This is the second post in a four-post series about security risks related to website hosting.
If your neighbors’ houses next door and across the street got broken into within a week of each other, what would you do?
Lock your deadbolts? Install a security system? Sleep with a baseball bat beside your bed?
You’d probably do something.
Yet if your colleagues’, vendors’, or competitors’ websites got hacked, you might not do anything.
“It’s just a website, not physical property. I barely have any content on it. Besides, any data I lose I can easily get back.”
Ignorance is bliss for business owners who don’t know how serious the effects of website hacking are…until it’s too late.
The Effects of Website Hacking
I’ve seen it all—the IT security company that was hacked, the large equipment sales and rental company whose site was redirected to porn MULTIPLE times, and so many more.
Here’s what these business owners realized about hacking all too late…
It’s a major time suck. Most business owners I know have zero minutes to spare on weekdays AND weekends. Even if your website hack is fixable, you’ll have to waste time deciding next steps. Do you fire your hosting provider? Then you’ll need to interview replacements. That’s time you could have spent networking, hiring, or signing new contracts.
It’s like flushing money down the toilet. Remember that jaw-dropping website you paid your marketing company beaucoup bucks for? Your hosting services provider didn’t back it up, so now it’s all gone. It has to be re-programmed. And your programmer’s not gonna cut you a deal because you chose a cheap host.
It’s lethal for your livelihood. Remember when you first became an entrepreneur and dreamed of building a viable brand? Once your site is hacked, you’re no longer in control of that brand. And you probably never will be again. Plus, you have to face the stark reality that former business owners—especially failed entrepreneurs—are virtually unhirable.
Adding Insult to Injury
There’s never a convenient time to re-build your website. But you might be in even hotter water if your website holds user data. In fact, you might just get sued if there’s a data breach. There is no reason to entrust an inexpensive, flimsy set-up with such sensitive, valuable information.
(On that note, be even more careful about the sites you visit. You could be a click away from a website that will wipe out your computer’s hard drive instantly.)
No Website is Hack-Proof, But…
You can make your site hack-resistant by choosing a host who has a business continuity/disaster recovery plan. That plan should include steps for not only fixing the hack but also patching the hole where the hacker entered.
That last step is the most important. It’s also the one that cheap hosts don’t do.
Does your host also…
(1) ensure that there are no entry points to your website from the outside?
(2) enable a strict firewall on the Web server?
(3) have daily, cataloged backups in multiple parts of the country that can be restored in a moment's notice?
(4) have daily scans of your files and alert the appropriate people if suspicious content is found?
(5) keep all layers of the hosting software updated, from the server operating system to the files that comprise your website?
Does Your Hosting Provider Set it and Forget it?
If you choose the cheapest hosting provider, you’ll definitely save some cash. But the money you could potentially lose is exponentially greater. Not to mention the lost time and decades of revenue!
The good news is that reliable website hosting doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
For more on what you really need in a hosting provider, call us at (410) 312-0081. And stay tuned for our next blog post on how to navigate the 21st-century website hosting industry.
-- Randy Goldstein, Web Programmer and Hosting Services Provider