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.