A recent article in Inc.com raised the question of what a business should do when faced with the disaster of its website going down. There have been many high profile accounts in the news recently of big name websites being attacked and thus crashing. The New York Times has gone down twice in recent weeks and Microsoft Outlook and Apple both experienced outages. Even Google wasn’t immune and was offline for almost five minutes.
Inc.com’s article urged companies to draw up a contingency plan for the possibility of a website crashing. Do you know whom to call in case of an emergency? Time is of the essence, so knowing whom to call (such as your web professional) is important. Having relevant IDs and passwords is also critical. At Waytek, as part of our documentation process for our customers, we map out exactly whom to call, the steps to bring the site back up and how to switch it over to a backup. We handle all of the steps associated with this, and to protect customers and give them a greater sense of security and control (if they want it), we also give them the documentation.
In her article, Meyers also advises you to keep an easily-accessible and up-to-date list of digital ads that send visitors to your site. If your site is down and you have a large marketing campaign or are sending automatic marketing emails, you should have them turned off.
If your host site does not have the option of backups, you should create an independent backup system. If your site is down for a period of time, your hosting company should be able to set up a temporary domain name to redirect customers. We have helped several customers do this by having a backup staged site ready to go. We work with their host and web designer to have it ready.
Meyers also recommends an uptime monitoring service that will let you know immediately when a site goes down. At Waytek, we run Uptime monitors on our Managed Services customers’ sites. Anytime there is even a brief outage, we are notified and can take action before they even know that it’s down. It’s just an extension of our Managed Services and monitoring. We also monitor for hacking sites. We had an account whose site suddenly had a Viagra ad on the front page. We saw it and were able to remove the vulnerability and the ad.
It is critical today to have these steps in place for your company’s website. If an issue does come up, make sure that your website is really down. When a customer notifies us of an issue, we are able to drill down to the source of the outage very quickly to eliminate false alarms and/or confirm that the connection or host is actually down.
Now more than ever, being prepared and ensuring you have the best protection, is essential to successfully running your business.