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    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.