A colleague recently contacted me that their site was hacked and they were struggling to correct the issue. As soon as the team found and removed the malicious code, the site would get re-infected. The core issue is that hacks made to sites don’t simply infect a single file, they infect all files and even the database. When you remove it from one location, another script is executed that re-enables the infected site. Correction requires the site being disabled and all files and data thoroughly cleansed.
The problem doesn’t stop there, though. By the time Google Search Console or a browser alerts you that your site is infected, contact data from your site is extracted, and search engines are burying your site from page one search results. Now, your users are getting SPAM, or worse, getting phishing attacks that use the compromised data against you. And your prospects are visiting your site and being warned that it’s now untrustworthy.
Core to the issue is that a company made the decision years ago that it was unnecessary to provide the additional budget for external or cloud hosting, that hosting would be more cost effective if managed internally. Liquid Web released the results of a study that pointed to a shift in opinions on inexpensive or internally hosted sites:
- 91% of web-dependents noted security is a top factor when selecting a hosting provider.
- The average number of technical hosting issues is 4.5 times a year.
- 80% of web-dependents expect to be more web reliant in 5 years.
- 86% of web-dependents believe selecting the right hosting provider can affect a company’s competitiveness.
You’re not simply losing revenue from your downtime; you’re losing search visibility that could take months to regain. You’re also losing credibility from prospects that may have been researching their next purchase decision for months. This issue that started with a few minutes of downtime may now cost your company thousands of dollars, upset users, and valuable prospects. Your decision to save a few bucks may have cost you your business.
If a website or application fuels the revenue generation of a business, the choice of a hosting provider should be a strategic one. Yet, often businesses make the mistake of choosing their provider based on price rather than ensuring they have a dependable partner. It’s important not to buy into empty promises of “best support” or “most secure” without validating the performance and security of the offered hosting solutions, reviewing current customer testimonials and customer satisfaction results, and researching the skill level of the resources that will be assisting you to design, migrate and support your solution. It is definitely worth the time to make sure you are picking a partner, not a vendor.
Liquid Web CTO Joe Oesterling
The unforeseen threat, of course, is security. Instead of researching how much managed hosting services with security, support, automated backups, and other benefits cost, businesses need to reverse the question.
What will the cost be for our business if it’s hacked, dropped from search results, our client data exposed, and we’re publicly displayed as untrustworthy to our prospects? What will the effort and expense be to overcome that loss in credibility?
It’s a lot more than most companies think. Especially as our systems and sites are being automated, integrated, and collaborated across services and organizations. A single security issue, like dominoes, could lead to a chain of events that severely damage your brand’s marketing efforts and investment.
As data breaches, hacks, and phishing become frequent occurrences, customer attitudes are dramatically changing as well. In fact:
- 39% of consumers said they’d remember a major privacy or security breach for a lifetime.
- 44% of consumers would permanently stop using a site that sold their data to vendors without their knowledge.
While services like Neverbounce aren’t hosting your site, we are importing and managing precious data from your company. We’re often surprised that marketers will evaluate similar services that have no terms of service, data policies, or even secure hosting considerations. Uploading their customer data to one of those services could be handing over your most precious digital asset to organizations that will abuse its use.
It’s time that marketers got serious about security. And, as Mr. Oesterling stated, it’s time that marketers ensured they were picking partners, not vendors!