When you think of asset management and business disaster recovery, do you include your internet assets?
Do you have control of your internet assets – your business presence on the internet? Do you control your domain, your website, your blog? Is your website configuration, code, and database backed up?
Are you sure?
If you’re a large corporation, you have a corporate officer, your CIO, who provides the corporation with assurances that all IT assets are controlled and secured. Usually. Websites and internet databases have long been a point of contention between IT and marketing for some time, but this post isn’t going to address that issue.
For those of you with a smaller business with little-to-no IT staff, grasping how to safeguard your IT internet assets is important – even if it’s not as cool as internet marketing.
You need to understand the basics of internet asset management and how not controlling those assets ups your risks, possibly impacting your ability to recover from a disaster.
Here are a few questions for you to consider – especially relevant for smaller firms who may be reliant on a one-man IT support guy, an IT vendor, or winging it.
- What happens to your business if your website goes down for a week? If your hosting provider goes out of business? If your hosted website server goes toes-up?
- What happens to your business if your business email address goes “dead” for that week, meaning any email to that address is bounced back as “bad address” to the sender?
- What happens if your database under your website becomes corrupted somehow and you need to recover it?
- What happens if you somehow lose the services of the one-man IT guy who has been supporting you – if he gets “hit by a bus” or decides to leave for Tahiti for a year and forgets to tell you? Or if you terminate his services and he never provided you with the administrative controls?
- What if you move your internet domain to another hosting provider – do you have the data from your old website?
One business owner shared that he didn’t understand IT and what control of his website meant, so we stepped through the basics. It doesn’t require tech skills to handle the essentials.
To address the rudimentary basics for internet asset and risk management, you want to have the top-level administrative control for each of your internet assets, be it domain name, website domain hosting, email hosting, and any other platform (e.g., WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) used as part of your web presence. And don’t forget backups.
- Your domain name(s) should be under your control. So, if your domain is CoolCompany.com, that name should be under your top-level control. Most domain registrars give you the ability to assign a technical and other contacts, so you can split responsibilities between somebody who is handling the technical aspects of the website from, for example, your accountant who is taking care of payments for same.
- Your website hosting account, if it’s provided by somebody other than your domain registrar, should be handled the same as the domain management, with you having top-level administrative control. While you’re assigning lower-level accesses, be careful in how you share email administration, balancing privacy with control: If you have a growing business, do you want to be the one who sets up each new user’s email account?
- Website platforms such as WordPress, Drupla, Sharepoint and Joomla also have administrative controls. Be sure you have the top-level administrative ID that governs the others for these types of website platforms, giving you the control over the others.
- Database and website backups are vital for disaster recovery, risk management, and business continuity.
- First, backup your website databases – daily. Be sure you are getting a backup daily of your website database(s). WordPress, for example, has plugins available to handle this, including a new one Backup to Dropbox.
- Secondly, get your website itself backed up regularly. The website has numerous settings, configuration files, and other scripts and files that needs to be backed up regularly. The bigger and more active the site is, the more crucial that it’s backed up daily. If it’s a tiny site with little activity, a weekly backup may suffice. This is usually done via a “cron job” (depending on the server operating system, it may be named something different) which may be accessed via cpanel on some sites – or a premium service offering from some website hosting providers. If you don’t have a technical resource, it’s worth a few dollars for the premium service to get your site backed up every night. Oh, and don’t forget to get a copy of this backup – regularly – in your hands or in a location other than on the same server, right? You can use other cloud services for offsite backups of all kinds of databases at very reasonable costs, too.
So, what’s the alternative? Losing your website and database if something goes terribly wrong? Is this acceptable to your business? Still confused? Contact me here if you need help.
Get these basic controls in place as a foundation for your internet asset management. Institute database and website backups so you’ve covered the bare essentials for disaster recovery. You’ll be glad you did.
Control of your internet assets is an important part of business risk management.