Website Loss and Recovery

By: James Walsh


Website maintenance is often written only on paper and never implemented. The result is a gamble where there is every chance of your website being damaged and inaccessible.

Causes

Server Problems: Sometimes, websites run into problems when the host network server is running redundant sites and backups. Apart from analysing personal location risks, a user has to consider certain factors about servers:

  • Does your host server have redundancy backups?


  • How often does the host server perform backups?


  • Can the host server handle 'denial of service attacks'?


  • Does the host server provide a program of virus scans and firewall protection systems checking all data and website material released to your network?


Physical Problems: Sometimes, a user gets disconnected from the web because the contact service provider was running an illegal operation. It could also be that the network connections got faulty due to sudden power surges of lightning. This could affect your system and make your website inaccessible.

Natural Disasters: A user also runs the risk of losing website access due to natural disasters of earthquakes and floods. These natural disasters could occur at the service provider location or host location. Either way, website access is lost. Sometimes, limited and minimal LAN connectivity also restricts the user in opening up personal website.

Human Error: Usually human error is accidental in nature. Maybe the user forgot to renew the domain name. It could also happen that the user accidentally input the wrong date and time. Usually, this happens for online business that input 2003 instead of 2007 or 01/07 instead of 07/08.

How to Plan for Website Loss

Risk Assessment: In order to plan for any eventuality of website loss, every user -- whether a business or a home user -- has to conduct an analysis of risks and vulnerabilities. This includes documenting financial, server and human error risks and prioritising them.

Prevention: This usually includes activities which minimise the possibility of an emergency occurring in your organization. The main aim of prevention is to protect user assets minimising risk and loss.

Response: Response deals with reacting to loss and disaster situations in a practical and safe manner. It includes dealing with issues of life safety, emergency policies and server rules and website functioning guidelines.

Resumption: This stage refers to the actual stage of planning and implementing the website recovery plan. The recovery plan should be time-sensitive, cost-effective and enable a user or business to resume normal business activity.

Recovery: The phase of recovery can be described as the timeline of expanded operations after a website loss. The phase helps a user to deal with time-sensitive business operations after resumption.

Restoration: This can be classified as the final stage in website recovery planning. It involves pre-planning the repair or relocation of the primary site and its contents. It also ensures that the repaired website is functional including latest tools and processes to detect sluggish speed.

The Recovery Plan: Every website is made up of three parts:

  • What you need in order for users to view the website


  • The tools you need to maintain the website


  • The things you need for new development on your website


Thus, a user has to first consider the things that are available which relate to and deal with the live operation of the website. This includes all hardware, operating system, network connectivity and all files and scripts that make up the website. A user has to have hosting package i.e. regular backups. This ensures that the website does not use or run on redundant mechanisms. It is recommended not to depend solely on the host service provider. Develop personal service contents installing regular backups and updates.

Next in line is content management or analysing all the web tools and mechanisms that are available. A user has to update them regularly. Sometimes, updates including virus scans may take a long time. But, a user needs to install for website protection. The last step involves analysing the tools a user will need for future development and maintenance of website. This includes documenting digitally and in paper format, all the tools of your browser, host provider and business guidelines. A user also needs to develop and store a web log in a data storage device. This device documents in detail the exact procedure followed when opening the website initially. This helps the user to retrieve the website and make necessary changes for the future.

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