Buying and Selling
How does it work ?
We need to establish an initial relationship with the customer to verify who it is we're dealing with. This is typically done via a £6 Domain Name order and an online card transaction. Once this is in place, typically we deal on a "pay by invoice on completion" basis.
Do I need to be technical to use this Service ?
No. The whole point of managed services is that we provide the IT expertise allowing you to focus on your business. You still need to be able to operate your own computer equipment, but this is not a function or feature of using our managed services.
How do I sell online ?
In order to sell online in a technical context you need two things. Firstly a site or platform from which to sell, this could either be a WordPress site or a Forum site. Both of which come with online selling plugins. Secondly you will need access to one or more payment gateways such as Stripe or Paypal.
What happens when I receive an order ?
If you are running an online shop or online subscription service, when a client makes a payment (which implies places an order) the payment gateway will send you a notification email containing details of the transaction.
You may also see details of the order in your WordPress of Forum plugin, but you should be able to see comprehensive details of the transaction and customer on the payment gateway console.
How do I know how things are going to cost ?
We will always quote our fees in writing in advance.
How does it work ?
Once the service is installed it becomes a part our monitored estate. If we see any technical issues we will rectify them automatically. If we see any environmental issues such as security updates, DDOS attacks etc, we will deal with them automatically. If we see resource issues will will attempt to mitigate any immediate problems and then notify you of the issue together with mitigation options. For example if you're running out of space on your forum server, would you like to archive old messages, reduce the number of backups kept on the server, or pay for a little extra storage.
What if I want to take over my own Servers or move support elsewhere ?
This is a relatively easy and seamless process, should you want to do this we could help as best we can, no additional fees would be involved.
Can you cope with larger sites ?
Our standard products are aimed at small to medium sized businesses running business oriented websites. We can however cope with far larger requirements on request, to date our busiest site was running up to 25,000 (real) requests per second at peak. (real, is as there were real requests and not part of some sort of exploit or attack)
What if I spot something myself ?
We have telephone numbers, chat channels and feedback forms. We also have online status displays so you can double check your experience with electronic monitors. It may be that the problem is either being dealt with already, or a local issue for you.
What if I have an unrelated technical issue ?
We can attempt to deal with other issues if you have a general support contract. If you want us to look at issues that are beyond our remit, there may be an additional charge.
How does it work ?
Our charges generally reflect the work we're doing and the charges that we incur when providing technical services. (for example, hosting fees)
Software we use in the course of providing these services is generally Open Source and has no direct associated cost. (although we may contribute to or sponsor specific projects from time to time)
If the software is free, why do I need to pay you ?
The answer is that if you wish to configure and manage all these services yourself, you don't! What you're paying for is our time in the present, actually configuring and managing, and our time in the past, gaining the experience to be able to configure and manage.
If the software is free, is it really any good ?
Well, if you have an Android phone you're using Open Source software. If you have a Smart Television, set-top box, router etc at home, you're almost certainly using something that is either running on Open Source software or has Open Source software in it's supply chain.
If you've viewed a single website today on the Internet, there's a 95%+ chance you've hit a server running an Open Source operating system.
The point being, it forms either part or all of the eco-systems you're already using but don't necessarily recognise. So the answer is, as with any propriety software, it depends on the specific product in question.
In principle however, as you're already using it, I guess it's a case of, "try it, then decide".
What if I want something you don't provide ?
If it's a product that would be generally useful to other clients or potential clients, we could consider adopting it as an additional product with fees akin to other proucts.
If on the other hand this is a bespoke solution just for one client, we would look at it purely on a time and materials basis.
Are there any Products you can't or won't do ?
There will be products that it would not be cost-effective for us to try to adopt, however typically these would be commercial products.
In terms of products we won't get involved with;
- anything that is illegal in the UK
- anything to do with pornography
- bookmaking / gambling
Other than that we are believe in free speech and freedom of expression and would not look to impose on a client's business.
Encryption and Security
How does it work ?
All sites we host are accessed (publicly) via SSL, which presents in a browser as https://. So when information leaves a user's browser (i.e. a URL or search query) it is encrypted, and when it arrives on your server it is automatically decrypted and fed into the server. The same happens in reverse when the server sends data back to the user. Data travelling through the internet is therefore encrypted. When we access systems for maintenance, a similar process is applied. We would encourage users to employ this mechanism when working with the Internet in any context.
Does any of this qualify as end-to-end encryption ?
End-to-end encryption is a private communication system in which only communicating users can participate. As such, no one, including the communication system provider, telecom providers, Internet providers or malicious actors, can access the cryptographic keys needed to converse. [Ref: Wikipedia]
What about the online safety bill ?
One of the aims of the bill appears to be wanting to give government agencies the ability to intercept and monitor private communications. Unfortunately end-to-end encryption is an integral part of the Internet and something without which the Internet cannot function. So the government can pass whatever legislation it likes, technically it's not going to be able to do what it appears to want to do with regards to adding "back-doors". The options would appear to be "leave it alone" or "turn everything off". As the latter really isn't an option, we don't consider the Bill a threat to business with regards to security or compromising security.
Securing your online Estate
There is no such thing as impenetrable, and a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. In that context, work as securely as is cost-effective for you, and have mitigation in available "just in case". Mitigation in terms of secure verified backups, and "if you don't want someone to read it, don't put it in writing". Generally a recommendation applied to emails, more recently applicable to government "WhatsApp" messages (!)
There are pro's and con's to all approaches, we're happy to discuss options and can implement the level of security that's right for you. This might be simply using SSL on websites and email servers, or you might want to go as far as VPN's secured by hardware keys.
Questions? Please get in touch!
It’s not possible to provide an answer in advance, so if we’ve not answered your question here, please let us know.