Website Owners Beware – Web host deletes customers sites

What happened? Thousands of customers of web-hosting service 123-reg (www.123-reg .co.uk) were affected by a catastrophic coding flaw that deleted their data. The UK’s largest hosting provider lost data from 67 servers, wiping out customers’ entire business websites because it didn’t have backups. It’s not clear what caused the fault, but users who tried to log in during the incident were directed to the wrong accounts, allowing them to see private data from other companies. 123-reg has taken the unusual step of referring itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ico.org.uk), the UK’s data watchdog, over this aspect of the fault.
How will it affect you? 123-reg was working with a data-recovery specialist in an attempt to retrieve as much data from the wiped servers as possible, but many affected websites were still offline. Whether or not you’re a 123-reg customer, the incident is a good reminder to back up your data – it’s a lesson 123-reg should have known, and one that many of its customers have learned the hard way. Putting the lost websites back online is easy if the owners have backed them up elsewhere. If not, they’re out of luck. If 123-reg had backed up the data, or the users had done the same, this would have been only a minor problem. What do we think? Incompetence. 123-reg stressed that the affected service isn’t “managed” by the company itself, and that anyone who paid for a backup service will have had their websites restored already, but that’s cold comfort for anyone who entrusted the hosting provider with their website.
I am so thankful that iam responsible and don’t use amateurs to host my customers websites and data.
It’s astonishing that 123-reg hadn’t backed up its own systems, but of course many of us know we should do this and still don’t bother. Backups are boring, but let this be a reminder to put them on your to-do list, whether it’s your small business website, online photo album or personal blog.