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Application Service Provider

Abbreviated as ASP, a third-party entity that manages and distributes software-based services and solutions to customers across a wide area network from a central data center.

In essence, ASPs are a way for companies to outsource some or almost all aspects of their information technology needs. They may be commercial ventures that cater to customers, or not-for-profit or government organizations, providing service and support to end users.

According to ASPnews.com, ASPs are broken down into five subcategories:

  • Enterprise ASPs -- deliver high-end business applications.
  • Local/Regional ASPs -- supply wide variety of application services for smaller businesses in a local area.
  • Specialist ASPs -- provide applications for a specific need, such as Web site services or human resources.
  • Vertical Market ASPs -- provide support to a specific industry, such as healthcare.
  • Volume Business ASPs -- supply general small/medium-sized businesses with prepackaged application services in volume.

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