At WordZite, we collaborate openly with our clients’ IT teams. It makes sense for us to do so – we both have a vested interest in trying to protect our clients’ technology assets.
We’re on the website side of the relationship, while IT teams are on the computing and network side. That said, there is usually some overlap in responsibility when it comes to managing and configuring DNS settings.
The one thing we never want to do is make your IT team’s job harder. In fact, in an ideal world, we can relieve your IT team of some of their responsibilities. Part of how we do this is by being fully transparent about what we’re doing and why, and ensuring that your IT team gets full admin access to the DNS host, and to any other systems they require to do their jobs effectively.
DNS: A Refresher
A Domain Name Server (DNS) is a server that keeps track of the names and addresses of websites. You can think of it as something like an internet phone book. When a user tries to access your website, your website DNS translates your website’s URL into an IP address, allowing the user’s browser to find it and load the information.
DNS are also used in other internet applications, like email. When you send someone an email, the DNS locates the recipient’s email address, and lets your email client know where to send the message.
As you can imagine, making sure your DNS is functional and correctly configured is hugely important for any business website. Without a well-configured DNS, users won’t be able to find your site, and that means fewer customers and lost opportunities for your business.
Too many business owners think they can rely on internal IT teams to manage their website as well. We’ve already talked about why this is a bad idea, but the bottom line is you need web experts to manage your web DNS.
That said, ensuring your web team and your IT team can work together effectively sets both teams up for success. Here’s how and why we collaborate with IT teams.
Ensuring Your Business has a Good Quality DNS Host
Our top priority when it comes to collaborating with IT teams on DNS settings is ensuring that each client we work with is set up with a high-quality, trustworthy DNS host. Our top pick for DNS hosting is Cloudflare, for their robust suite of features and cybersecurity support.
Cloudflare has strong role-management capabilities, making it easy for you to assign roles and levels of access to everyone who needs to work with your website – minimizing the risk of human error by restricting people’s access to only those domains or areas that they need to work with. This can be defined by domain or domain group, or you can get more granular in terms of edit access.
This is good because it gives us some control over the scope of user’s access within a given domain. This helps everyone stay in their lane. And of course, we always recommend keeping your email server separate from your web server.
Cloudflare also has an audit log that makes it easy to track changes and trace any issue back to its root cause. If anything goes wrong with your website, you can retrace exactly what happened, making it easier to fix issues promptly.
All these great features aside, the point is that we want to make sure you’re set up on a really great DNS host because we know that’s going to make it a lot easier for you to keep your website secure and stable.
This isn’t to say we’re going to force you to move web hosts. Sometimes we work with internal teams who don’t have the authority to switch web hosts, or with large enterprises where switching web hosts would be too costly of an operation. If this is the case, we’re happy to provide advice on configuring your existing DNS to suit your needs, while keeping your website as secure as possible.
Clear Communication Between IT and Web
Beyond ensuring that you’re set up with a reputable DNS host, the most important way we collaborate with IT teams is by having a great flow of communication.
Website DNS and internal DNS settings are generally two distinct areas. IT teams know a lot about their organization’s email servers and IT records, and we don’t. We know a lot about websites. When we keep these roles distinct, everyone is able to focus on their own area of expertise.
One of the first conversations we’ll have with internal IT teams is to identify the limits of each of our responsibilities and access. We’ll help internal IT teams secure information and systems that we don’t need access to, and we’ll ensure that web DNS settings are only accessible by members of our team that are working on the project.
Clear communication creates a good sense of mutual trust and helps ensure that no one is sticking their fingers in other people’s business. If there are any major DNS changes that need to happen, we’ll generally invite the internal IT team to take a look before things are finalized.
For example, during onboarding, if we need to migrate your website to a new DNS host, we’ll make sure your IT team has a chance to review the records prior to that event.
We also pride ourselves on being a reliable resource for IT teams. We often have IT teams reaching out to us, either via email or through our ticketing system. This is an opportunity for us and internal IT teams to work together on issues that arise over the course of our relationship – for example, if any issue is found in the DNS records.
We are also happy to educate IT teams that are not as familiar with technologies like Cloudflare. We can provide them with information about features that they can then take back to their managers and colleagues, and potentially help improve the security and function of the organization as a whole.
In short, we collaborate with IT teams just enough to make things easier for everyone. As web experts, our job is to remove the stress and labour of managing a website from your internal marketing and IT teams. Entrusting your website DNS to web experts is a good move to ensure that your website is highly functional and gets you a great return on investment.
Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more, or to book a website security audit.