Re the web site outage

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Re the web site outage

Postby Gil Fleming » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:07 pm

Just a comment about the recent website outage.

1. I spoke to spoke to a guy at the ffenics office regarding an infection alert that we got from the site. The response was 'I'll check it when I get home".
2. To lose the site is one thing. Perhaps there was an element of bad luck. To fail to keep forum members and customers updated was very bad form and very poor management. At the outset, users in the DataEase forum were claiming that ffenics had ceased trading. Considering that ffenics is in the Information Technology business, the lack of information was scandalous.

I sincerely hope that lessons are learned from this incident. Perhps the forum should be mirrored on another site?
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Re: Re the web site outage

Postby Pete Tabord » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:53 pm

Throughout we have known what had been done to our old site (and our host monitors malware as well) so we knew there was no risk to customers.

We are not going to discuss or publicise what happened because that may imply possible attackers which, without totally cast-iron evidence, we are not going to do.

No company is likely to discuss the details of this kind of incident frankly with the outside world. A mis-statement can lead to huge legal ramifications from customer liability to employment law to libel law. So a non-committal response is basically the only option.

Please do not mention the DataEase forum on this site. (Or Ffenics on the DataEase forum).
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Re: Re the web site outage

Postby Gil Fleming » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:37 pm

Pete, I think you are missing my point. I care very much about what hapens to ffenics. I've committed to it. But you cannot just disappear from the web without placing a simple holding statement to explain, for example, that a new site is in preparation. I agree that you do not discuss security (or lack of it) with the outside world. But, in the same vein, it is foolish to simply shut down without a word of explanation. Finally, I'm not discussing the DE forum per se - I was informing you that others were trying to gain advantage from the apparent disappearance of ffenics, by speculating that you had ceased trading. That comment is in response to your company's lack of action, not to a loss of web presence. It's one thing to be sniped at by your competitors, but quite another to put the bullets in their gun.
Gil Fleming
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Fleming Technical Limited

You can't think about what you don't know - Mike Fidler
If you can't fight, wear a big hat - John S Fleming
The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas - Linus Pauling
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Re: Re the web site outage

Postby Pete Tabord » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:47 am

There were technical reasons why it took some time to get a holding page up.

It is incompatible with trying to restore the site from backup, for example, although that was not the only reason.

There seemed to be an assumption that we had no idea what was going on, when in fact from the Friday when the site first went down we were aware of the problems and trying to rectify them. Normally such problems are fixable in a few hours at most, so it was not at first anticipated that we would be down as long as we were. When it did become apparent, actions we had already taken had to be allowed to make their way through the Web addressing system before the holding page could be created.

There was one person asking a question on the other site, using a pseudonym. Again, comment is inappropriate. There is no connection between the current holders of the DataEase trademark and ourselves. And as with them, we do not want to censor things, but we are most disinclined to have any discussion of what goes on on their site in here.

Of course we take any loss of communication with our customers seriously, and we hope the new server structure we have in place will be both more secure and more resilient - indeed, it was planned that way long before this incident, as we intend to do much more selling through the site than has been the case in the past. The benefit from the outage is that we reconsidered the way we were doing that and have taken an approach which will be still more secure even than the original intention.
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Re: Re the web site outage

Postby Gil Fleming » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:04 pm

I'm glad the new site is being designed with security and resilience in mind. I still believe you could and should have done more to ameliorate the website outage. You may feel that I am being argumentative for the sake of it; not at all. I've spent a lot of the last year developing a complete business application in ffenics so I'm keen that the company goes from strength to strength. In our business, we take customer communication very seriously and actively encourage them to contact us if they have any problems. There is a slogan that was used when I worked for an American corporation and it still resonates with me today: "Most customers DON'T complain - they just don't come back."
On a positive note, the new site's front end looks much more corporate and grown up than the old.
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Fleming Technical Limited

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Re: Re the web site outage

Postby Adrian Jones » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:25 am

I must say I agree with Gil's comments. If the site was down, a first prority should be to let users know that, whether via a holding page or via email (I appreciate a handful of us were emailed).

I also think that to have left those comments on the DataEase forum unanswered would have been stupid. You should be thanking Gil for replying to the post that asked if Ff had gone out of business...
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Re: Re the web site outage

Postby Fred Kingston » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:35 pm

I'm generally amused that a software development company has so many frequent problems with maintaining a simple web site...

It certainly doesn't instill confidence...
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Re: Re the web site outage

Postby Pete Tabord » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:17 pm

The variety of skills involved in creating and maintaining a web site have become exponentially more complex in the last decade, Fred. Traditional software engineering has little to do with it. A bit like why an engineer can no longer mend a modern car (at least unaided by a whole load of electronic gizmos)

Quite often, even professional web developers have such a specialised knowledge that they cannot function outside their immediate area of expertise.

As to our site being simple - two attempts (by professional external Web developers) to redevelop to modern standards have failed to maintain all the original functionality, despite much time and money. What looks simple isn't necessarily so.

I'm really a bit bored with people telling me we could have put up a notice immediately without knowing the circumstances.

And finally, this is the third and last warning. We are not prepared to have mention of the DataEase site or forum on here except regarding specific technical points in the appropriate DataEase Legacy forums - any further mentions _will_ be deleted.
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