Do you make these data security mistakes?

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Note the rather uncharacteristic post title from my recent blog hack.Β  The humor of the particular spam title and my post image was not lost on me.

Call me the poster child for the need for a structured, secure data security plan:

  • In 2008, the hard drive on my brand new iMac failed four months after purchase and I almost lost all my data (I was in the middle of working on my book).
  • Earlier this year, my web host had a series of technical glitches and I lost all my sites for almost a week. It wasn’t until it happened that I realized the backup widgets I thought were installed were not. Only by the grace of a dedicated team (@naominiles , @matthewrayscott @va4hire @pmurrah and Scott Rivers) did I get all the data back (it takes a village to restore your online business).
  • In November, my web host was hit by a hacker, and my blog was infiltrated by viagra spam. The quick acting of @timgrahl and @williejackson scrubbed my site of unscrupulous code, but not before suffering embarrassment.

These experiences have made me an advocate for “scaring straight” new entrepreneurs about the need for data security protection.

Willie Jackson, Photo by Robert Bromfield

I had the good fortune to interview freelance technology consultant Willie Jackson on this topic today, and invite you to listen to our 25-minute podcast about data security. Download the podcast at this link, or click the player below for the interview.

Willie is a former technology consultant for Accenture, and one of the six “accomplices” recently chosen by Seth Godin to work on The Domino Project. Willie was also featured in my side hustle and flow series earlier this year.

Common data security mistakes discussed in the podcast:

  1. Not having a backup service for your website/blog
  2. Thinking that FTP backup of Wordpress saves all your content (hint: it does not)
  3. Creating weak passwords
  4. Securing only your business data and forgetting priceless personal data like family photos
  5. Shopping for web hosts purely on price, not thinking about security and support

Services discusses on the podcast:

WP-db Manager

WP-db Backup

Automatic Wordpress Backup

AVG Free (for Windows)


Vault Press (extra special support, but requires “golden ticket” invitation. I am pretty sure the service is run by Willie Wonka)

Web Host

If you are too overwhelmed to get backups set up yourself, holler at Willie:


willie (at) williejackson (dot) com

May your backups be secure and all your data bright and clean in 2011!

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16 Responses to “Do you make these data security mistakes?”

  1. […] a side note, if you want to learn more about data backup and security Willie did an awesome interview with Pam Slim of Escape from Cubical Nation. This was the interview […]

  2. […] pay huge dividends when one of these happens to you. Willie has some excellent online security tips here.Most importantly, cultivate a flexible mindset while developing your plan and talk with other […]

  3. Great article

    A lot of people under estimate the requirement of a secure reliable backup.
    Online Data Backup Services form a great foundation for a sound disaster recovery solution.

  4. Willie,

    At what point in a blogger’s “career” do you advice implementation of all such measures? Let’s forget the generalization that everyone should get it for a minute. All the tools cost money, so is there a make-sense point in your opinion?

    • The point at which said blogger is unwilling to lose everything.

      And only about half the tools mentioned cost money. I don’t know anyone who’s serious about business and would be unwilling to invest in said business, though.

  5. Laurie Foley says:

    One of the things I love about this interview is how CALM Willie is. It’s a topic that can make anyone’s anxiety level rise and you and Willie made it accessible and appealing! Thank you both.

  6. Samuel says:

    Nice interview Pam, backing up your data is very mandatory. Most especially your valuable data. I will check out those tools listed. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Faye says:

    Pam and Willie,
    Thanks so much for a great presentation on backups and security for websites. Excellent information that I’m implementing now.

  8. Thanks Willie. Glad to hear you think the app is useful. One quick question. What do you think about password managers like RoboForm?

  9. Excellent discussion Willie and Pam and very much needed as a reminder. As you said, most people don’t think about this until they need it — when it’s too late.

    Willie mentioned he wasn’t aware of a back up service for google (android) phones. I’ve been using the MyBackupPro App and it works like a charm. You can schedule backups, store data online or off. I’ve had to use it to restore and it’s a life saver. You can find the app in the android marketplace or at their website The pro version is $4.99

    • Good call Denise, I actually use MyBackup Pro. I’m not aware of any cross-platform (iPhone, Android, Palm, Blackberry) service that I could point people to, but MBP is an excellent choice if you’re an Android user.

  10. Thanks for having me, Pam. Wasn’t expecting to see that picture when I clicked through πŸ˜€

    My buddy Andrew Norcross (@norcross is the wizard who did the actual cleaning of your siteβ€”I just connected the dots πŸ™‚

    • Pamela says:

      I got hysterical when I saw the post they picked up for hacking. I had just used that rocket image to announce my affiliation with Escape Velocity. Thank goodness I had the peace of mind to take a screen shot of that particular infiltration. πŸ™‚