Much has been made in the last few days about the problems surrounding Sage Live, the online accounting software service for small business from Sage Group PLC (LSE:SGE) . It has been offline for almost a week, due to apparent security issues. Many ‘competitors’ are obviously enjoying the apparent problems with Sage Live and use it as a demonstration of their own ability and to make themselves look infallible. But can you trust these often self-inflated assertions of knowledge and wisdom, by these so called experts?
As someone who has been in the internet business longer than most, I have built and used many housing centers, in my last company Nacamar Group PLC and now with WinWeb, for some 15 years. I would be lying if I said we never had trouble with server failures and security breaches. Nacamar, was one of Europe’s largest ISPs in the late ’90’s, today part of Tiscali, had continuous problems with hacker attacks, hard disk failures, network outages and other network problems. Many a time these problems were outside our own network and control.
Technology got better, but we should not kid ourselves, networks are not any more secure than they have ever been, the reverse is often true. Many of Sage’s competitors have never run their own network, network security and I suspect they would not know how to. This, unfortunately, creates it’s own security problems. Using public web hosting companies, which have to offer a wide range of services, can never be as secure as a dedicated service provided for one online solution only, unless you install dedicated firewalls and other security measures yourself with the necessary knowledge, data is going to be more exposed and compromised. In my mind, acceptable for websites, but not for services which hold thousands of data sets, personal and corporate.
Whatever we do, no network is ever going to be safe, all we can do is make it more and more difficult for the illegal hackers. Given enough resources and insight, any system can be hacked, anyone denying that is not only foolish, but dangerous.
We all, as reputable online software providers, suffer when one of the online software providers has a security or network problem, competitor or not.
Instead of enjoying the misfortune of others we should work together, that after all was the early ‘code’ of the internet. ISPs, like Nacamar, Demon, Pipex and others, founded organisations like ‘Linx’ to allow ISPs to co-operate with one another in the UK, in the early years. I remember we were members of 20 or maybe more of these organisations worldwide, without these the Internet would not have worked then, nor would it work today. This limited co-operation served us all well, something some of the new start-ups should not forget.
Do I think Sage has great products? Absolutely not! After all I’m the most intelligent and extraordinary Founder and CEO of any online software & business services company, my products are ‘obviously better, more secure, more reliable, more cost-effective and more easy to use’ – but then you knew that! 😉
But seriously, we should establish a standard of service, security and co-operation, for the sake of our customers and for our own sake. — ST.