It is a rare occasion for a company to receive a full, unadulterated and comprehensive commendation from their customer. However, Sucuri Security has been fortunate enough to receive a letter in this vein. As a customer of Sucuri, Larry Farr is a small business owner whose concern for his client’s website security has become a facet for which he assumes proactive responsibility. To accomplish a successful security strategy, Mr. Farr uses Sucuri’s Anti-Virus and CloudProxy (Firewall) services and has graciously provided information about his experiences.
Larry describes his business and his personal philosophy on client relationships.
I'm a sole proprietor of a small website management company in Ontario, with a small but growing client base. I not only develop and manage websites for my clients, I also host most of the sites. My client relationships are built on trust. Clients trust me with their online presence and I take that very seriously.
Establishing and implementing a thorough security strategy is not an easy task, yet it is a necessary task that must be accomplished in order to achieve the online security required to maintain a successful web presence. However, with various options from which to choose, it can become increasingly difficult to stand with assurance when so much is at stake.
Of course, the problem is, I have only limited control over how my product is delivered. Once it leaves my hands and is posted on the server, who knows what can happen to it? Prior to using Sucuri, I have had some issues with malware on a client's website but managed to solve the problem myself by simply removing a rogue folder. However, in February 2014, a large Wordpress site that I manage got infected and I couldn't figure out where the problem was coming from. The client informed me that his daily devotionals weren't being sent out as normal and, in their place, emails on pharmaceuticals were being sent to his subscribers. That's when I started researching what I could do to solve this. Who could help me? One name kept coming up, over and over — Sucuri. Then I found the Free Website Malware and Security Scanner on their website. Here you could run a domain name to see if there was any malware issues with a site. They showed me exactly what the problem was in the scan results. They really seemed to know what they were doing. This was extremely helpful to me and a big reason why I chose to go with Sucuri. The free scan made me aware of the problem(s) I was facing while—strange as it may sound—made me more relaxed. I suppose I was more relaxed because at least now I knew what the actual problem was and that someone could identify it. So if they could identify the problem, I thought they could solve it.
Another issue that needs to be addressed in the decision making problem is budget. The basics are fairly simple to understand. Essentially, website security is the equivalent of insurance. The primary difference is that with the frequency of hacks and other malicious activity online, one can assume an issue is more likely to be imminent rather than merely probable. Larry, subsequently, sought to evaluate the company based on the monetary value offered in such a situation.
After that it was a question of price. Sucuri's price seemed very fair to me. I didn't yet realize how much more I was getting for my money—with their amazing support and customer care. I signed up with them and had the matter resolved in no time.
As in many situations, preventative measures take priority as they yield a greater return by reducing or eliminating the cost of recovery in the event of an incident. A website can be compromised much more easily when not behind a firewall, yet the benefits of utilizing a strong firewall far outweigh the alternative. Larry explains,
At that time they recommended I also sign up for their firewall service—CloudProxy—to avoid future attacks. I declined since the site in question was a not for profit and I didn't think the client (pro bono) could afford any more expense. Big mistake. In October 2014 the same site was attacked again but this time—since Sucuri was monitoring the site—they sent me a Security Warning email notifying me of the problem. The attack had focused on a number of the wp_posts/post_content table/fields sections of the site. Sucuri cleaned up the site and this time I suggested to the client that he purchase the CloudProxy firewall service—which he did. Ever since then, we haven't had any issues.
A fortified firewall not only protects against a multiplicity of attacks, but also provides peace of mind as well as the assurance of time saved as compromises are far less likely.
This two-fold approach to website security—an ongoing monitoring of the site plus a firewall around the site to ward off potential attacks—is something that I recommend to all of my clients. A big part of the Sucuri experience is the user dashboard. Sucuri gives a lot of administration control, such as the option of blocking users from different parts of the world, for example. There are a number of options you can work with or—if you have difficulty with some of it—you can always ask for help from Sucuri's amazing team.
It is important to stress the fact that awareness and notification systems are key. The sooner you become aware of an issue or compromise, the more rapidly a resolution can be reached. In addition to the fundamental process of notice, outlining a default client-issue response strategy is likewise beneficial. Larry was able to experience, first hand, the benefits of both.
Another dashboard feature I like (and I haven't even looked at all of the options available to me) is that you can easily sign up for alerts to be sent directly to your smartphone, so if something is amiss, you will be notified not only by email but by text or instant messaging as well. Blocking users from certain countries was really brought to my attention following an attack on another client's website in January 2015 (this site wasn't protected by Sucuri at the time). This particular attack was on an html site using a premium contact form. At first glance the site looked normal, but when a page was called up that had a contact form in the sidebar, the form was missing and a message stating "hacked by Indonesian Cyber Freedom" was in its place. When something like this happens and it's affecting your client's business, it's very frightening. When your clients trust you to look after them and ensure their online presence is sending out the right message—and that isn't happening—you get a sinking feeling in your chest. This time I knew exactly what to do. On another occasion, I was asked to look at a Wordpress site that had been developed by someone else. This site was so bad that it had been blacklisted—something I had not dealt with before. It wasn't as easy a fix as the others, but Sucuri worked it out and the site was quickly verified clean and [removed from the blacklist].
Unfortunately, the issues Larry and his clients have encountered are not unique. There are, however, options available that will allow the process to become more easily manageable or even prevent the problems all together. Larry decided to use Sucuri as his source to bolster security for his clients and explains the motivation that drove and experience that resulted from his choice.
Simply put, I couldn't have done it without Sucuri. And even if I had tried, I can just imagine how much time I would have spent researching, testing, to name a few. Sucuri had this site and others back on track very quickly. It was money well spent. I now highly recommend Sucuri monitoring and firewall services to all my clients. It's definitely needed, just as much as web hosting is needed.
The awareness level of the general public is slowly climbing. However, Larry has strong words of encouragement for his clients to ensure the best experience.
In general, my clients don't give hosting security any thought. They only think about protecting their home computers with virus software. In my view, server security is more important as it directly impacts their business. The cost is well worth the peace of mind it gives me knowing that Sucuri is in the background checking my sites for malware and protecting them from potential attacks. Just as my clients put their trust in me to ensure their online presence is the best it can be—I totally put my trust in Sucuri to help me live up to what my clients expect.
Sucuri support is wonderful. There is no question of them "contacting you in 24-48 hours" as you get on other sites. They are on top of things right away. They have gone consistently above and beyond my expectations when dealing with problems. They not only solve the problems, they also offer advice, and always treat you like an equal—something that means a lot. I can't say enough about how well they have treated me and how they have saved me so much time and energy. What an organization. I recommend Sucuri to anyone who will listen.
The problems that can arise from a hack are all too real for those who have had the disparaging experience. However, those problems do have a solution that can easily be found in the Anti-Virus + Firewall combination package Sucuri offers. Though not a guarantee of the complete absence of issue, Larry does explain that the benefits are vibrantly evident among the stressful or time consuming alternatives.