Application service providers (ASPs), software companies that manage data for you on the Web, are struggling to convince small-business owners that the ASP model is a secure one.

Now Accpac, a subsidiary of Computer Associates, has started one of a few partner programs in which accounting firms host Accpac applications on their Web sites. Through those programs, small-business owners can begin using the ASP offerings through companies they already know and trust.

Another small-business anxiety: Even though the whole point of the ASP model is that it allows data to live anywhere, many CEOs want their data to remain physically close to home. So Accpac has built regional data centers. CEOs "like it that their data is in a building they can drive to, surrounded by fences and guard dogs," says Robert Lavery, vice president of strategic alliances for Accpac, only half joking.

And small-business owners are absolutely right to be wary, says Joseph Fuccillo, a senior vice president at Xand Corp., a Hawthorne, N.Y., company that provides hosting hardware and services to ASPs. "If you're going to outsource any business-critical data, you should go see the facility and make sure it's not in someone's garage," he says.

Copyright © 2000 G+J USA Publishing