I have written before about the risk of taking shortcuts.

I want to revisit this to give an example of how not taking the extra 30 seconds to do something right the first time can add hours of extra work later on.

This scenario is true by the way!

Lets imagine that your company name is ACME Building Corporation Inc.

Lets also imagine that your domain name and web address is http://www.acmebuilding.com – seems simple enough right?

Now lets imagine that it is a few years later, you have been growing and it has reached the time where you want to add a secure Web Mail server for your remote people, or perhaps you want to add the ability for people to shop on line at your website.

The most common way to add this type of security is to add SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) security technology to your website. This technology is what gives that little lock on your web browser to confirm that the website you are visiting is indeed who they say they are, and to assist in keeping data transfers secure.

To get this SSL technology, you need to request a certificate, the company providing the certificate makes some checks to ensure that the website you want to secure is legally yours, and you get one of these certificates. Again – not overly difficult.

So! step one, you go through the process to request the SSL certificate – Then step two? you find that whomever first registered your company name on the interwebs for that http://www.acmebuilding.com domain, was too lazy to register it to your complete company name; ACME Building Corporation Inc.

They cheated, and took the shortcut of registering it as being owned by the shortened ABCInc.

Since that shortcut of ABCInc is not your registered business name, you cannot add that SSL certificate until you get that company name fixed. In our case we had to create a new company record and actually transfer the domain ownership to what should have been our name in the first place.

As a note, this could also happen if you had a supplier register your domain name under their business name. By this I mean that your acmebuilding.com domain was created and owned by Shay-Dee Web Design Corporation.

The SMB Takeaway

Take the 30 seconds to do it right, the first time.

And a reminder, if you had someone else set you up on the web – make sure it is your name as owner – not theirs.


You Gotta Trust Yourself

April 19, 2009

I had a strange technology issue last weekend, it cost about 12 hours of troubleshooting and frustration, and even though it is now fixed, I cannot exactly say why, or what caused  it to happen.

If you do on line banking, or have ever purchased something from Amazon, or E-Bay, you should be familiar with the little gold lock and the https:// part of the web address that defines that the Web Site is protected with what is called a Secure Sockets Layer or SSL certificate. (yes they can be hacked, but that is outside the context of this post)

In this case, when I applied those SSL security certificates to a couple of our sites, it killed them – completely! Dead as a door nail.

Some Background

1) We provide a web based application for a particular customer, so we own that portion

2) The customer is the one that wants, and supplies, those secure SSL certificates, so they own that piece

3) As a small business, I don’t have the capability for the 24×7 tech infrastructure to support the applications, so the physical server is contracted from a company that does does that for a living, they own that piece

(if you are a tech type, the organization supplying the SSL cert had moved to an internal KPI system and had changed the org and org unit, so we could not do a plain renewal of the certificate)

To make a long story short

After that 12 hours of sitting on the phone with the other two stakeholders and trying every thing we could think of, I called a halt.

I killed everything we had done and basically put everything back to the way it was before we started.

I then had the data centre team completely shut down that server, and do a clean restart.

Once that was done, the process went along as easily and quickly as it should have done the first time we tried.

The SMB Takeaway

When you have started at first principles and you know that everything was performed as it should be, yet something is wrong, don’t be afraid to call a time out. 

Cruft creeps in and shit happens.

So don’t be afraid to start from scratch.

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