Owner at Wynyard Consultants Ltd
09 November 2007 16:37pm
Hi - is anyone aware of (or would anyone like to propose!) a Code of Practice amongst agencies when it comes to complying with client requests to transfer site hosting?
On the few occasions I have been asked to do this by clients my experience has generally been one of exemplary professionalism - agencies will usually provide ftp access, transfer domain details etc as they have little to gain by doing otherwise.
However clients can be frustrated when agencies don't co-operate in this way. I recently dealt with a case where an agency refused ftp access on grounds of security and insisted on charging a day of time to 'package and test' a 10 page site with a tiny database. Is this sort of behaviour ethical?
Director at Watson Hall Ltd
09 November 2007 18:35pm
For anyone receiving a request to provide/transfer a website, ensure the request is genuine and obtain written authorisation to provide access/send data to a third party. You don't want to be in the position of explaining how you gave away client data to a competitor!
There might well be good reasons to limit access if the site is on a shared hosting facility, or if the server is correctly locked down so that some of the resources you need (e.g. form to email scripts) are not accessible by FTP. (In fact allowing FTP access is not considered security best practice at all).
But no, the behaviour doesn't sound ethical. In an ideal world, the client could have ensured there were sufficient contractual conditions to manage the termination arrangements, and perhaps to set a cost for this. However, everyone should ensure they have reasonably up-to-date copies of all the assets required for a website, no matter how simple this is. If there are intellectual property issues, an escrow agreement may be the way forward. You don't want to be left without your website design, content and data if the hosting company went bust, fell out with you or had a security breach which destroys your site.
If the database contains any sensitive data, you will need to make sure that no traces of it are left - security decommissioning.
Colin WatsonTechnical DirectorWatson Hall Ltd Website securityhttp://www.watsonhall.com
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