How secure is your business website? Chances are you might struggle to answer this question. While a Web host or Internet provider may claim the site is in safe hands, the fact is, you may never truly know. As a key communication channel, your site needs to be available all day, every day – at least for the vast majority of time. Security and performance problems that lead to a site going offline can cause major headaches for business.
Consider what happens when a site goes offline. Prospects looking to make an enquiry will probably just head to another provider offering a similar service. If they do happen to return later in the day and find the site inaccessible, the chances they will return again are vastly reduced. In the meantime, rather than focusing on your day-to-day business activities, all your energy is directed at getting the website back online as quickly as possible.
Not only has a potential customer been lost, a whole lot of time has been invested solving the problem. The best approach is to try and avoid website outages in the first place and have a reliable backup procedure in place to ensure a speedy recovery, on the off chance the worst case scenario occurs. Any length of downtime (periods where a website is unavailable) can impact on sales and reputation, so reliable hosting is vital if you want to project a professional image.
Remember, on the Internet, it is easy to switch and compare providers. By ensuring a high level of uptime, you can keep customers happy. Below are some basic rules to follow to help keep your site safe and secure.
Backups: It is important to take regular website backups. If disaster strikes and the server fails, you need to have everything at had to restore the site as quickly as possible. Backup procedures vary widely and some methods are more robust than others, so it is important to consider how often a backup is taken, if any cost is involved in data recovery, and also the backup method (i.e. are the files securely copied to an off-server location?).
Software updates: Maintaining a secure online presence often involves updating the software being used to help the site function. This could involve updating the programs installed on the Web server, updating the Content Management System (CMS), and other associated software. Providers who fail to make crucial software updates put the marketing efforts of their clients at risk. Keeping software updated reduces vulnerabilities and prevents problems occurring in the first place.
Monitoring: Monitoring the performance of a website and ensuring a high level of service is another recommended practice. Your site may be online, but how fast are the pages loading? Is the server responsive enough for the task at hand? Are there any errors, security risks or issues that need to be addressed? And if the website is inaccessible, how long has it been offline? The savvy hosting provider will be able to answer all these questions, and more.
Reliable hosting: The choice of hosting can have quite an impact on website speed and reliability. Hosting providers who cut corners and fail to maintain equipment tend to suffer from more problems that those who invest in infrastructure and provide a stable environment. Regular website outages are bad for business and bad for marketing in general. A solid hosting provider is vital for any online endeavour.