Bad Situation...

Hmmm here is a interesting problem I came across today... 

One of our customers has a client database that is hosted on their web developers server.  They have been trying to contact the Devlopers for some time, but not had any luck...  The customer then decided to pop round to the office and see what was going on.  When they got there the business was being shutdown, with the guys who ran the company about to walk out the door.  

A quick conversation took place and it was found the Developers had gone out of business, sold the remains of the company and were now working for a new owner.

The question was asked, where is our database that was hosted on your server?  At this point they were referred to the new owner who stated that it was on a hosted server that had been shutdown by Fasthosts, due to upaid bills by the previous owners! 

They were told that to get a copy / backup of the database it would take 2 days labour at £750.00 +VAT per day to find it in the old company office server. 

Cal me stupid, but last time I checked it only takes 2 minutes to search for a file in windows.  Also the developers were still working for the new owners and would have known exactly where the backup data was stored.  This is blackmail - they are holding the customer to ransom over their data. 

I think we can take a few lessons from this story:

  • Always own the relationship with the hosting company for your website - never let your web guys host it on their own server.  If you fall out or they go bust you can change the password and they are locked out of the account
  • Always ensure backups of your vital data are kept on your own servers 
  • be careful of Developers having too much control of your's yours not theirs - make sure it's in the contract that they have to give it back if you fall out.
  • Be wary of smaller business as they often go down - if you do use them, ensure you keep control of your data.