Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Post GoDaddy attack - How to still do business if your site goes down

The recent attack on domain providers "GoDaddy" saw over 48 million websites go down yesterday, resulting in thousands of online stores being unable to carry out any business online. In the wake of this cyber attack, many people are now looking at ways in which businesses can protect their data and still carry on with transactions should they find their store goes down again in the future. 

The truth is when your domain is hosted by an external site such as "GoDaddy" or "123 Reg," there is no way to stop your ecommerce store from going down, should they be victim of an online attack as we saw yesterday, which was claimed by "@Anonymousown3r." However, when these attacks occur it is only the details which you yourself used to purchase the domain that are vulnerable, not the details of your customers. While having your own details at risk is not ideal, it is much better than having all of your customers details at risk at it could cripple your business. Thankfully, according to Elizabeth L. Driscoll, vice president for public relations at GoDaddy, everything now seems to be fine: 

"Our services are now back to normal. At no time was any sensitive customer information, such as credit card data, passwords or names and addresses compromised." 

With everything now seemingly on the mend, the question now is how can an online business keep carrying out transactions even if their website does happen to go down for any length of time in the future. There are a number of options available depending on the size of your business. While your site being down may mean that you will be unable to process payments, there are still ways for you to actually take orders, which can then be processed once your store comes back online. 

Place your products on social media sites

As some online stores have 1000's of products, I'm not saying that you should upload images and information on every single one of your products on to your social media sites. However, you could put images and information for your top 20 products in to a folder on Facebook for your fans to view. What this means is that even if your store does go down, customers can still look at some of your more popular items you have for sale and see if there is anything they would like to purchase. 

Email orders

Now this is something that some businesses will be able to do, but not all. This means that even if your website goes down, you could still place your email address on your social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. That way if customers have come across any products they would like to purchase in the past, or on your social media pages, they could still place an order for the product and then have the order processed once your online store comes back online. However, whether you can do this or not for your business is dependant on who your webmail is registered with. Obviously if your webmail is registered with your domain provider then you are going to be unable to access your emails as it will all be down. 

Telephone orders

If your online store does go down, you can look to go back to having your customers making telephone orders for your products. Again if they don't know your telephone number, like with your top 20 products, you can place it on your social media site for all your followers to see. Then when a customer gets in touch to make a purchase, you could take a payment by writing their details onto a payment form. If you have the time you could then complete the transaction with their bank, allowing you to receive the payment and then ship the item to the customer or you could simply wait until your store comes back online and then enter their payment details into your system. 

Using this major negative to your advantage

While it is obviously a large negative to have your website go down, causing you to miss out on a number of sales, you can take some positives out of this bad experience by using this time to drastically increase your social media followers. If a customer visits your website and finds that it has gone down, their first port of call for information will be to visit your various social media sites. This will mean they will then most likely begin following you in order to find out more information or to interact with you. Many customers will know that this outage is out of your control, meaning that it won't damage your professional image and when the business does come back online, you will have a whole new set of social media followers for you to interact with. 

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