Being the thoughts and writings of one Gustaf Erikson; father, homeowner, technologist.

This category contains posts about computing, programming, and development

Saturday, 2005-01-29

Single point of failure

Russ got cracked. His website (and all the others on the same box) was defaced, his logs erased, and his life disrupted. The idiot responsible probably had no motive other than racking up a big number of defaced sites.

This points to a scary thought: many people nowadays have their professional reputations on one server: weblog, email, development. If this box is cracked, you can spend a lot of time trying to restore from backups (you do have backups, don’t you?), while your reputation crumbles around you. Your server has become a single point of failure.

Having a computer is hard. Just owning a Windows box implies being a sysadmin. Unix systems are generally more secure, but you do need to keep up on advisories and patches.

I see a need for a service that handles security on your box, with money back if you do get cracked. But that service probably exists, and costs $BIGNUM per month. The seemingly low barrier to entry in the online world — a couple of hundred for a colo box — carries a hidden cost.

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