Archive for October, 2014

Realistic Web Hosting Expectations

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

You know the stereotypical portrayal of people having problems with phone networks. Outages are met with irate calls to customer support or even in written form. Consumers have very little patience for outages in these cases, but when it comes to web hosting problems, it would seem that users tend to be a little bit more forgiving. Why is this so? Are people generally just more realistic when it comes to web hosting expectations? There are a number of possible reasons for this:

Web Hosting Providers Offer Transparency and Accountability

Generally, when web hosting problems occur, web hosting providers are very transparent and admit liability. In Prestige Technologies’ case, for instance, the customer support serves as a way of connecting customers to people who can help with their problems, as opposed to some industries where customer support is used to deflect or delay customers’ complaints while the people who can help work at their own pace. Additionally, outages with web hosting can be measured and customers are usually given practical estimates on recovery time and restoration of services. Customers get a feeling that their problems are being worked on, instead of being led around in circles.

Higher Chances of Failure Due to New Technology

This started becoming a reality when cloud adoption became widespread. People understand that a new technology experiences birth pains, and there’s a complex infrastructure that need to be taken into account. They tend to expect some problems and aren’t taken completely off guard in the rare cases when problems do occur.
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Web Hosting Horror Stories of Our Clients Before They Moved to Prestige Technologies

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Web hosting horror stories are very common, mainly because poor choices made when looking for a reliable web host will only show signs of the problem once the user has already settled in with his or her own website and has already wasted several months’ worth in hosting fees. Here are a few examples of these web hosting horror stories, straight from people who eventually dropped their web hosts and moved to Prestige Technologies. Note that we’re not mentioning any individual names or companies as the point is not to put down competitors. Instead, we are shining the spotlight on the problems that you could encounter if you don’t do your homework when choosing a web host:

Website Is Down For Two Days Due to a Blizzard

One of our clients used to have an account with a web hosting provider that offered extremely cheap rates on unlimited bandwidth and storage plans. However, it would seem that there is a catch, and the user was only made aware of it when a blizzard hit a city that had the provider’s datacentre. His website went down immediately and stayed down for two whole days, mainly because all of the web host’s servers are located in a single place and there are no redundancies in place to account for disasters. In an era where two hours of downtime is already disastrous, two whole days of downtime could translate to loss of traffic and in the case of large businesses – thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Prestige Technologies is a solid hosting company that guarantees consistent quality service. Click here and check out the different plans.

How to Find a Reliable Web Host

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

If you are about to start a website, finding a reliable web host is of utmost importance regardless of whether you’re going to use it for a business or a personal website. The problem is that many users tend to go for the cheapest one available, only to regret their decision later on as they are saddled with poor uptime, slow loading speeds, draconian TOS, and even poor security. In order to avoid this sad scenario, you need to know how to look for a reliable website through the following techniques:

Look for User Reviews on Third Party Websites

It’s understandable if you’re skeptical of feedback and user reviews on a web host’s own website. After all, they have everything to gain by controlling the tone of feedback (and in worst case scenarios, completely fabricating them.) So if you want to know about a web host, what you want to look for is feedback and reviews on sites that are not affiliated with them – whether it’s blogs, or review sites or IT news pages – all you need is a search engine and a little bit of time wading through user reviews.

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Check If Their Promises Are Reasonable

Sometimes it’s easy to spot the kind of web hosts that you need to avoid – all you need to do is look at their claims and see if it’s within the realm of possibility. If you see a web host offering no downtimes or 100% uptime, then you’ve found yourself a company that is offering promises that they can’t keep. Servers need to come down from time to time because of maintenance, patching, and yes – even the occasional hitches and hardware failure. It’s simply not within the realm of possibility to provide 100% uptime. What you need to look for are those that provide the least amount of downtime.

Look for Customizable Packages

A reliable web host should be able to offer its users customizable packages instead of locking them in plans that might not be enough for their needs or might be too much for their needs and budget. You might want to dig deeper and actually contact their support, because some web hosts might not offer customized packages but are willing to provide one to users when asked. Definitely a plus in this case as it shows that the company prioritizes users over company protocol.

24/7 Customer Support

This should be a given. It doesn’t matter how reliable their servers are or how robust their infrastructure is. Part of overall reliability is knowing that you have someone to contact if you ever need help with their services, and that there’s no time in the day where you’re going to be left on your own (because problems don’t occur exclusively during office hours.)

Find a Host That Will Accommodate Your Future Needs

This is something that is frequently missed by many webmasters. They’re so fixiated on finding the best deals in web hosting packages that they fail to consider the fact that their needs are going to change in the future. Most likely scenario is that their storage and bandwidth needs will increase, only to realize that their web host only has a cheap starter package, with the next plans being way too expensive as an upgrade. So before you sign up with a host, make sure you check if you can scale your plan up without incurring unnecessary expenses.

Detecting the Undetectable Through Your Logs

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

The strange thing about computer security in the corporate world is that many of the victims don’t even know about their own lapses in security, and only become aware after an attack has happened or if it’s noticed by a third party. In some of the worst cases, the lapses are only found years after the original vulnerability became existent, and after various hackers have already gone and infiltrated the system silently.

What makes things even more odd is that the lapse could have been caught easily because the evidence is found in their own event logs. They didn’t catch it because they simply didn’t look. Many of the big, million-dollar cyber crimes only happened because of this. It’s an issue of poor security due to negligence.

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Why Hackers Might Already Be Inside Your Network

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Cyber Security at the Ministry of Defence MOD 45153615Anybody working in the front lines of cyber security knows that a company that has anything worth stealing has either been hacked already or already infiltrated by APT (advanced persistent threat) groups. The recent incidents with Target and Home Depot breaches only brought it to the attention of mainstream media but the problem has been a long time brewing. The defenders – rather the people on the side of security – are simply doing a poor job. Why are hackers seemingly winning the long term war? Here are a few of the most pervasive problems:

There’s No Fear of Punishment

Very few hackers that get caught actually get convicted. It’s not just a matter of legislation, it’s also because many cyber crimes happen across country boundaries, and the different jurisdictions mean that the laws sometimes don’t match up, making it hard for the authorities to persecute individuals even if a mountain of solid evidence has already been collected.

Fortunately, steps are being taken by various jurisdictions in order to cooperate on the pursuit of cyber criminals, ensuring that nobody will get away because of geographical boundaries. It may take some time, but hopefully the future is a place where people won’t be too focused on the biggest and boldest financially-motivated hackers at the cost of letting the lone teenager hacker with an equally dangerous agenda scoot by.

All Web Hosting plans of Prestige Technologies provides redundant security measures. Click here and check out the different plans.

Poor Communication

It’s not really a case of the stereotype that IT people are poor at communication – as that ship has already sailed. People in the IT industry these days are not that different from people from other professions who have interpersonal communication as one of their skillsets. However, the problem is that most of the time, communication between the IT security department and the executives (i.e. the people with the authority to make the necessary sweeping changes needed for increased security) are poor if non-existent.

Most of the time, the IT department is siloed off from the higher ups and must coordinate with a middlemanager. Sometimes important security issues take too long to reach the people that need to know about them, and there are the more dangerous cases where the higher ups want nothing to do with IT and just delegate responsibility to a middle manager.

CEOs and CIOs That Simply Don’t Care

It can be somewhat rarer these days as many companies are tech oriented and thus require tech-oriented execs as well, but there are still CEOs and CIOs who fail to take security threats as seriously as they should. It has to do with that mindset that IT security is the sole responsibility of the IT department (disregarding the fact that the IT department usually requires authorization and input from the higher ups). Hopefully, the Target breach, which lead to $1 billion in losses and the firing of both the CEO and CIO, will make executives in various industries stand up and finally take notice.

Companies That Are Doing Security Right

Monday, October 13th, 2014

With the Heartbleed bug, the banking malware fiasco, and even the recent news that 5 million Gmail accounts were compromised via the universal login feature, it would seem like Computer Security in general is in a bad place. To someone looking from the outside, there are way too many possible vulnerabilities coupled with the fact that hackers these days are even more financially motivated.

Cyber Security at MoD MOD 45156131

The truth is that security is still where it needs to be. Attacks and exploits get more sophisticated but the good guys still manage to get on top of things. Unfortunately, sometimes it does seem like the guys on our side are just playing catch up. However, there are a few companies who seem to know what they are doing and manage to stay one step ahead of everyone in terms of security, by doing a couple of simple things on their end:

No Permanent Members in Admin Groups

Administrator access is technically the keys to the kingdom. When hackers gain access to a member of the admin group, they no longer need to worry about any other security in the network. They can even set their own policies or do anything to disrupt (but they won’t, the real dangerous intruders want their deeds to go unnoticed so that they can stay inside for a long time.)

Most companies address this by taking really good care of the administrator accounts in their groups. They make sure that only the people who really know what it means to have elevated privileges. However, really smart companies do one thing further and apply delegation, where individual sets of elevated permissions are given to smaller groups of objects. Or they do a variation where they use a password vaulting software in order to ensure that super admin credentials are checked out on the fly. The main purpose is to further minimize the attack surface area by turning it into a moving target.

All Web Hosting plans of Prestige Technologies provides redundant security measures. Click here and check out the different plans.

You will be surprised to know that many intrusions were prevented by this because the hackers were frustrated or simply gave up, knowing that there are easier, more vulnerable targets out there.

Get Rid of Java or Keep It Patched Regularly

It may sound mean but it’s the truth. Java is a security risk and the fact that it has a spotty patching record further makes it not worth the benefit it brings, unless you can be 100% sure that you’re patching it regularly. Many companies keep Java installed because they want to ensure application compatibility. However, companies that are doing security right prioritize security over application compatibility. Once you find a workaround for API incompatibility, it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there on, but leaving a hole in your security is an ongoing risk to your company, your employees, and your customer.

Keeping Passwords Unique Across The Network

The aforementioned Gmail leak somewhat shines a spotlight on this: where the only people who were at risk are people who used the same password for different services. When it comes to company security, the same reliance on easy to memorize passwords can be their undoing. Each password should be unique (and never the default,) so that one being compromised doesn’t necessarily put the rest at risk (or that employees who shouldn’t have access to other people’s accounts wouldn’t be able to guess their way around.)

One of the reasons why non-unique passwords are prevalent is because it makes it easier for the users, but a company should never compromise security for the sake of making things a little bit more convenient for its employees. It is after all, those employees who will suffer is the company is taken down by malicious hackers.

One way companies manage unique passwords is by using an automated password generator or management tool (although it is better for your IT to just code a random string generator instead of using third party software. You never know if one of those has malware built in.)

Outstanding Monitoring

It’s common knowledge that no security measure will ever be 100% foolproof. So a company that values its security will accept that and never let themselves be caught offguard. A robust network and its safeguards will prevent attacks from succeeding, but in the very rare cases that one succeeds, a network that is constantly monitored by an alert security team will be able to address the situation before the hacker manages to do significant damage.

Become a Successful Reseller with Prestige Technologies

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

There are a lot of ways to earn a decent amount of money online, but don’t believe people trying to sell you in on a turnkey business that will “make you rich overnight.” All of the online businesses that you can start require you to exert the same amount of effort as you would a dayjob. However, the ones that do require the least amount of effort and investment relative to the amount of money you can make is being a web hosting reseller.

Being a web host reseller is a fairly simple concept: you either buy a plan from a service provider and resell it under your name (while increasing the pricing to cover your costs and your revenue) or you act as a front end for the company, reselling their services in exchange for commission. Either way, reselling doesn’t take much technical knowledge and doesn’t require you to stay on top of the backend because the hosting provider will handle those things. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to be a successful reseller with Prestige Technologies:

1. You Need to Learn How to Address Customer Concerns – since you’re selling Prestige Technologies’ services under your own name, you’re going to be the point person for any concerns that the customer has with the service. You can’t resell a hosting plan and just deflect all customer concerns with “take it up with the web host.” Basically, common issues that can be addressed without technical knowhow will be your responsibility, while backend problems that require the web host’s help will require you to act as a go-between between your clients and Prestige Technologies. Thankfully, we don’t have any issues with regard to stability and robustness of the infrastructure, so you can rest assured that these kinds of issues are rare.

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Prestige Technologies Will Help You if Your Web Host Goes Out of Business

Monday, October 6th, 2014

It’s very rare that it happens to big businesses that tend to go for premium hosting, but there are small businesses and individuals who chose to go the cheap route when getting hosting, and eventually had to pay the price: a web host that goes out of business.

The reason for why most cheap web hosts tend to go out of business is subject for another post. This time around, we here at Prestige Technologies are more interested in helping people bounce back when their old web host goes out of business. Besides moving to Prestige, here are some things you need to keep in mind:

Don’t Close Your Account With the Existing Web Host

It doesn’t matter how good the new web hosting company is, moving sites is always a slow process. Not by default, mind you – you can always choose to cancel the account with the web host and upload an existing backup of your site to the new one, but choosing to go this route will result in your website being inaccessible to users while the migration is being done. You don’t want all that lost traffic (some of them might not come back if they mistake the downtime for a permanent one).

It is best to keep the existing site on the old account open and the site functioning while you smooth out the kinks at the new web host. Since companies are likely to announce that they are closing up shop in advance before taking things down, you should have ample time to migrate things before the old host goes dark.

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The Case of LeaseWeb DNS Hijacking and How Prestige Technologies Avoid It

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

A little over a year ago, web hosting provider LeaseWeb became the victim of a DNS Hijacking attack that led to their main site being defaced. Or rather, their site’s URL was redirected to another page containing a message from the hackers, stating “what are you is a hosting company with no security.” And “we owned all of your hosted sites.”

Thankfully for customers of LeaseWeb were spared as the hackers were only interested in mischief. No customer data was compromised. However, the hacking attempt was a PR disaster for LeaseWeb. It’s hard to imagine that existing and potential customers will have misgivings over their website’s security if hosted on LeaseWeb.

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What is a DNS Hijacking?

Basically, DNS hijacking is when hackers gain access to the domain control panel and changes it so that the domain name will now point to a different server. For example, if the domain normally directs to web server A, a hacker who manages to access the domain control panel for can redirect it to web server B.

The danger of DNS hijacking goes beyond simply making a website lose its visitors. Now that a hacker can point the traffic to any server he likes, he can point it to a competitor’s site, or to a site with misinformation, or worse – a site that hosts malware. Of course, as is the case of LeaseWeb, there’s also the very real danger of making companies lose the confidence of their userbase. It can be very difficult to recover from the damage an incident like that can do for their brand image.

Click here and sign up for Prestige Technologies’ 6 months free plan. You will get all the benefits of a paid plan for FREE. NO credit card required. (more…)