Well, we’ve got to congratulate the Census for drowning out the Olympics chatter at the water cooler this morning. While the whole operation certainly isn’t going to earn any gold medals for the departments it represents, we think there’s real potential to learn some very important lessons… We’re serious! If you’re a small business, we’re talking to you.
Lesson #1: KNOW YOUR INSECURITIES
When the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 4 attempted denial of service* attacks on the Census platform, we weren’t surprised: websites come up against a tonne of malicious attacks every day. Yep, even yours. Sounds scary, but here’s what you can do to get up to the gold standard…
- Get some work done– Maintenance is key here. Updating security plug-ins and software firewalls, monitoring for brute force login attempts: all part of protecting your site and the data within it.
- Get a good host– We’re just going to go out there and say it: if you’re with a $5 host, you’re going to get $5 worth of website security. Not sure if you’re secure? Here’s an article that tells you how to check.
Lesson #2: DON’T DAMAGE YOUR DATA
Of the millions unable to complete their Census last night, there’s got to be at least one who decides to take revenge. We’re not talking about a big cyber attack, we’re talking about something equally data-degrading: donkey-ing their Census.
- Un-dirty your data– It may look like cold, hard fact, but really, there is analysis needed to understand what data really means. Dirty data is hard to work with, and dangerous to make decisions with. If the Census does have mega dirty data issues, those important budget decisions that rely on its data are going to suffer. The same for your business: if you collect bad data (whether it be web analytics, budget figures, client details) you’re going to make bad decisions.
- Fill the leaks– If you don’t have the complete picture…. You know what happens. That’s why we put so much emphasis on collecting all the data when we do your online analytics. We know the best decisions are made from best analysis. And the best analysis comes from collecting quality information. Don’t expect to run a successful AdWords or social campaign without it.
Lesson #3: STAY SOCIAL
Even when the #CensusFail was in full swing, the ABS tried to keep their cool. They tried (and arguably succeeded) to maintain a personable, responsive online persona. They sent out hundreds of these tweets, and did similar damage control on Facebook. Here’s how to do better, forbid such a thing ever happens to your business.
- Have a plan– 60% of businesses have no PR-disaster plan whatsoever. The moment something goes a teeny bit wrong? Cue floundering and panic. The good news is your digital agency can prepare one for you. And then all you have to is read it and keep it in a safe spot.
- Anticipate– The pessimist in us tell the truth sometimes: big events are big opportunities for things to go wrong. A website launch? A social campaign? A new product hitting the ground? This is when you tailor your pre-prepared strategy to the specific upcoming situation, and make sure everyone involved is well-versed.
Your security concerns are no laughing matter, and you know we take them seriously: your data is more than important. Anything here piqued your interest? Made you concerned? We’re here to talk. Fill in the form to take your first steps towards gold-medal security.
*Simply put, denial of service attacks swarm a site with a whole bunch of traffic in order to overload the site with requests. A good analogy: getting a whole crowd to stand in front of a door so that none of the legitimate prospective entrants may get in.