Your Public Internet Presence
Planning and Management
If you don't know who your registrar and hosting providers are, how to log in to their websites to manage your accounts, or when and how they expect to get paid, please take the time to track down this information today. Don't scramble to recover if your website or e-mail suddenly stops working because one of your services didn't get renewed, or, worse, one of your providers went out of business. Even if you find you have no access to your domain registration, recovery should be possible, but it might require faxing scanned driver licenses or business licenses to prove your identity to the registrar, which can take a few days. Take care of this now; don't wait until you're under duress.
You should also regularly review the configuration and capabilities of your hosts as well as possible replacements, to see if you can better secure your site and improve performance, or save some money. We have in the past encountered new clients who were paying way more than they needed to, every month, sometimes for years, because they didn't have an IT system manager overseeing their Public Internet Presence strategy.
As always, you can do yourself a favor by engaging J.D. Fox Micro to conduct this review for you and make objective recommendations on how you can maximize the utility of your Public Internet Presence.
Moving to a new web or e-mail host can be quite a task, especially when moving between two very different platforms (such as a Microsoft Exchange Server based system to Google Apps). Web sites will generally transfer just fine, but with e-mail, you might find that some of the thousands of messages users typically have saved in their mailboxes might not transfer for various technical reasons, and that users will often need retraining on how to access mail in the new system.
Apart from these user-level issues, the technical planning required for a smooth transition should only be handled by a competent and experienced IT service provider, even for something seemingly simple.
For example, a client recently asked their website designer to redirect their website address in DNS to point to a new web site the designer had built. Unfortunately, since he was not an experienced DNS administrator, he inadvertently and unknowingly shut off inbound e-mail for the entire domain.
When transitioning to a new e-mail system, you may find inbound messages going to the old server after the recipient has already transitioned to the new one (causing lost e-mails) if the transition isn't performed correctly. Also, if the migration of saved messages isn't configured by an expert, users may lose all the folders they created, or, conversely, folders and e-mails may be duplicated.
Certainly you have heard about websites being "hacked", meaning criminals were able to break through a website's security and replace all the content with taunting messages or, more perniciously, install viruses that try to load themselves on visitors' computers while hiding inside the existing pages.
Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should, and it's because most web hosting providers offer virtually nothing in terms of security, and many web designers know little to nothing about it. We so often see failures to implement even the most basic protections—such as using SSL to log in to the administration panel of WordPress, for example, to ensure no one can capture your password in transit. Certainly, you save money up front if you use a cheap provider that leaves all security up to you, and a web designer that hasn't invested in the training and experience required to protect your site.
But, you could lose all those savings right back, and more, in paying to have your website cleaned up, or in the loss of reputation should Google detect the viruses on your site and put the dreaded "This site may be hacked" message next to your site in its search results, or if people get redirected to porn or Viagra sites when they visit your site—not to mention the devastating loss of your entire website if your web designer doesn't keep a backup (more common than you might realize) and the criminal just decides to erase everything.
And letting your e-mail system get compromised is no joke. As you know, since many password-protected websites allow you to reset your password through e-mail alone, someone getting in to your e-mail could mean you lose all your money, literally. Despite the fact that websites have improved on this by requiring answers to a security question before allowing password resets or logins from a computer you haven't logged in from before, a determined criminal with full control of your e-mail account can get past this.
So, if you're not sure whether your website and e-mail systems are secure, contact J.D. Fox Micro for assistance.