Incident Response

All the planning and preparation in the world won't prevent an incident, but it can greatly reduce the consequences.

Nothing better prepares you for responding to disaster than experience. In the world of web applications, sometimes we act as firefighters, coming in to rescue the smoldering remains of a hacked site, a crashed server, or an unexpected traffic burst.

As recently as two weeks ago, we had a development server's hard drive become completely wrecked, a complete and total loss. But not our data -- we simply recovered the sites we were actively working on on a new server, as needed -- a 5 - 10 minute process for each one. (And they got an upgraded environment at the same time!) In another case, we restored an email for a client who had deleted it months earlier, potentially keeping her out of a law suit.

In one of our biggest incidents, a production server got hacked a couple years ago, through a malicious file upload in a Joomla site (which we can't secure using the technique I described for Drupal above). We detected the hack within a couple hours, and were easily able to block out the malicious code and close the previously unknown vulnerability. At that point, we could not easily tell if the attacker had left some other malicious code in place, so we decided to be prudent and retire that server. Within two days we had moved every production site over to a brand new server with known good code, with no downtime (other than for the site which had gotten hacked, which we kept offline until we had diagnosed and shut down how the attacker had broken in).

This kind of break-in happens all the time on regular shared hosts. If your web site isn't important to your business, then perhaps you can get away with a $10/month host. Do you have an adequate plan to cover all the likely ways your site can get destroyed? Can you ensure that anything that goes wrong with your web site will have minimal impact on your online reputation?

If your web site IS important to your business, and you don't have the time or staff to keep it secure, backed up, and well maintained, I encourage you to check out our support plans. For less than the cost of two hours of our time a month, we will maintain two sets of backups for your Drupal site, provide shared hosting on a much more secure environment, maintain a test copy of your site, perform security updates and maintenance, and prevent you from losing more than 1 day of data.

If you have higher security needs, such as PCI compliance (for accepting credit cards online) or protection of personally identifiable information (generally health care industry), need to have login access to the server for other developers, use huge amounts of disk space or bandwidth, or want to prevent even 1 day of data loss, we can most definitely help, but it will cost more.

Give us a call at 206-577-0540 or drop us a line, we'd love to help keep your online business presence safe!

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