Lesson learned: create and follow your own online store disaster policy
Online merchants must create and follow their own disaster policy – as an author on eCommerce topics for almost a decade now, I’ve tried to hammer this into my readers. I’ve always been proud to say I have never had had a major disaster with my own online store, because I have faithfully followed this practice. That is, until my summer vacation last week.
I was completely and blissfully offline for a week of horseback riding high in the cool mountains of central Mexico. My long-time customer service manager had quit recently after five good years together, but I had a good interim manager to handle things in my absence. We have a disaster plan, and we follow it. What could go possibly wrong?
My SSL Certificate expired the day I left for vacation, and nobody knew how to get it renewed in my absence. You’ve occasionally seen the dire warnings – the customer’s browser will warn the user of ‘untrusted’ certificate, even though the site and all transactions remain encrypted. It’s a matter of trust.
Disaster analysts will tell you that rarely does one single event cause a disaster – it takes a pooling of five to seven small things, small decisions or variations from protocol that exponentially multiply to allow a disaster to occur. My SSL certificate is included with my business hosting account, so I had no idea that it had to be manually renewed each year. I had moved to a different hosting account, you got it, exactly one year ago. I also changed email addresses due to a flood of spam, so all renewal notices were going to my old address. With losing my long-term manager and piling on a vacation, in retrospect we were ripe for a disaster.
My web host quickly renewed my SSL Certificate as soon as I requested it, and I added a recurring “Renew SSL Certificate” to my calendar to prevent this disaster in the future. I’ve updated my own disaster policy, and am humbly following it again.
I did fall off my horse on my vacation, but that’s a disaster of a different kind, and mainly my ego was bruised.
For help in creating a disaster policy for your own online store, download my free guide from the address below.
Free guide for online merchants: