Do you know whether you can trust your hosting provider to keep your data safe – and more importantly, the data of your customers? It can sometimes be hard to make the right choice when looking for a hosting provider with a good security track record, and the kinds of features you need to be on the lookout for are not always obvious. It’s important to do your research and think carefully about who you’re hiring, and know at least a little bit about security issues and the common remedies against them in the modern tech world.
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One of the most critical features you’ll want to pay attention to is how well the hosting provider handles its backups. They should ideally give you access to readily available tools that can clone your data and keep it secure in the long run, in separate iterations that you can access independently. You may or may not be charged for your backup storage at the same rate as your regular one, so pay attention to that if you expect that you’ll be storing large volumes of data, and will therefore have a more limited budget for storage.
If you plan on running your own backup solution, you should additionally check that it will be compatible with what the hosting provider is running, and that there will be no backend conflicts between any of the installations. This is more important than it might seem at first, as it’s not rare that you’ll run into an issue with your custom backup that ruins your data if you don’t pay attention to compatibility from the very start. Also if a backup fails, there are server data recovery companies that specialize in recovering data from servers.
Advanced Control Panel Features
You may be fine with a simple cPanel installation, which will significantly simplify your search. Or, you might need something a bit more advanced that can give you more direct control over how your site is running. For example, the ability to remotely reboot the server is not something most hosts offer by default in their cheaper packages, so if you’ll be running any services that might lead to crashes or system overloads, check to see if that’s included in the deal.
Even if it isn’t, it’s never a bad idea to just check with the company directly if they can’t offer you a special package that includes it, as it’s not rare that they would be willing to work with you in a more specialized manner. Don’t be pushy, and make it clear that you’re aware of what you need and how much you’re willing to pay for it, and that kind of interaction will go a long way.
Regular Software Updates
Exploiting bugs in outdated applications is one of the most common tactics used by attackers nowadays, and it’s one of the things you’ll want to pay special attention to in your search for a good host. It can be hard to verify that they keep their servers up to date – you clearly can’t just trust what they have to say on that topic themselves – but there are tools out there that can help you “probe” a server and see what kinds of software they’re running. Comparing that information against public release notes about each corresponding application can help you paint a picture of whether that company can be trusted or not.
Just make sure that you don’t go overboard with this, and read the instructions of the tools you’re using very carefully if you’re not already familiar with them. Some of those tools might perform actions that can be considered illegal in certain jurisdictions, and even if you don’t go that far, you could still cause trouble for the hosting provider’s administrators, something which will not start your relationship on the best possible terms later on.
If something goes wrong with the sites you’re running, you’ll want to get in touch with your hosting provider as quickly as possible to ensure that they’re aware of the issue and that no further data will be compromised. Having access to reliable support channels can be a game-changer in this regard, so pay attention to what people have to say about this aspect of your chosen hosting provider(s) online. Don’t go for companies that have a proven track record of being unresponsive, slow, or incompetent in dealing with their issues, especially when it comes to security. HostPresto are a great example of a company who raise the bar both in terms of technological support and service.
And obviously, if there are any news about major security breaches in the company you’re looking at, it might not be the ideal choice. Still, check to see how they’ve actually dealt with the issue and what their statement on the matter was, as it’s possible that they’ve still managed to handle it in a professional manner and have recovered from it since then. Many companies go through security breaches, the important thing is how they deal with the situation later on and what steps they take to prevent it from reoccurring.