Every once in a while, we get a panicked call from a small business owner - "Help, my email and website stopped working - we can't get any e-mail and I'm missing important orders!". After the usual first steps in trouble shooting - such as can they get out to the Internet at all - one of the first things we check is the domain name registration status. Often what we'll catch is an expired domain name.
If you don't know the status of your domain name, go to http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp and do a free search. You'll find a few important pieces of information: The Registrant, Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, and Expiration Date. Unless you have taken extra steps to make this information private, this is all in the public record.
A few important points:
- The Registrant should be the business name (or owner) and NOT an employee or outside webmaster or consultant. The Registrant "owns" the name.
- The administrative contact should be a principal in the business and we recommend using a "real" email account, not a free one such as HotMail (people often set up temporary accounts and forget about them, and risk missing renewal notices).
- The technical contact can be an outside consultant.
- Make sure all contact information is current or you could miss a renewal notice.
- Track your renewal date just in case you miss a renewal notice.
The legal right to your domain name is an important business asset and should be protected with the same level of vigilance as any other valuable asset.
A question we get asked a lot is "What's the best backup solution for my small business?". The good news and bad news is that there are a lot of choices. So many choices that it can be overwhelming. Here are a few considerations to think about:
1. Get the backup off-site. If there is a disaster in your office building and your back up is on site, you risk losing everything. Make sure your backup gets out of the building either by physically removing the media, or transmitting it on-line.
2. The backup should be encrypted. Data protection laws often require this, but even if you're not dealing with protected information, you don't want your valuable business information in the wrong hands.
3. The backup should be automatic. Relying on someone to remember to run a backup and take the backup off site every day is risky. On-line data storage costs have decreased dramatically over the past few years, so it's now affordable to transmit everything off site automatically.
4. How often do you need to backup your data? Once a day is probably not enough.
5. Calculate the impact of downtime on your business. Your data can't be reproduced, so at a minimum your critical business data needs to be protected, but also consider the impact of down time. Using an imaged-based backup can help you recover a lot faster in the event of a disaster, because you won't need to spend a lot of time installing software and customizing settings when you try to recover.
When you explore options to backup your data, don't get overwhelmed with all the technical buzz words. Stay focused on what's needed to protect your business, and then look at the technical options.
We are excited to announce that Jim Buccieri has joined the Ekaru team. Jim was previously the Director of Physician Services in the IT Department at Emerson Hospital where he was responsible for providing IT leadership and technical consulting assistance to physician's offices with connectivity to the hospital's technology infrastructure including the electronic medical record system. He contributed to large-scale enterprise migration projects, systems conversions and performance tuning and monitoring of applications/systems and helped set long-range technical direction and capacity plans. Jim has a long term track record in IT and he adds strength to Ekaru's healthcare focus and to our overall technology support services. Welcome Jim!