This is what one of my client’s sites looked like yesterday….

Site hacked!

They were hacked

I took a review of my clients who are not backing up with an outside service and I wanted to make sure that you knew that you were one of these clients who are not backing up.

Now, you may wonder if your web host is backing up your site. Most likely, they are running a monthly, weekly and a daily backup. This may be great in cases where you know exactly what day/time you were hacked so you know when a good one existed to restore.

Sometimes hacking can occur by hackers dropping files on your server and then a week or two later, they activate the files and hack your site so it is noticeable to you.  In that case, you need to go back further than just a week.

I highly recommend a backup service called blogVault.  This service is OFF SITE which means that the backups do not reside on your server.  They are also EASY to restore with a few clicks and a bit of information.  blogVault also keeps over a month of daily backups so you can go back on a granular basis.

Do you HAVE to have backup?  Certainly not. It is like insurance.  You don’t ever need insurance unless your car is in an accident or your house is damaged or you break a bone or get sick. But if this happens, the fee you will pay for the entire year will be worth the amount of time it would take a developer to restore a manual backup or clean your database.

Just to touch on HOW sites are hacked and WHY

In a nutshell, for the most part, hackers want to either be “famous” or they would like to insert links to pharmaceuticals or other items on your site.  Wordpress is becoming more and more popular, so if a hacker learns how to hack into WordPress, they have a LOT of other sites on which they can just do what they learned how to do.  If you are not maintaining your site by updating to the latest version of WordPress, keeping your plugins up to date, updating your framework and themes, removing themes you are not using, and removing plugins you are not using, you may have your site WIDE OPEN for hackers.

Here are some guidelines to keep your website safe and not like the one above:

  1. Update WordPress on a regular basis
  2. Update your plugins, themes, framework
  3. Remove old software you are not using
  4. Install some type of plugin which limits logins, or provides security
  5. Backup

If you have questions, please send me an email. You can sign up for blogVault right here. All you will need to know is your WordPress login info and have a credit card handy.

Thank you and I wish you all safe and healthy websites!!!

Jennifer

The Bowhunters of Alabama (BHA) is a non-profit organization that reaches out to all the bow hunters in the Alabama state. The family-oriented organization enables people of all ages to participate and learn archery in a safe environment. BHA has trained Boy Scouts and YMCA members. BHA has also created an Urban Deer Control Program (UDCP) at the request of the Alabama Department of Conservation. Bowhunters of Alabama

BHA’s site includes details about the organization, latest updates, programs, businesses, and membership information. It uses blogVault as its WordPress backup service to safeguard all its content. The site’s content spans over 3.5GB with thousands of files and the organization has over 1000 members registered with it.

Here is a story that our customer, BHA, shared with us about how blogVault saved the day.

“Recently, our hosting provider contacted our team at midnight with the bad news that their computers had crashed and that they had no backup.  There was an absolute panic tone to the hosting provider’s notice of the crash.  They knew that our website was gone and they had done nothing to protect our data.

The hosting provider was unaware that blogVault was backing up our site daily. There was absolutely no panic when we were notified of the crash as we knew that our data was safe. blogVault had run their scheduled backup just 8 hours prior to the crash. We lost very minor client posts….THAT WAS FRICKIN’ IT!!!!   The Auto Restore process was amazingly easy. All we had to do was input the ftp access info after they brought us back online and blogVault restored everything and our website worked perfectly upon completion of the restore.

We cannot thank you enough for a flawless backup system.  We had over 5k files that totaled over 3.5 GB.  If we had lost our website it would have been devastating to our state organization of over 1,000 members.  I have been building and designing this website for over 2 years and our members have tons of posts that would have been gone had not blogVault backed up our website daily.”

 

Jennifer Carello“Your website is only as good as its backup…”

…says Jennifer Carello, Founder of Tech Care, LLC who has designed and developed hundreds of client websites. She believes that clean and easy navigation is imperative to a good website

Tech Care has just turned 15 and as a web designer and developer, the company’s founder Jennifer Carello knows only too well the intricacies and challenges behind creating successful and appealing sites.

An accomplished Novell engineer based in Connecticut, Jennifer has trained in some of the acclaimed technology institutes in the New York area. Her eye for detail and enthusiasm to keep up with the rapid changes engulfing the technology sector is what has helped her in designing unique and customized websites for her clients that meet their specific needs.

Having started out in the mid 1990s when mostly Notepad and HTML were in use, Jennifer feels that while the technology itself has become quite complex, it allows you do a lot more things than you could have ever imagined at an earlier time.

Back then, the internet was still fairly new, and everyone at that point used a dial up service. Animated gifs were the “in” thing. I thought writing the html back then was pretty simple because the pages were pretty simple. Since the 90s, so much has changed. Now we can use CSS to modify our sites, which was not available back then. We build sites in databases which are much more complex. So I have to say things were much simpler back then,” she explains.

As someone interested in introducing children to the latest technology for better learning, Jennifer has gone out of her way to help students develop their digital footprint.

As a web designer working in the industry for 15 years, what do you think has changed in the field over the years?

Sixteen years ago, the person who built your website could also be the person who built your server in your corporate environment, and possibly also the person who installed your phone system. Technology was lumped into one category since there was so much less of it. Nowadays, you have to specialize in something particular. Not only do I have to just design and produce websites, I need to be an “expert” in one or two technologies. There is so much to know that there are very few people who can know everything. I think this is the biggest change in the industry.

What, according to you, are the key elements in successful web design and development?

First and foremost, the thing which will make your website successful is a clean and easy to use navigation. Visitors to the website want to find the information that they need quickly and easily with the least number of clicks. If a person “gets lost” on your site or has trouble finding information, they will not come back, and therefore, you have lost a potential customer. Of course, good design is intriguing and helps, along with great photos and imagery, but most important is navigation.

What is the one back up problem that you would like to solve?

The biggest challenge when choosing a backup program is the restore process. You can have the best backup in the world, but if you cannot restore the backup, it is of no use. Likewise, if it takes a web developer hours upon hours to restore a site, the labor costs outweighs a paid service if used even once.

Why do you think WordPress backup is important?

I have had a handful of clients who have been hacked due to outdated software on the backend of their site. Some of these clients had no backup at all. These clients have had to spend quite a bit of money getting their site cleaned – by having a developer comb through files and database entries for rogue software injections from being hacked. If they had had a backup, a restore would have been painless and quick. As I say, your website is only as good as it’s backup. If you have not been hacked, that day may be coming. Don’t be surprised.

How do you use blogVault and what is it that you like about it?

I recommend blogVault to all of my customers. Many of them sign up for the service. I have used blogVault to restore sites after getting hacked, and also to move sites from one domain to another. Using blogVault for that purpose is amazingly easy. I like that the files are backed up off site, not on your own server. I like that you can test a restore of your site on their servers, or download your backup. I also really like that a month of backups is kept which is important if you need to go to a backup from a while ago. The support is also top notch; I have only the best things to say about the support. I love the one click restore feature most of all. This is the biggest benefit of blogvault.

What do you like the most about WordPress?

I love WordPress because it is easy to create pages, menus, and to make global changes in just a few clicks. With flat HTML pages, if you would like to make a global change, in many cases, you must touch each file on the website. With WordPress, you can save hours upon hours in mundane programming and spend time on the more important things such as embellishments, content and design.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced with WordPress?

I think WordPress is great because there is so much development to extend the software. Many people in all parts of the world who would never have a chance to make a living can create themes or plugins and have success. On the other hand, many of these people write something fantastic and then “disappear”, so that when another piece of software is updated and their software breaks, it can sometimes be difficult to find these people or get support. So WordPress is a great thing because of this and also a difficult thing because of this.

Rami LeviNeed often drives us to create, innovate and think out of the box. So when a DJ realized that each time he used mobile payments technology to accept credit cards for payment at an event, he was actually overpaying his merchant services provider every month, he decided to take things into his own hands. On finding out that the problem was a common one, but the options were few, the idea of looking for a way to make mobile credit card processing cheaper for himself and others, took shape. That is when Rami Levi developed a business plan and set out to find a way to promote his new product.

Currently the head honcho of GlobalPay – a merchant services company specializing in mobile payment solutions, Rami is still the owner of RaMiX Events Production, his music entertainment company and says that he loves his job up until this day, as this job is what got him into his current business.

“After getting in contact with companies like First Data I developed a business plan and was looking for a way to promote the new product. I was aware of surrounding competition and the way I was able to differentiate my competition from me is by offering low cost processing, no monthly fee accounts and unique features that most of my competition still do not have. Although it looked very promising, I didn’t get my first client until over 4 months of effort and hard working. Today our website is generating new customers at a much faster pace and we anticipate the growth rate to keep rising,” he tells blogVault.

What is GlobalPay?

In one sentence, GlobalPay is a merchant services company specializing in mobile payment solutions.

How and why is a service like yours, the need of the hour today? Is this because of the popularity of mobile payments?

As technology keeps evolving and as more and more people every year use credit cards, merchants need to adapt to the technological era and accept credit card payments where business takes them. Checks are out dated already and most people tend to not carry much cash with them, so if you want to get paid quickly and easily, mobile payments are the way to go.

From a DJ to GlobalPay, what was the journey like and what was the toughest challenge you faced as an entrepreneur?

During this “GlobalPay Passage” I’ve faced many obstacles, from one side the need to complete my education at the university I am attending, from another side making sure there is enough income to cover all the costs of school and the new business while understanding that being a DJ is fun but also a full time job, and from another side the fact that the only company that offered the product I needed was not willing to work with me and only 6 months of hard working had proved to them that I might be deserving it.


What is mobile credit card processing – how does this impact credit card users like you and me?

Mobile credit card processing is the ability to process credit card payments using a wireless device. At the past this device used to be a special credit card terminal that was designed for this specific purpose (like the Nurit 8000), this product used to be expensive and its maintenance was a bit high. Today, instead of using these expensive machines, merchants can use their own smartphones or tablets. By installing an app on your phone or tablet you’ll be able to process payments quickly and securely.

What does a mobile payment processing provider do? Why is cost a key factor in this setup?

A Mobile Payment Provider supplies the necessary tools in order to process wireless payments. These tools may include a merchant account, the mobile card reader and the designated app that will be suitable with your mobile device. To the client, there are no costs involved in obtaining an account with us. The setup is free and so is our card reader.

In what forms do you offer payment processing services today? What would you say is the usage of such services like in the industry?

Payment processing is a large industry and each merchant may need a different payment solution as each merchant operates differently. Some have a retail store, others have an online website and others may offer services or products at the customer’s location. In order to comply with each merchant’s individual needs we offer payment solutions in several ways. Retail locations may use our traditional credit card machines, online users may use our virtual payment gateway that offers shopping cart integration for online shops (E-Commerce) and on-the-go merchants may use our mobile payment solution.

Tell us a bit about the international services you are offering?

All services that are currently offered at the US are also offered worldwide, pricing depends on the location and risk factor of the individual business.

What made you choose WordPress for your marketing site?

When I thought of developing GlobalPay I consulted with a few web developers who wanted a lot of money for my website. At the time I was not able to afford it and I wasn’t able to build trust with any of them due to my lack of expertise in the industry. So, I called my uncle who is a computer programmer and asked him what he thinks. Instantly he mentioned WordPress, within 48 hours I found myself beginning to build GlobalPay’s official website.

Do the security concerns regarding WordPress worry you, given that you are in the payments industry?

Yes it did, although I take every security measure possible with WordPress I am aware of the risk and therefore customer information is never on our servers but on the processor’s servers where they are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How did you go about selecting a hosting provider for your site?

I’ve been with GoDaddy many years (for my DJ’s website) and simply chose them, they have excellent customer service and this is one thing I am always looking for.

You are using Godaddy Website Protection. How has your experience been with them?

GoDaddy Website Protection team is extremely helpful, the one time I had an issue they instantly logged in into my servers and fixed the problem within 4 hours. More than anything, not only they are very reliable but also very affordable.

What was the thinking behind choosing a specialized WordPress backup solution?

In order to prevent any future problems and to save all the hard work that has been put into the website, I believe it is an obligation and a responsibility of any site owner to back up their website database whenever possible.

We obviously very strongly believe that backups should be 3rd party but we do see many site-owners trusting their hosting provider itself. Did you consider the backup provided by the hosting provider itself?

No, I never even considered it after stories I’ve heard of hackers breaking into a server and erasing all the content from it including backup. I strongly believe that backups should be done only by a 3rd party in order to maximize protection and minimize problems.

How has your experience been with blogVault – any suggestions?

One thing I really liked about blogVault is the quick customer service I received the first time I emailed them. The system has been much easier and quicker to set up than different backup systems I’ve tried in the past. The best feature I like is the option to test the backup and see if it works as it should be before restoring in a case where someone would need immediate restorations.

It is only after losing valuable data that most of us wake up to the need for preservation of our digital information by regularly backing it up. This World Backup Day, the Founding Director of Website Essentials TM tells us why it is important to play it secure   

Many of us have encountered this situation: we have tons of data in our systems and our digital presence makes us happy. We hope that whatever security and backup measures we have taken will hold us in good stead. But what niggles in the back of our minds becomes the monstrous reality one day. All that data is gone, just like that.

Not if you have a foolproof backup system. And internet marketing advisor and the first Yahoo Search Marketing Ambassador in Australia, Mark Tull knows that better than anyone else. Founding Director of Website Essentials TM, a Gold Coast-based company that specializes in website design and conversion, Adwords management and Search Engine Optimization, Mark has been a trailblazer of sorts. A true believer in the power of the net, he was building and designing websites as early as the mid-90s and also understood how crucial it was to have synergy between website designing and marketing.

“Reliability and service key to a good backup solution”

Having dabbled in managing a resort and a few other fields of work, he, along with another person, founded Hot Goanna, a leading Australian Internet Marketing company in 2005 and was highly successful with his venture. Later he sold the company to TPP Internet and went on to work in the area of search engine optimization.

Website Essentials was born in 2009 because Mark felt the need to bring in expertise in the field of internet marketing and wanted to marry it with quality website design and development. He is one of the early Google Adwords Professionals in Australia and Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. Considering that his company is responsible for data in hundreds of clients’ website, good backup is as essential to him as good hosting and a good operating system.

Mark Tull

Excerpts from an interview:  

Q1. Please tell us about your experience of losing valuable data and what steps you took to deal with this persistent problem.

A. Having lost a server at another business years ago, I remember the pain of trying to re-host, re-point and replace multiple websites by ftp from local files.  It was a long weekend I never will forget. With my current business with several hundred client websites, relying only on the server internal backup was a real concern.  Then of course, the epidemic of hacks around the world was only going to get worse and more aggressive, in my opinion.

To deal with this problem, we thoroughly researched many solutions.  Luckily, we pre-empted a massive hack attack on many of our clients’ websites and had blogVault in place.

Q2. What are the important lessons you have learnt through this experience about data recovery and security of your websites?

A.The ability to find the hack / fault and then be able to replace or export an up-to- date complete copy of the site and database is outstanding with blogVault. When you can identify the date of the attack or failure, you can quickly choose the previous day in the backup system and even if you have to reset the host on another server, it is almost instant.  This is real peace of mind.

Q3. What do you look for in a good backup solution?

A.One major quality we look for is customer service and reliability. We need access when we really need it, and we need assistance when we really need it. blogVault can be relied upon for this.

Q4. How have you used blogVault for your security issues?

A.Working with the team at blogVault based on previous hacks, their insight and knowledge has pointed us to continually refine our security and settings, much more so than our hosting provider. This way, we now not only keep an eye on our sites, but we continually work to make them more secure.

Q5. What are the advantages of using WordPress?

A. We love it, search engines love it, and our clients love it. The ability to create your own code and enhance it is excellent. Most SME clients just enjoy being able to really work on their own sites using WordPress.

Q6.What, according to you, are the five essentials for keeping sites and data secure?

A.Good Hosting, Good Operating System, Good email settings, Good Backup service and Good information going out to clients, reminding them that they are part of the solution to being safe on the internet.

Q7. What is the one thing you would like to change about WordPress?

A.I would like WordPress to talk to me and let me know when someone is inside my site, a bit like double verification on your Google account.

If you need to setup an online presence for your business please do contact Mark at http://websiteessentials.com.au/

We at blogVault were privileged to speak to one of our esteemed customers – Erica Arnold who is an avid WordPress Blogger. We got some wonderful feedback from her for blogVault which will help us improve our service for our customers. You can connect to Erica on her blog http://theparkerprocess.com/

Erica Arnold

Tell us about yourself.

I am a online and marketing social media manager in Orange County, California.

What is your blog about?

My company, Biz Marketing Machines, has a blog that gives online marketing tips to chiropractors, but we also have a Done-For-You Service for them.

Why were you looking to move your site to a new host?

I was looking to move my site to a new host because GoDaddy had many issues with their servers and how secure they were.  I just had issue after issue after issue with them with compromised sites etc.

Why did you engage the developer? What did he do?

The original developer of the site was supposed to offer me a clean backup of when he first made the site, but he never responded or got back to me. 

How did you backup your WordPress site before blogVault?

I tried Back-up Buddy, but found it difficult to move sites that were custom-made for us.

What did you find different in our service and product?

The user interface was so friendly and easy to use.  Basically, click some buttons, fill in some basic information, and you can move your site easily.  Not only that, but there is a chat that pops up when you are signed in if you need any assistance.

How was your experience with blogVault?

My experience was great.  Every time I have used it and needed help, I didn’t have to go searching for it.  It’s difficult to find good customer service, especially with internet-based companies, but I think blogVault is top notch in that area.

How do you think we can improve our service to reach more customers?

You don’t need any improvements on service, because that’s what BlogVault really excels at, but you could just have more bloggers talk about it, and get on the WordPress Forums and find out who needs back up and offer your service.

Thank you so much Erica for taking the time out. We look forward to providing world-class service to you and our customers who need backup for their WordPress site.