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Taking care of business (deletion)

Nigel Brook discusses options for businesses when faced with technological issues

Last week, a major web-hosting company reportedly deleted an unspecified number of customer websites (see BBC coverage).  Those affected may face a potential loss of data, but also a period in which their website is inaccessible.  This note considers the options available to businesses in similar circumstances (rather than focusing on that event in particular).

Businesses of all sizes increasingly rely on their online presence, not merely as a simple marketing tool or online catalogue for their products, but as part of a broader dialogue between business and consumer.  Any significant period of downtime can therefore have a serious impact.  What options are available to businesses on the receiving end?

It would always be prudent to check any business interruption insurance which you might hold.  This will typically cover loss of income where your business is interrupted due to damage to your premises (such as through fire or flooding), or where essential equipment has broken down.  Not all policies however will provide cover for the lack of availability of your website.

Instead, businesses might need to seek redress directly from their provider.  Such a claim could be very complicated, particularly in terms of demonstrating loss (for which expert forensic accountancy evidence may be required).  It would also be necessary to carefully consider the terms of any contract with your web host, which might well be drafted with the aim of it resisting liability.

In terms of preventative measures, beyond practical steps (such as regularly backing up your data in-house) businesses should approach web hosting in the same manner as they would any other business-critical supply.

If you require any further details please contact Nigel Brook on  0113 220 6276.