Electric Bricks & Cloudflare: Protecting Our Clients’ Websites From Cyber Attacks

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Please note: the following service changes only apply to Electric Bricks clients for whom we host their website.

Cyber attacks of all kinds are on the rise. There is a relentless onslaught of spam, phishing, website hacking attempts, viruses, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks every single day. At Electric Bricks, we’ve seen a sharp increase in these types of attacks recently. While some are attempting to steal the identities of you and your clients, many of these types of attacks are often meant only to create chaos, crash websites, and cause senseless, irritating disruptions.

Electric Bricks has recently introduced several new mitigation tactics to combat these attacks. Our priority is to keep our clients’ sites up and running and safe from hackers. But many of these solutions fall short of stopping the more robust attacks we’ve seen in recent months. For that reason, we are taking a more forceful measure and moving all clients to Cloudflare.

TL;DR – Key Takeaways

  1. There is no cost to you for this upgrade/transition
  2. We will be moving your DNS records from your current provider to Cloudflare
  3. Your site may go down for a short period of time – usually less than 30 minutes
  4. Your email should not be affected but may stop delivering for a short period of time – usually less than 30 minutes
  5. This is being done to improve performance and (more importantly) protect your site from hackers
  6. You will still have full control of your DNS, website, domain name, email, etc.
  7. This only affects clients who host their website with Electric Bricks
  8. We will gladly work with your other IT service providers to make sure they can still access your DNS records, if necessary
  9. We love our clients!

What is Cloudflare?

In a nutshell, Cloudflare is an internet security service designed to deliver website content faster (by means of their enormous, global content delivery network (CDN)) and to protect sites from DDoS attacks by preventing malicious bots from overwhelming sites with thousands of hits designed to crash a server. Cloudflare sits in between site visitors and your website, and it analyzes that traffic to filter out unwanted bots and allow legitimate site visitors through.

In order to make this work, we need to make a few significant changes to your site and domain name. First, the DNS records that point your domain name to things like your website server and email service need to move to Cloudflare. Under typical circumstances, the DNS records for your domain are managed at the registrar where you purchased your domain (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, 1&1, etc.). We will need to move those records to Cloudflare so that their web application firewall (WAF) can get between your site and potential visitors to see who’s trying to hit your site – essentially a gatekeeper looking for troublemakers.

Cloudflare WAF

In addition to that, we will be installing a better SSL certificate model with full (strict) SSL/TLS encryption that will encrypt all data transferred to and from your site (end-to-end) to help prevent identity theft and other attacks of this kind.

Cloudflare SSL

Sounds Good, but What Will This Cost Me?

We are happy to say that the basic Cloudflare service and labor involved in migrating and configuring your site will have no cost to you. Electric Bricks is committed to providing the best, most reliable service to our clients and we are doing this because we feel it’s our responsibility to be a dependable, trustworthy resource for our clients.

Great. So What Happens Next?

This is a large initiative as we have literally hundreds of sites to move to Cloudflare. The process will take weeks and we are putting together an action plan that prioritizes high-risk sites first. When necessary, we will reach out if we don’t have direct access to your DNS records. When it is time for your site to move we will let you know as there will be unavoidable, temporary service disruptions. This means that your website and email service may go down for a short period of time. But rest assured that we will work to minimize the disruption to your business by scheduling most of this work after normal business hours. We will work with each client directly to ensure that all are aware of what is happening when. We are striving for no surprises and minimal downtime during this transition.

Do I Need to Know Anything After My Site Is Moved?

Once your site is behind the Cloudflare firewall we will give you the credentials to your free Cloudflare account should you (or your other IT partners) ever need them. As with all things at Electric Bricks, we are committed to full transparency with our clients and want to make sure you stay in control of your intellectual property at all times. Needless to say, Electric Bricks will continue to manage all of this for you and remains a dependable resource for you.

We will also now have the ability to increase the level of security for those sites that require it. It’s an unfortunate truth that some sites are the target of more determined attacks and as we identify those sites we will work with those site owners to discuss more robust, fee-based options from Cloudflare.

Lastly, you should see a performance increase in your website due to Cloudflare’s global CDN, but this can also have a minor effect on content updates to your site. For those clients who make frequent edits or additions to their content, there may be a need to occasionally clear Cloudflare’s caching system so it refreshes it’s network with the latest updates to your site. Again, we will work with individual clients if this becomes an issue.

Cloudflare network map
Cloudflare's Global Content Delivery Network Map

Some Final Thoughts

As I mentioned at the start, Electric Bricks is, and has always been, committed to our clients’ success and always maintains a policy of full transparency and protection of our customers’ intellectual property. While this initiative will have a significant cost to us, we still feel it’s worthwhile and necessary to ensure that our clients can do business and meet their own goals, whatever they may be.

I want to personally thank you in advance for your patience as we move through this process, and I want to apologize in advance for any disruptions that may occur as we transition your website. Please understand this is a necessary process and the benefits far outweigh the temporary inconveniences this may cause.

Should you have any questions about this process, please feel free to contact me directly.

Keith Paul

631-909-1004 x101

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