No Can I dynamically add memory and CPU to a cloud VM while it s running? o To add resources to a virtual machine you must contact either your Fpweb.net sales representative or customer support. A time is then arranged for these resources to be added by an Fpweb.net engineer. How can I ensure CPU and memory are guaranteed? o We are not using Dynamic Memory so allocated resources are dedicated to the customer. We cannot oversubscribe doing this. We recommend a 1:4 VPU to GB RAM ratio. 4

5 What access protocols are available? o RDP, VNC, ICA, Console, SSH Any requested. If ports need to be opened, contact Fpweb.net. RDP by default. Over nonstandard ports? o By request. What configuration options do I have? o Our environment allows customers considerable flexibility in their configurations; however, a complete answer would be relative to the plan purchased. Can I add memory? o Fpweb.net engineering will add after purchase. Can I add storage? o Fpweb.net engineering will add after purchase. Can I use public IPs? o Yes. What domain name mapping options do I have? o You can use your own custom domain or a shared domain that Fpweb.net owns. Can I have multiple environments per user? o Yes. Can I archive environments? o Yes. What supporting tools are there? o User management OOB Active Directory. o Data migration We can assist through a billable engagement or recommend 3 rd party assistance. Do you offer On Premise, web-based, or mixed environments? o Fpweb.net only offers environments hosted in our Data Centers. Hybrid options are possible. Will the solution work with what I have in place today? o We will need more information from the client. What are the client requirements? How often do these change? (Example: Must I upgrade my browser to take advantage of new features?) o Fpweb.net recommends what Microsoft recommends for SharePoint 2010 IE 8 or higher. Other major browsers will work, but some features will not be available. OFFLINE ACCESS Do all of my users have to rely on solely web based tools? o You will have full access to the server similar to if you were running it in your own Data Center. You can run any tool you like on the environment. Can users work offline? o Yes, if you connect them with SharePoint Workspace. Do you offer a way for me to run your application locally and how quickly I can revert to the local installation? o N/A 5

6 COSTS Can I get predictable service costs that still allow me to scale when I need to? o Yes, all our costs are fixed. To scale you would just request the additional resources and we will pro-rate the contract. How do you define a processor / virtual core / Compute Unit? o A VPU is a CPU core. What is your SLA and how do you compensate when it is not met? o Please see the hosting agreement. Can I leverage my existing Agreements? o Yes, on all licensing except Windows Server. What is your Service Level Agreement (SLA) and what does it cover? How many nines? o Please see the hosting agreement. Maintenance windows planned vs. surprises? o Maintenance windows are typically on Saturday nights. o Customers can subscribe to status.fpweb.net to get alerts on planned outages. What happens when there is over subscription? o You are limited only by the resources on your server. Licensing numbers are maintained by the customer and bandwidth is unmetered. What are the setup costs? o Setup costs are equal to three months of the contract; however they are only incurred if a month-tomonth payment option is requested. Longer contracts wave the setup fee. What are the recurring monthly costs? o This will vary depending on your server resources, services requested and contract length. All costs will be lined out in Fpweb.net s quote. What contract lengths do you offer? o Monthly, Quarterly, Six Month, Annual, or longer 6

7 Fpweb.net Benefits at a Glance Make certain your cloud hosting provider offers: Private cloud based SharePoint hosting Option to leverage client or private cloud provider licensing Secure, reliable data center infrastructure in place (no closet hosting) Proven ability to scale up the number of servers in a farm to large farm topologies 100% uptime SLA guarantees so you can relax and focus on your business. 10+ years experience in hosting SharePoint Portal solutions Specialization in SharePoint as our primary hosted platform of choice Provide support 24 hour a day, 7 days a week Must allow client and delegated administration support Can provide client references on demand Must maintain a Microsoft Gold Partner Certification or at least one Gold Competency Recognition by Microsoft as a Partner of the Year Nominee is a definite plus Must maintain on staff multiple Support Engineers. Single qualified individual firms need not apply Vendor must be able to provide SharePoint support if requested in the following key infrastructure areas: o o o Environment topology definition Building the environment to match the topology following Microsoft best practices Provide SharePoint ongoing support in the areas of backup, stability monitoring, patching and anti-virus/threat prevention Provide multiple Tier 1 ISP redundancies is preferred Provide redundant SAN storage for content Maintains a SSAE 16 SOC I Type II Certified data center Meet Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI and HIPAA compliance standards Highly secure data center (intrusion detection, biometrics, physical security) a plus Allow full customization of your environment Allow RDP access to your servers 7

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