At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?
This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.
We spoke with Gordon Fong the Co-Owner of Kimcell Ltd about hosting, servicing and the security of your networks.
RISE: What is your name and your role?
Gordon: Gordon Fong and I’m a co-owner of Kimcell Ltd as well as director of other X-Net consultancy businesses.
RISE: Tell us more about Datacenta Hosting?
Gordon: Datacenta is a Managed Hosting Provider that works with local businesses and government agencies.
Whilst we provide most things when you think of a traditional Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as ADSL lines, domain name registration, email hosting and web hosting, we actually focus on businesses that want to work actively with a technical partner. Datacenta takes on the routine management of their servers and applications 24 hours a day, so they are freed up to work on their business.
RISE: What should someone look for in a web host i.e. reliability, speed, storage, clarity?
Gordon: It comes down to getting the realistic level of service for what your business really needs. We are all different, but very few of us reading this are Amazon and have that level of budget. Nobody should be oversold to though. Are you happy to deal with a web portal, or do you want to talk to real people?
I know that was not a technical answer to the question, but service means a lot more. Competing in the commodity space is not for me.
RISE: What do you see as the main difference for a company that is driven purely by price i.e. happy to pay £50 a year on hosting, as opposed to company that is looking for a much more robust hosting solution?
Gordon: The value of the website and sales that it might bring has to be proportionate to the service spend.
If it is there to provide some contact details, then you don’t need to spend a lot as your Google Business listing will give that if all else fails. You’ve got your Google Business listing, right?
If it is a full e-commerce website that is pulling in tens of thousands of pounds per month, then even paying a few hundred pounds per year hosting doesn’t match the importance of it to the business.
Things fail. Google fails, Amazon fails, Facebook fails, there is a risk of failure no matter how large that business is. Microsoft’s Azure platform failed that then took out a load of high-profile websites.
With that in mind, be prepared, have options with different suppliers.
RISE: How do you look at website security today? Do you see the UK in a vulnerable space?
Gordon: I don’t see the UK as especially different to anywhere else. I will say that security is an on-going process and needs continual attention just like updates your desktop computer or your smartphone. Don’t assume when you have taken delivery of a website or have set it up yourself then that is it.
Installing an SSL Certificate so you get a nice green padlock when visiting your WordPress website makes it no more secure if you have left a load of old plugins around that you were trialling but decided not to use. That padlock counts for nothing if your admin password is weak or the software is out of date.
Someone has to spend the time to sign up to and read the alerts from the software suppliers that form part of your system. If there is an update, you need to take a backup, apply the update, test it and accept it or rollback if there is an issue. Either you do it, your website supplier does it, or your managed hosting provider does it but there is a time and cost associated with that.
A plain web hosting provider will rent out some infrastructure space but will not know what you do with it or care less, unless it impacts other customers.
RISE: If there is a website that is behaving slowly and loading takes a long time, how much could be down to where it is hosted?
Gordon: It could certainly be down to the hosting infrastructure. If you are on a shared server with tens or hundreds of other customers, then you take your chances and hope they don’t have busy websites at the same time.
It could be that you pay for a guaranteed level of network traffic and computing resources. Or, it could be something with your website application and plugins playing up.
I’ve had instances where one of our own websites was slow at returning pages. We rewrote a database query in a different way and that improved things massively. It’s easy to blame the hardware or throw more CPU at a problem but it’s just as common that developers make mistakes or have room for improvement.
RISE: What is your one tip you would give to a growing company who is looking at a hosting company that is more than just paying a monthly fee to a place they have no idea where they are being hosted?
Gordon: I would say consider what your increasing needs might be as you grow and consider who is going to manage that. It might be someone in-house who performs a pick-and-mix from the Internet every couple of years, or do you want to build a relationship with a supplier that you can have a conversation with, who will gain intimate knowledge of your business and systems, who can then propose more efficient and more cost effective approaches.
RISE: What would your advice be to anyone looking to get into the technology industry like you have?
Gordon: There are plenty of free online services that you can use to create websites and online services. Do it for a personal project or local community that you are part of. Learn some things along the way, no doubt you will make a few mistakes along the way. That all adds to your back story in your job interview.