What's Included in Blue Compass Website Hosting, Security & Maintenance
Traditional website hosting provides a place for your website to reside (on a server). At Blue Compass, not only do we give your website a home, we go above and beyond to truly bring your website to life. Through regular updates and enhancements, maintenance, security check-ins and ongoing client support, our comprehensive hosting services have you covered beyond just a home base.
What is Website Hosting?
The website hosting process consists of a website being stored, or “hosted,” on a special computer called a server. In order to create a website or web page on the internet, website hosting is required.
When we put website hosting into action it goes a little something like this: to view your website, a user will typically type your web address into a browser or click on your site content as it appears in Google search. Their computer will then connect to the server and deliver your website through the browser. Think of your URL as a message being sent to the server—the server will receive the message and respond instantaneously by displaying your web content to the user.
Because the internet is so vast, many vulnerabilities can arise during this process if the server is compromised. Our experts at Blue Compass cannot stress enough how important it is to have the right mitigation and support in place to ensure your data is protected and that your website loads properly so users can access the information they’re searching for.
What does it mean to host your website with Blue Compass?
Because we’re good “hosts,” secure hosting is top priority when your website is managed by Blue Compass. Your website's safety and performance is important to us, so we provide continual updates, patches, monitoring and maintenance to keep your site protected.
Hosting your website with Blue Compass reduces the risk of a security breach and relieves your team of the burden of having to keep up with technical necessities. “Promise” is a big word that we never take lightly. Because we have the infrastructure, staff and security in place, we can promise that your site will promptly provide users the information they are looking for. And if not, we promise quick resolution.
Blue Compass Hosting Specs
- Bandwidth 50 GB / month*
- Disk space 5 GB
- SSL Certificate
Blue Compass-hosted infrastructure is located on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) private cloud. AWS manages security, hardware, network infrastructure, and local media destruction while Blue Compass is responsible for reducing all the points where a cyber attacker may strike within the operating systems, websites and code.
Blue Compass covers all the bases to ensure 24/7 protection for your website by defending your website against countless threats you may not even be aware of. And we keep it that way, resolving any issues promptly, before your team or users can detect a problem.
*Additional storage space and bandwidth are available
Important Hosting Considerations
Insufficient website hosting can lead to a poor user experience on your site, potential data breaches and long periods of downtime where your site quits working altogether. With so much constantly shifting in the digital realm, it’s more critical than ever to not only protect your website but future-proof it, as well. The last thing you need is for your website to be down during your busiest season of the year due to the server’s inability to handle the spike in traffic.
Blue Compass factors in potential growth and eliminates potential problems by proactively performing maintenance and upkeep to your site’s server. By regularly enhancing your site, Blue Compass enables your website to serve users seamlessly. Below are several of the important considerations we stay on top of so your site can keep delivering results.
Site Load Speed
The amount of data that can be sent between your website, users and the internet at one time is referred to as bandwidth. Your website will load quickly or slowly depending upon how much bandwidth is available to use at the time users are visiting your site.
It’s not uncommon for websites to have large media files like images, videos and infographics as well as complex designs, animations and other features that all require large amounts of bandwidth. If the available bandwidth is too low, your site will take longer to load.
To ensure enough bandwidth is available, we host your website on a server cluster behind a load balancer with dynamic sizing, which allows us to adjust bandwidth as your website loading needs to increase.
Why Site Speed Matters
Site speed is very important as 40% of visitors will leave within two seconds if the site doesn’t load. Inconsistently low available bandwidth will likely result in less visitors to your website, which also means those visitors are most likely turning to your competitors to view similar products and services.
Page load speed is one of the key considerations search engines take into account when determining your website’s ranking position in search results pages. If your site loads slowly, search engines are less likely to show your website in the search engine results page, resulting in fewer clicks and less traffic to your site.
Security & Downtime
The SSL certificate adds a deep layer of security to your website. This security certification ensures all data transmitted between the web server and browser remains encrypted, protecting both website visitors and your organization. Our team will handle the setup, monitoring and yearly renewal of the SSL certificate.
A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack occurs when an attacker overwhelms a server with traffic to prevent users from using the site. The Blue Compass server infrastructure includes load-balanced Windows Servers running IIS while backend databases are housed on failover clusters for maximum availability. Backup and disaster recovery plans are implemented and change control procedures are practiced by development, as well as systems administration teams. DDoS contingency procedures are in place to respond to an attack situation, and incident response plans are also published internally. Security and resiliency of websites is actively monitored by the network operations team.
Testing & Reporting
Blue Compass regularly participates in pen testing from independent third parties, replicating attack scenarios to ensure appropriate protocols and prevention efforts are in place to fend off such attacks. These may be annually at minimum but are normally done quarterly in accordance with scheduled updates to the content management system (CMS).
Blue Compass’ web infrastructure is hosted on a virtual private cloud within Amazon Web Services. The AWS data centers are SOC and ISO compliant, certifying we have all the controls and procedures in place to keep your data secure. Our servers exclusively host websites for our clients and have strict controls for employees and controlled access for clients, preventing access for hackers or other outside parties who may have malicious intent with your data.
Annually our network team requests and internally files AWS SOC and PCI reports, as well as a HIPAA BAA. The AWS nondisclosure agreement prohibits us from sending SOC 1 and 2 to anyone outside of the client requesting the information as part of an official working agreement.
To request and receive non-publicly available reports, see the AWS Compliance request form. These reports prove your website’s compliance with all the appropriate standards and regulations designated for your industry. With a signed NDA, these reports are available from the datacenter:
- SOC 1 Report
- SOC 2 Report (SOC 3 is a publicly available summary, available without NDA)
- PCI Compliance Package
- HIPAA BAA
Why Site Security Matters
Poor security protocols will leave a website open to prolonged downtime and malicious parties looking to hurt your business or steal data. Depending upon the severity of the security breach, a website will be inactive until the issue is resolved. Every company uses their website for different reasons, so a prolonged issue may not affect business. But, if you rely on your website to sell products or services, or if you have employees or contractors that rely on the website for various reasons, there can be a significant loss in revenue.
Blue Compass provides a managed solution, which means we handle all the security responsibility for your website—none of the burden falls on our clients’ shoulders. This isn’t the case with all hosting providers, as each hosting provider offers different levels of security. If your hosting provider only provides a limited solution, you’ll need additional security measures in place to protect your website completely.
Reliability & Regular Backups
Like it or not, users view your website as an extension of your brand. If your website goes down or experiences a security breach, potential customers lose trust in your credibility. Recovering quickly from any compromising incidents shows your customers you have authority and can be counted on. Blue Compass takes proactive measures to minimize fallout from potential disasters and prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place.
For our disaster recovery solutions, we handle data backups through two independent systems:
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO): An hourly air gapped backup of the server plus a separately operated nightly backup of the individual site. Our RPO plan minimizes the amount of data lost during a disaster through routine backups that ensure you’re never losing out on more than 24 hours worth of data at a time, though it’s often much less than that.
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO): The site backup is run on a separate hardware cluster that can take over for the main cluster in minutes. If needed, a new server (from our backups) could be running in less than 2 hours. Our RTO plan speeds up the amount of time it takes to be fully recovered and back online after a disaster.
At Blue Compass, our backups have backups—and those backups have backups, too. We secure website data in several strategically located backup servers so website data can be restored even in the event of a disaster impacting our office or a specific area of the country where data is backed up. You never have to worry about the worst case scenario with Blue Compass because we restore any website issues quickly and cut back on potential losses with our proactive approach.
Vulnerability Scan Report
Blue Compass practices proactive disaster planning. We install operating system updates and patches monthly and perform recurring scans of the system monthly, at a minimum.
Patch management procedures include a tiered approach, where updates are deployed to the test environment, functionality is confirmed, then deployment is completed to production. Disaster recovery and business continuity (including incident management) plans are published internally. Industry standard change management is practiced.
Why Proactive Data Protection Matters
Imagine waking up to urgent emails and numerous text messages from your leadership team and confused clients saying your website isn’t working. This is what happens when your website goes down, and it can damage your revenue and reputation if people can’t get through to your products and services. There are various reasons your website can go down: cyber attack, software failure, equipment failure, human error, natural disasters, etc. Most of these can be mitigated or avoided by choosing a website host who has the proven processes and procedures in place to prevent such issues.
It’s important to choose a website host that meets your current needs AND anticipates your expected needs in the future. You may not have much traffic now, but how does your business growth plan affect your hosting needs in the future?
Choosing a hosting provider that’s unable to grow with your business can have many negative implications to your website’s performance: increased downtime, slower site speed and more difficulty for search bots indexing your website, to name a few.
Why the Ability to Accommodate Growth Matters
Whether it's a sudden spike in website traffic or consistent growth over a five year span of time, your website will experience a significant slowdown if the host cannot adjust your bandwidth to match an increase in website traffic. When your website goes down, the speed at which your host can recover your site back to a working state is critical. You must have a partner who can predict and accommodate for future growth and respond quickly in the event of downtime. Uptime is money, and the longer your site is down, the more you lose.
As your business grows, Blue Compass’ hosting solution can grow with you. Your website will not outgrow our ability to maintain your site performance and security.
Maintenance & Updates
As part of our hosting agreement, Blue Compass provides ongoing monitoring and maintenance for your website. Our team continually tracks the website’s uptime. Each month, we will scan the site for issues, conduct tests on the server and apply necessary security patches. This is done at no additional charge. Historically, websites hosted with Blue Compass have enjoyed a 99.9% uptime.
Remediation - Blue Compass automatically publishes updates to the content management system quarterly and will remediate and repair all critical vulnerabilities within 30 days.
Updates - All CMS software upgrades are done on a quarterly basis and rolled out to all our clients as a value-added service, at no additional charge. These updates may include:
- Improvements to the user experience.
- Modernizations to keep your CMS running smoothly on future browsers and devices.
- New features and capabilities recommended by our clients and digital marketers for SEO changes
Why Consistent Maintenance Matters
It’s hard to fathom what it would be like falling asleep today and waking up just five years in the future. The technological differences would be drastic, and it would probably be like learning how to use a computer all over again. The same happens with a website and hosting if it’s not regularly maintained and updated. Almost regularly, coding languages are updated and advanced, new networking and data storage solutions are improved upon and search engines change how websites should perform to rank in their algorithms. Keeping up with regular maintenance and updates reduces the headaches you and your clients will experience, not to mention consistent maintenance saves you from having to make one massive, costly and time consuming update every few years.
Full access to our Client Support Team is included with your website. Our support team is staffed by full-time Blue Compass team members located in our office in West Des Moines. If you have questions, issues or would like a quote for a new website feature, simply reach out to our Client Support Team through the help feature in the CMS, via phone or email. Our team will assist you in a timely manner. Our front-end and back-end developers have dedicated hours on their schedule every day for support issues, so our prompt attention is the same whether we’re developing your website or providing support post-launch. This makes it possible for simple updates to be made quickly, without having to wait weeks for a change.
When a client contacts us with an issue, we identify the severity, test and replicate the issue and then send it to the correct team member to fix it. The update goes through quality assurance as an added layer of security, and we notify you of the fix.
Hours of Support: Our team provides reasonable phone, text and email technical support for issues within our rational control. Our phone and email technical support team assists during normal business hours 9am-5pm CST, Monday through Friday, excluding nationally recognized holidays. We also provide clients with a 24-hour-a-day phone number (888-644-0190) and texting solution (515-500-5567), should emergency contact need to be made.
Phone calls made after hours are forwarded directly to our Executive Team who escalate the situation as needed by pulling the required Blue Compass team members into the office to fix any issues.
Why Reliable Support Matters
After experiencing a 2am website crash, the importance of quality customer support becomes apparent. With all the available communication tools today, it seems counterintuitive to think you may not be able to connect with someone if something happens to your website. What most don’t consider is that customer support can be located anywhere in the world. If your website goes down in the United States during the day, but your hosting support is sleeping in another continent, you’ll not only have to wait to get help, you also might have to stay up extra late to verify the fix worked. This is one example of many potential support downfalls. Be sure to look into the availability of the hosting provider you are choosing before putting your website in their hands.
Blue Compass Is the Host with the Most
Blue Compass aims to be more than just a platform for your website—we are a partner committed to your continued digital success. Our regular maintenance, monitoring and support surpasses traditional website hosts who provide a server and nothing more to enhance your website and user experience in the meantime. With your best interests in mind, we always have your back.