Managing corporate domain portfolios is one of the most irritating, yet business critical functions for Digital, IP and IT Managers. For executives, it is an activity entrusted to managers with little visibility. Then, without warning, part of the business goes offline; and now the failure of executives to prioritize a domain management audit and implement operational best practices exposes the business for all to see. DISASTER.

Domain related outages happen, often due to unknown actions executed by long-departed employees. The problem is exposed when a new action is taken on the interconnected DNS and web infrastructure. Over the years, corporate domain portfolios have undergone continuous change without change management controls and poor record keeping, resulting in a lack of institutional knowledge. The consequence is a compounding mess with multiple registrars and name servers, hundreds or likely thousands of subdomains, and various campaign micro-sites, splash pages, redirects, text, service, and mail settings that get set up and frankly forgotten.

Exacerbating the situation are various registrar accounts that may not be readily accessible to make changes, particularly in times of emergency. Domain ownership is typically shared inside the business with several functional groups having an interest but no one group assuming total ownership and control. The resulting lack of accountability creates an untended digital footprint. IP cares about brand protection. Digital marketing cares about flagship websites and live campaign experiences. IT responds to business requests and business owners defer to digital and IT teams who manage the day-to-day setting changes, some of which are approved and once done, mostly forgotten. If you are in this boat and it capsizes, you, your colleagues and leaders will experience one of the most painful and VISIBLE fire drills for digital, IT and executive teams responsible for the digital business.

That’s the business problem.

We have all been there.  A domain expires, a legacy name server stops responding, a server is unplugged, a zone file gets wiped out, a DDOS attack overwhelms an under-invested internal or retail grade DNS infrastructure, a web server is reconfigured, a redirect service stops functioning or cannot handle the load … POOF no more web presence. Online lead generation and sales grind to a halt, digital services go down, and internal systems become unavailable. The call center lights up and CODE RED is sounded.

The emergency conference call starts. The issue is described and then silence as business leaders wait while network engineers diagnose. The call expands as other resources are brought on to resolve. Time is of the essence. The call continues and seconds tick by, silence mixed with short questions and shorter answers. Tense moments ensue, hopefully, moments. The outage can impact revenue, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation. It is a big deal and potentially devastating to the business.

That’s the business outcome.

The post-mortem incident report is produced. The cause of this outage is determined and some actions are taken to prevent recurrence. However, the IT and savvy digital folks know the core problem remains. Corporate domains are supported by multiple registrars, using even more, name server services, many of which are not enterprise class. In addition, vendor account access issues persist and enterprise teams do not have readily accessible data visibility or change management controls. The work to properly resolve issues is not prioritized and teams move on.  All seems fine and then six months later … REPEAT. Some new players engage and tenured players roll their eyes knowing the underlying problems persist. They know the business lacks control and struggles with visibility, exposed to future digital outages.

The adage plays here; “it is not a question of if an outage will happen, it is when.”

What systems, controls, and processes are in place to prevent outages and diagnose when the inevitable happens? Are teams, vendors, and processes in place to fix it fast?

Are you exposed?

You are if these situations, challenges, and risks exist in your organization?

QuestionTypical SituationBusiness Challenges and Risks
Who owns domain management?Shared between IP, IT, Digital and business owners. An asset administrator (domain manager) struggles with manual reviews and approvals.
Admins unfairly bear the brunt of historical settings that drive issues.
Inefficient and shared ownership reduces accountability. Admins waste cycles seeking decisions, resolutions, sourcing and managing multiple services.
Admins lean on various IT resources to hold the business together. Lack Of clear accountability creates a void in decision authority and budget to resolve.
Who makes the decisions?Adhoc and variable with revolving door ownership and lack Of historical institutional knowledge.Disconnected from the business strategy, domain portfolios bloat as new decision makers lack business intelligence data required to audit and make good portfolio culling decisions.
How many domains do we own?unclear. Periodic snapshots at best. Details are inaccessible due to provider system limitations and restricted personnel access to information.Lack of real control and knowledge of the company’s digital footprint. Inefficiencies and cost bloat.
Are domains and subdomains resolving?Often < 50% Of a portfolio resolves. Add to that the invisible Status Of subdomains. The “set it and forget it” mentality has created a legacy mess that simply compounds over time.NO clear picture Of the brand’s digital footprint or how it performs. A daunting operation to analyze and resolve leaves it unaddressed. The risk condition simply compounds over time.
How many registrar accounts are in use?Most firms have several due to legacy decisions, business acquisitions and various business unit practices.Lack Of control. Lack Of security With passwords in various systems are a material business risk. NO Information Technology General Control (ITGC).
How many Name Servers are in use?Most firms have various in place from retail registrar name servers and untended or underinvested internal infrastructures set up years ago.NO centralized DNS control hub or view on name servers in use, nor access to data business intelligence. DNS failure or DDOS attack risk is high.

If some or all of these sound familiar, your business is at risk.

Is it time to prioritize a project to gain control so you do not get blindsided with outages that can cost sales, client satisfaction, and related brand damage. Is the cost of doing nothing greater than the cost of a focused effort to put systems in place to gain control, visibility and optimize your digital portfolio? You bet it is!

Ben Franklin’s quote works: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Authentic Web offers a solution?

Authentic Web technology and services are designed to solve these challenges. We take on client domain consolidation projects with a modern systems approach designed for business team needs to execute and analyze digital programs. We support client domains across more than 1,000 TLD extensions.

Get control, address change management (ITGC) imperatives, provide data visibility and easy-to-use tool sets to lock down your digital footprint to ensure you are operating at peak performance. Mitigate the risk of an outage, ensure digital assets are secure, and access enterprise-grade support when you need it most.