back to article A2 Hosting finds 'restore' the hardest word as Windows outage slips into May

The great A2 Hosting Windows TITSUP* has entered its second week as the company continues to struggle to recover from a security breach that forced its System Operations team to shut down all its Windows services. To recap, things went south on 23 April as malware spread over the company's Windows operation, causing a problem …

  1. Sir Adam-All

    i've said it before .....

    .......what do you expect for ~ £3.60 a month ?

    If people insist on running their life blood and income source on something that costs so little, why expect so much when it goes wrong ?

    i feel very sorry for everyone who's lost data, ive been there and its a total nightmare especially having to explain to customers its just "gone".

    do yourself a favour and either pay for SLA backed managed hosting or run your own server and backup yourself - you only have yourself to blame then :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: i've said it before .....

      If you need cheap, have a look at what you can get from AWS Lightsail for only $3.50 / month. Much better than the junk these idiots are offering.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: i've said it before .....

      "pay for SLA backed managed hosting or run your own server and backup yourself"

      But read the SLA carefully.

    3. Justicesays

      Re: i've said it before .....

      "do yourself a favour and either pay for SLA backed managed hosting "

      I'm sure having an SLA you can wave frantically at the service provider will somehow prevent all your customers leaving when they go tits up.

      1. ckm5

        Re: i've said it before .....

        SLAs are not worth the paper they are printed on unless you are $ billion company with lawyers on staff to enforce said SLA.....

        Like others have said, the only insurance is to make sure you can recover from any terminal outage at your provider.

    4. ckm5

      Re: i've said it before .....

      You can easily host on Google Cloud for $3.88/month (f1-micro) according to https://cloud.google.com/products/calculator/

      I'm sure AWS has similarly cheap offerings, but in my experience GCP is significantly cheaper eg. faster systems for the same price. Not sure why you'd use anything else.

    5. panicteam

      Re: i've said it before .....

      Yes, I agree with this opinion. We can't always depend on hosting backup. This is lesson to us, we must always have backup too. All my files also gone... My clients are really mad with me, I don't know what to do. Just pray for the best.

  2. DougMac

    Servers..

    If only there were other cloud providers that you could backup your data regularly to, and test your DR setup rather than put all your eggs in one basket.

    Hmmm..

    1. Starace Silver badge

      Re: Servers..

      Never put all your eggs in one basket, especially someone else's basket of unknown quality.

      I've watched enough systems evaporate my data to trust even the best setup to keep it safe. You can never have too many spare copies.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Servers..

        It always amazes me that people "lose money" over a system that - for way less than even a day's outage money - could be doubled in resiliency by putting some inactive server in a disparate cloud, or on their own site, or whatever.

        Even a VM replica, syncing every 15 minutes or so but otherwise idle, could have been spun up quickly even if it wasn't the fastest server / connection that it was sitting on.

        I did a calculation once - my employer's entire systems could be stored and booted up on a single laptop. Not claiming it would be "fast", but it would be up and you could carry on business in a reasonable manner.

        Literally, for the cost of a laptop with a copy of Windows Server, VMWare or whatever, I could have an entire on-site warm spare of everything we run. Built-in UPS too! When you then get into "we need a real system", then it's a cinch to spin up instances in a handful of separate cloud servers and have the same.

        But, these people are complaining about "losing money" when they could most likely have just turned on a cheap laptop and got access to all their data, a recent backup of everything they had (e.g. web transactions) and maybe even got a chance to operate their services from anywhere in the world (sure, it'd take a little tweaking of settings, but at least you'd have the option).

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Servers..

          If it'll go into a cheap laptop, since the main issue is just the storage, a simple external HDD and an automated backup routine would probably be all they need. Same as a SOHO user would do. If it doesn't have to backup fast, or retrieve data in real time, that's more than enough, surely.

          1. swm Silver badge

            Re: Servers..

            I run a website and I keep a mirror of its contents on several machines at home and one on a backed up account at a local college. I update the website by updating one of my home systems and copying the changed files to the website provider. Once a previous provider lost all of the website and when they got the site back in operation I just reloaded the site. This is a site with static pages so it would be more complicated with a data back end but surely not that much harder.

            I talked with a Paychex IT person who said that they have 6 duplicate versions of their data with UPS backup etc. Even with a city wide power failure of a week all of their servers continued to function perfectly.

            If data are your crown jewels you should protect them.

  3. Flywheel Silver badge
    FAIL

    Ironic....

    https://www.a2hosting.com/blog/security-breach-plan/.. and

    "here at A2 Hosting we provide free Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, regular site backups"

    Mind you, "regular" could mean once every 6 months, I suppose.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Ironic....

      Regular does not = frequent.

      But they are frequently confused.

      When people moan that some of us are too aggressive about their misuse of words it's examples like this that should pull us back.

      A promise that something is regular could mean that it gets done once a decade, on the third Thursday in July.

      But frequent should mean it gets done often. How often is a whole different kettle of ball games.

      In either case it means very little unless quantified.

  4. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Their home page states 99.9% uptime. Is that for the server hardware or the clients websites?

    And 'Anytime money back guarantee' will no doubt appeal to a large number of soon to leave customers!!

    1. missingegg

      Frontloaded

      If you think about it, any length outage fits in 99.9% uptime. They're just calculating over a longer timescale than you expected.

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    The Cloud...

    However, let those who have never skipped a backup throw the first stone. Or, um, fling the malware into the data centre.

    Beautiful.

    But I digress. "The Cloud" is just another word for another man's purdy compootah. And it is up to you to ensure that backups are made.

    Unless it is written into the contract, treat the case as if no backups exists, and you need to make these.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The Cloud...

      "Unless it is written into the contract, treat the case as if no backups exists"

      If you make your own backups you should at least occasionally check that these are what you need to restore (it might be on the backup medium but it doesn't help if your restore process has problems). If you haven't successfully tested them don't assume you have backups.

      How do you get to test your supplier's backups?

    2. beep54

      Re: The Cloud...

      ...is ALWAYS going to be something that can turn into a dangerous storm front.

    3. msage

      Re: The Cloud...

      Even if it is written in the contract, why would you not make your own backups too? The bottom line is that no contract or SLA refunds are going to get your customers back (and most of them are up to 100% of the monthly cost or something, so aren't worth toffee).

      Data doesn't exist unless it is in at least 3 places (one of those needs to be on a different site to the other two).

  6. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Quality sub head

    Much appreciated.

  7. fobobob

    Byline correction

    Dumpster, dumpster, burning bright / Data back-ups, too, alight!

  8. AdamWill

    well, damnit...

    ...I *knew* we should've gone with A*1* Hosting.

  9. ckm5
    Mushroom

    From their "About" page

    August 2009 – We release our awesome Server Rewind backup tool for free on all our web hosting accounts. We know how important your data is, and you shouldn't have to pay a ransom on it.
    https://www.a2hosting.com/about

    You just can't make it up....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From their "About" page

      The backup thing branded "Server Rewind" is Linux only. The ransom reference is still hilarious.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which do I prefer?

    Great website or crap DRP?

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