Anger as Websites Deleted by 123-Reg in Error
One of the clearest examples of why it is important to have an effective backup system and a disaster recovery plan in place came to light this week when it was reported that web hosting company 123-reg deleted an unspecified number of websites in error.
How Could This Happen?
It is common practice for web hosts to store multiple websites on one server with each customer effectively renting an amount of space on what is known as a virtual private server (VPS).
123-reg is part of Host Europe Group (HEG), which is reported to have described itself as Europe’s largest privately owned hosting company. 123-reg has 800,000 customers in the UK where it hosts 1.7m sites.
According to 123-reg the customers affected by their “VPS Issues” were those whose websites were hosted on 67 of its 115,000 servers across Europe. The fault occurred on the morning of Saturday 16th April and an email was sent to customers explaining what had happened the following day.
Back Up If Paid For Or Backed Up Yourself
Reports indicate that the VPS service in this case was “unmanaged” and 123-reg did not have back ups of all the affected customer websites affected, unless those customers had also specifically purchased back up.
However. 123-reg is now reported to be using a data recovery specialist to "manage the process of restoration" although this will be on a on a case-by-case basis and therefore is likely to take considerably longer to resolve than those customers with backups who were able to be back online the next day.
Reaction was predictably angry and swift as customers took to social media like Twitter to voice their fury and frustration about how it could possibly happen, the levels of communication that they had received from the company about it, plus the impact that it would have on their businesses.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
This incident indicates how important it is for your business to make sure that you and / or the company that hosts your website has a secure backup of your website as well as other critical business data.
The incident also highlights how important the host selection process is in the first place and to carefully choose a host whose services and capacity closely match the specific requirements and scale of your business both now and in the foreseeable future.
Another important lesson to be learned here is that as part of IT governance in today’s business environment, and as part of your responsibility to your stakeholders it is necessary to have a disaster recovery process in place.