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Ecommerce case study: When disaster strikes online

You think it won’t happen to you – but then it does! My name is Tom* and I run a wedding and conference venue business. Our website is a key part of our marketing. But I cut a corner and went with a cheap website host (only $6 a month) alongside optimised self-search and Google crawling.

It was all going well – until the website host was the subject of a cyber attack. This affected some of their customers – including my business website. Instead of marketing my wedding and conference venue – the site was redirected to an offshore porn site! We quickly took the site down, deleted all the files and then loaded a back-up website.

We were all sorted within two hours or so. But unfortunately, while my business website was redirected to the offshore porn site – it was accessed by the Google crawler and the website was rejected. This meant that a key means of advertising our business was no longer available. It took about 18 months for all the limitations on the website to be removed – during which time we used targeted blogs and bulletins to keep the business going.

All in all, I reckon we lost about 15 percent of business as a result of that period without a full website up and running. But the upshot is that I now take cyber security seriously – it’s worth investing in expert advice to protect your business.

*Names have been changed.

This story was originally published in NZ Retail magazine issue 739, August/September 2015.

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