How to avoid unnecessary costs and problems with IT services?
People are comfortable and lazy by nature. If you run a small business, I have bad news for you – for the sake of your business, sometimes you’ll have to do a little more and take the time to take care of your company’s digital security.
Unless you don’t have to worry about unnecessary costs, weird EU GDPR ideas and the confidentiality of some information about your company – if you do, then stop reading this article and write to me how you do it, I’m happy to find out 😎
Take care of being a subscriber to your Internet domains
Although there is a lot of talk about it, I still meet people who are quite casual about who is a subscriber to domains related to their company. It often happens that it is the website’s contractor who buys the domain and registers it for himself.
What problems can you face without owning your domains?
First of all, you probably overpay for your domains, because, as you know, there is nothing for free. In addition, any change in domain configuration requires the participation of the person who bought the domain, which in some situations can slow down processes and even generate additional costs.
And most importantly, it may be difficult for you to regain such a domain, and in extreme cases, you may hear a prohibitive price for its “recovery”.
If you do not want to overpay – buy hosting yourself
Quite often you can meet offers where you receive hosting together with your website. Generally it sounds very attractive, because not everyone has to be a specialist in selecting the server for their website, and by the way, someone else makes sure that everything is paid for on time and instead of a few invoices we have one summary invoice for which the accountant kisses us on the hands, because it does not drown in unnecessary papers at the end of the month.
You have to be aware of the fact that hosting for a typical website or company website is usually a cost of several dozen zlotys a year, and as it is a static website you can even publish it online for free by combining it slightly (and having basic technical knowledge). If you pay more and your website does not have any particular requirements regarding accessibility, space, high traffic… then you probably overpay unnecessarily and it would be worth taking a closer look.
Don’t keep your mail on the contractor’s website server
Together with hosting, customers are often offered a mail service. On paper it looks very attractive. In practice, however, one quite important thing to remember is that the contractor of the site will probably have access to the content of your mail through the administration panel. Theoretically, you can’t assume everyone’s bad will and being nosy, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable if someone else besides me even had potential access to my company’s mail. And we’re talking about a situation where someone who invoices us for payment has the opportunity to see information about the state of our company.
If you’re totally paranoid, consider using commercial services like Google Suite or Office 365 – then even administrators of the server where the site is located will not have access to your mail content.
When the wind of change blows
An additional advantage of having control over the domain, hosting and mail is that one day there will come a time when you will have to change the person who manages / creates the website.
Since I often have the opportunity to be a “new performer”, I am able to say that in many business relationships it is like in a marriage – the initial fire for various reasons expires years later and sometimes even ends in an uncompromising divorce.
In a situation where a contractor keeps a handful of your company’s domains, servers and mail… well, let’s just say he is in a much better position to negotiate new conditions.
Consider a simplified disaster recovery plan
Disaster recovery is a plan of action in case something goes very wrong – e.g. a stray meteor hits the office building where you are located perfectly, as a result of which you lose all computers and data stored on them. Sounds like a very low probability scenario?
I have to agree with this, although remember that meteorites and asteroids sometimes hit the Earth (cf. Torino scale).
How about a situation when a person who is the only one who has access to your hosting, domains and mail has a car accident and (to avoid being so brutal) falls into a coma (although in this case it’s probably worse for you) and his loved ones do not have a clue what a hosting or a domain is, and in general, it’s “leave me alone, a person close to us has been in hospital for a month, we don’t know what to do next, we don’t care that some website doesn’t work for you”.
Sounds more like life? That’s why, although I don’t wish anyone such situations, it is important to remember that accidents happen to people and it is worth being less dependent on such situations.
Even if their probability seems extremely low.
Okay, you convinced me, from now on I’m taking it all on myself
Great! It’s two more simple tips not to regret taking on extra duties.
Add a calendar reminder of expiring services
Everyone has the right to forget that something that is paid for once a year has a specific expiry date. Yes, I can understand that not everyone has order in their mail and may miss 4 reminders about the expiring service. But everyone also holds a smartphone every day in which there is certainly a calendar application (or even better, reminders) in which you can add a reminder when you purchase a hosting service or a domain.
You will avoid being surprised that the domain does not work and the website has disappeared from the network. Remember also that courtesy of GDPR nobody will keep your data indefinitely, so if you delay your payment for too long (because you plan to take a month’s holiday away from the electronics) your data may be unrecoverable and it will be your fault only.
Take care of your passwords
I’m not going to say how many times I’ve heard “God’s wounds – who will remember such a long password?!”, but I’ve heard this kind of sentence far too many times. And treating the two-factor authorization as a strange fad for geeks will not even comment.
Remember – good passwords are a basic guarantee of security of your data, data of your contractors and information about your company that you do not want your competitors to know about.
If you give someone access to your services to help you set up, either create a temporary account or, if there is no such option, change your passwords afterwards. This is the basis of security hygiene.
Sir, I have no head for such things
Well, here’s another bad news – when you decide to do business, you take on some obligations that make you have to be a little bit of a lawyer, accountant, HR, salesman and marketer. Too often you forget to add being an IT specialist to this list. And yes – I mean the computer scientist in the common sense, i.e. this gentleman from the exchange of toner in the printer, which if he sees a strange message on the computer he will somehow figure out what to do with it.
Unless business is going well enough for you to set up an IT department – then just in case, send this article to this department.
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Do you have a bank account? Use the internet with your smartphone? Congratulations! Then you are on the brighter side of the power, where digital exclusion does not reach. But can you take care of the security of your data as effectively as you invite your friend for a beer via instant messenger?