A new Fasthosts Internet Ltd survey* has revealed that British firms may be placing themselves at risk through an over-reliance on IT or web consultants who look after their website.
The study* found that many firms do not have simple arrangements in place to retain basic control or in some cases even legal ownership of their website and domains.
Ever broadening consumer expectations for the web has led more firms than ever (43%) to opt for using the services of skilled web professionals to help create and maintain their website. 92% of these companies rate their external web consultants positively, with 38% reporting a ’good’ return on investment. However, the Fasthosts ’SME & the Web’ study found that many UK companies may be risking revenue and reputation as a result of weaknesses in their workflows with such third parties.
Issues can occasionally arise between companies and external web partners. During the past 2 years, 1 in 4 firms paying for an external web professional have had their website off-line as a result of a problem related to the other party. 1 in 5 businesses incurred delays to projects caused by their external partner, and 17% reported losses of both staff time and sales revenue over £1000 as a result. For 14% of respondents, an external advisor or agency had gone out of business.
A large number of small companies are failing to take basic steps to safeguard the continuity and protection of their web presence. In the event of an issue with their external partner, 56% of firms have no way of making any changes or additions to their website themselves and 80% have no facility for switching their website on/off independently. For these businesses, the link to their external web professional is a single point of failure in their online presence. Whilst UK firms invest millions in professional web design each year, 70% of those using a web designer do not retain a back-up copy of their website themselves.
Steve Holford, Marketing Director, Fasthosts Internet Ltd., said, “For many firms, using external web professionals is a very sensible and rewarding option. However, as external parties can come and go, it is vital that businesses protect themselves from the potential disruption, losses and reputation damage that an off-line or out-of-date website can cause”
Furthermore, it appears that many SMEs risk losses and disruption by failing to guarantee their legal ownership of valuable online assets. A significant number of firms are not making a clear distinction between day-to-day administration of their company website and the legal ownership of their domains and web hosting. 70% of businesses using external web professionals do not have all their domain names registered in the name of the business owner. 66% of firms are without contact details or passwords for the provider that hosts their website.
*410 UK small companies using a website surveyed by OpinionMatters via electronic feedback form
Fasthosts is a leading web hosting provider. Based in the UK and operating 24×7 from their dedicated UK data centres, Fasthosts keeps over 1 million domains running smoothly and ensures over 42 million emails are delivered safely each day. All Fasthosts services can be self-managed through the award winning Fasthosts web-based control panel that provides customers with unparalleled online control, enabling them to manage hosted services including domain registrations, shared web hosting, business-class email, virtual servers, dedicated servers, software-as-a-service, online storage, internet merchant accounts and unlimited broadband. Fasthosts’ maintains an award-winning, highly successful reseller channel.