By Brent Lollis, Founder of Creative State
As I’m writing this (9/23/2010 – 3:51 p.m. CST) Facebook is down. Yep, the entire site is down. Not slow, not sluggish, not buggy… down.
In an ABCNews.com article Facebook officials said “they do not believe a virus or cyber-attack was behind the issue that made the website inaccessible…”
Translation: “It could have been a virus or a cyber-attack or a hardware problem or a software problem or something else. We really don’t know.”
It’s not the first time a high profile site has gone down or been attacked and it won’t be the last. So, why am I writing about it?
I’d like to make a few points about expectations. Creative State, the company I founded over a decade ago, has been involved with hundreds of web projects from small businesses, tech startups, publicly traded companies, schools, churches, artists, record labels and more.
I can’t count the number of times a potential customer has sat in our offices and said, “If we hire you, we want you to assure us that our website will never go down and there is no chance it will ever be hacked or compromised.”
“I won’t tell you that. And anyone who DOES is either lying, clueless or both.”
Here’s the truth:
Websites go down and get hacked – every day.
There are hundreds of examples of high profile sites going down due to viruses, server problems or cyber-attacks. Facebook, Twitter, government sites and the list goes on and on.
If some of the biggest organizations in the world who spend millions of dollars on designers, programmers, consultants, servers, data centers and security software can’t avoid downtime and hackers what can you do to protect your website and your company?
Here are 4 practical pieces of advice:
1. Hire a team of experts – This proactive step will help you avoid many of the most common problems. It might not be the least expensive option up front but can save you thousands, if not millions, of dollars if you experience a major attack or outage. You should hire a team of experienced designers and developers to build and maintain your website. Your team should include someone with experience in server and database security. This won’t ensure you’ll never have a problem but it will ensure that you have a team in place who can help you deal with a problem should it arise.
2. Don’t overreact – If you build a website, there is a chance it will go down and/or be hacked. If it happens, don’t panic and don’t look for someone to fire. Consult your team of experts (see above), assess the situation and develop a plan to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. After the problem is resolved, analyze what happened, learn from the situation and make necessary adjustments to prevent the same scenario from happening again.
3. Buy proper insurance – If your website and the data it contains is critical to the operation and revenue of your company you should consider an insurance policy that will cover loss of revenue due to a website outage. Consult an insurance professional for advice on this subject.
4. Backup your data – Your website should be backed up as frequently as possible. At least daily in my opinion. You should test your backups to ensure your site can be restored in the event of a catastrophic outage.
These four pieces of advice can save your business a tremendous amount of time and money and will give you peace of mind that you are prepared to deal with problems if they occur. If you have questions or would like more information on this topic email firstname.lastname@example.org
About Brent Lollis
Brent Lollis is a former public school teacher and professional musician. In 1996 he became a consultant specializing in helping businesses integrate technology and the Internet into their overall strategy. He writes, speaks and teaches on the topics of marketing and technology. The company he founded in 2000 has helped hundreds of businesses market themselves more effectively and use technology to gain a competitive advantage.
About Creative State
Creative State produces high-quality, easy-to-manage websites and custom web applications for corporate clients and the entertainment industry. The team consists of designers, developers, animators, programmers, marketing strategists, and copy writers. Their capabilities include website design, website re-design, photography, high-definition video production, SEO/SEM, and mobile application development. To learn more, contact Creative State at (866) 658-7423 or go to www.creativestate.com