Business is all about calculated risk-taking. It’s all about knowing what threats each decision you make will expose you to and working out how best to approach them. Web hosting is no exception to this rule.
It can actually be a bit of a risky business if an organization goes in unprepared. Here are a few of the most common threats faced by every web hosting client – and a little bit of advice on how you can mitigate each. After all, the first step to tackling a threat lies with being aware of it.
For every great web host you encounter online, there are at least three who are running a server out of their girlfriend’s basement (or some equally unprofessional place). It falls to you to do your research before you choose your host. Otherwise, there’s a very good chance that your selection’s going to come back to bite you in some fashion.
If you’re simply running a website with your host, mobile technology is a minor problem, at best. So long as you optimize your site so that it displays properly for someone using a smartphone, you don’t have a great deal to worry about. When you’re using your hosting service for something else – say, an application development platform for your employees –the risk tends to be a bit higher.
If you or your staff are connecting to your system through an unsecured wireless connection you’re opening yourself up to leaking confidential information to unscrupulous listeners, including financial details or login information. For this reason, it’s imperative that you implement some sort of VPN, and caution your employees against connecting through unencrypted wireless. Further, make sure every device connected to your network can be remotely wiped in the event that it should fall into the wrong hands.
It may be curious to list bandwidth as a risk, but the fact remains that improperly balancing server loads and failing to manage website traffic can lead to a host of unpleasant consequences, including high hosting costs, poor performance, or even outright crashes. Make sure your host has decent load balancing software, and that you’re prepared in the event that you encounter a traffic spike. It’d also pay to be aware of how much bandwidth you’ll need – else your costs may go through the roof.
In the past few years, we’ve seen more data breaches than at any other point in the Internet’s history. Why is this? Easy: while it’s certainly true that many organizations are getting a bit more lax with their user information than they should be (see eBay’s abysmal response to a breach that happened earlier this year), it’s also true that cybercriminals are getting much smarter, trickier, and more dangerous.
That’s not really surprising, given how much of our world has begun to move into the digital realm. There’s a very real (and significant) profit to be made in stealing information online, whether it’s financial records, demographic details, or confidential company information. Whatever hosting platform you end up using, make sure you’ve installed decent security software, and that you’re regularly monitoring your website for vulnerabilities and security holes.
The Cloud (And Virtualization)
I should explain: no, I don’t believe the cloud itself is a risk, nor virtualization. They’re some of the most promising technologies currently available in the hosting business. Where the risk arises with it is when it’s mismanaged. Any technology can be harmful if it isn’t utilized properly, but with cloud computing, the damage can be particularly devastating. You need to account for data ownership, properly authenticate your users (and control access), and ensure that the data you’re storing is available when you need it to be.
About the Author
Matthew Davis works as an inbound marketer and blogger for Future Hosting, a leading provider of VPS hosting. Follow Future Hosting on Twitter at @fhsales, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog,http://www.futurehosting.com/blog.