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Application Service Provider

Application Service Provider (ASP) is name of the vendor that is engaged in offering Internet access for various software applications to individuals and enterprises. These network accessed software applications could be otherwise located on computers owned by these individuals and enterprises.

These applications are also popularly termed as -'apps-on-taps' and are supposed to be an essential options for small enterprises with limited financial resources for IT infrastructure. These are also outsourced by large organizations.

These are usually provided as Software as a Service (SaaS) over a Local Area Network (LAN) and also through Wide Area Network. Commonest example of a basic ASP is access provided by the vendor to a specific application by using an HTTP protocol.

Organizations or individuals can procure partial or entire gamut of features to fulfill their IT requirements by leveraging ASP. Application Service Providers essentially cater to the following categories

- Business applications
- Industry specific applications
- Need oriented applications
- Localized applications for small enterprises
- Pre-packaged and large volume business ASPs

ASP helps obviate a monotonous and expensive process of installing the same application on several network terminals or work-stations. It also helps saving a hard-drive space and supports flexibility of working hours as well as operational continuity.

However, integration of ASP software with non-ASP software can be a complex process for a business.