One day, over 700,000 websites went crashing down, rendered completely inactive, all because of a serious and deliberate attack on the entire InMotion Hosting company. What seems to have happened is hackers copied over the index.php in many directories (public_html, wp-admin), deleted the my images directory and added index.php files where they weren’t needed. Many of these 700,000 websites represented the day-to-day livelihood of many of InMotion’s hosting clients. For sure, there would have been a number of business owners who would have closed or shut down because of what happened.
Now, if these affected online business owners had a backup of their website, they could then upload their index.php files to correct this problem, which they’ll have to do for each directory. If their site used an index.HTML or index.htm, they will need to upload those files, then delete the index.php.
I don’t really know how many did keep a backup of their website (if you personally haven’t, please do, today!), but I do know this; if my entire online business crumbled today, went into meltdown, I’d be up and running and making profits in a fairly short period of time. All because of a couple of very important things.
1. I have secure backups of all websites.
2. I have all customer names, both email and postal addresses, stored in a secure place, both electronic copies and manual copies.
The fact is if the customer names are intact, I can be up and running and in business tomorrow, and run it from a space as confined as a phone box. And I mean that quite literally. All I need is a laptop and a small amount of space to work from. The key is having access to all customer files. So, the first thing I would do to create a little momentum and activity by creating a simple direct mail promotion to send to my customers.
Now in addition to having access to your important customer files, the other essential thing is in ensuring you have a back-up storage of all your customers’ details, which must be kept in an external, remote place (not merely stored electronically). Doing this is the most valuable thing you can do because your customers are, quite literally, your entire business. Lose them and you’ll have to start all over again. But you can avoid that pain, frustration and heartache by simply ensuring you have your customer files, their records, their complete details backed up and stored in a safe, remote, external place.
When the World Trade Centre Towers were destroyed, the businesses that were able to pick up the pieces from the obvious devastation were those business who kept their customer data files intact. And that was the key because when the time was right, they were able to communicate to their customers and clients in order to start the business wheels churning again. And that’s despite the fact that their buildings and offices were sent crashing to the ground.
If it wasn’t clear before, it should be very evident to you now that the majority of a business’ wealth, value and future income is stored in their customers and clients. They are the biggest assets a business has.
In fact, because I started my business activities via direct mail, well before the Internet really took off, I have to say that I probably have an unfair advantage in knowing the true value of my customer/client names and of the absolute necessity of keeping my customer records safe, in order, and secure.
Now if you haven’t yet done so, please ensure you do the following two things, today.
1. Back up all your website files, images, directories.
2. Transfer your entire customer’s details, records, etc. onto a spread sheet – maybe using something like Microsoft Excel – and then print everything out and store it in a physical folder. Then lock this safely inside a filing cabinet or drawer.
If you do these two things and treat them as a matter of high importance, and whether you continue to carry them out every week or every 10 days (or sooner if you have a high level of activity in your business) then you’ll find that even if your online business was to go into meltdown today, you will be up and running and ‘in business’ again tomorrow.
Having a successful online business is like no other business on the planet. I wouldn’t swap it for any other kind of business, ever. However, I am fully aware that the most precious asset I have are my customers. If I neglect them, I’d be a serious candidate for the bankruptcy courts!
So whatever you do, keep your customer records safe and secure.