Upcoming Shield Central – What Is It?

Many of our clients have come to us through our Shield Security plugin for WordPress.

We’ve kept Shield completely free for years, without locking out core security features. We intend to maintain this if we can. But, we’re aiming to make website security easier than ever for professionals that demand efficiency.

We built Shield Central for this purpose.

What’s the real need for WordPress management?

As it stands today, there are several limitations with multiple WordPress management.

Is the answer iControlWP? Our innovative backup service and unique approach to customer support, makes us the preferred choice for many. But not for all, naturally.

For other folks, they prefer the marketing promise of “free” (and it’s never free). Or there’s the “host it yourself” approach if you’re swayed by the “it’s more secure” myth. Admittedly, it’s an effective marketing strategy – wish we’d thought of it! 😉

As far as we’re concerned, they’ve all missed the most important point. Sure, these management services are critical to be able to scale. We wouldn’t pursue iControlWP if we didn’t think so.  But they’re all limited in 1 key way.

We’re gearing up to release the first of a new kind of WordPress management. Don’t worry, your management service will copy us soon enough (they usually do). Where we’re going is where WordPress management really needs to go for everyone

So what is this magical new thing? Let’s start with defining the problem…

Where do you spend most of your time with WordPress management?

A few things will come to mind here, but here’s the run down:

  • updates
  • configuration
  • backups / restores. If you’re baby-sitting unreliable site backups then you need to know that that problem has already been solved.

So taking the first on the list: updates. iControlWP goes a long way to making the ongoing maintenance of WordPress updates easy. You can update as many or as few sites, within groups of sites, or on all sites, as you like. Whatever way you want to slice it up, you can.

You can even set individual plugins to update automatically without your interference.

You can also use our unique test restores to fire up replica websites and then play with them as you need.

The time it takes you do perform 1 action on 100 sites is about the same as that for 1 site. WordPress management is scalable.

This is wonderful, because the amount of time we can save is phenomenal!

But… what about plugin configuration… can’t we make the management of WordPress plugin configurations scalable…?

What is scalable plugin configuration management?

After you install a plugin on a site, 999 times out of 1000 you’ll need to configure it in some way or another.

What about all that time we spend setting options on our plugins? We’re never going to get that time back, and just think about how we could be spending that time better?

Take our Shield Security plugin, as an example. Security is a complex and ongoing project, and Shield has over 50+ available options.  That’s a lot of options when you have more than a few websites.

Once you’re familiar with a plugin it gets easier since you know exactly what you need to do to set it up. But think about the time you spend in following scenarios:

  • Installing a new plugin and setting its initial configuration
  • Updating a plugin where the update includes a new option that you want to configure (on all your sites)
  • Comparing plugin options across sites – are you consistent in your configurations?

As the number of sites you manage increases, the scale of this problem explodes.

An example of just how much wasted time you could save

We just released Shield v5.8.0 that came with a new option: chained multi-factor authentication on or off.

The default setting for this option is important because many of our clients manage 100s or sites.

To change this new option, normally you’d have to:

  1. log into each site,
  2. upgrade the plugin (if it isn’t already),
  3. find the option,
  4. set the option,
  5. save the option.

This could take, say, at least 3 minutes to do. If you have 100 WordPress sites, that’s a total of 5 hours to complete for all your sites.

With Shield Central, you could complete all 100 sites it within ~3 minutes.

  • With Shield Central: 3 minutes.
  • Without Shield Central: 5 hours.

Shield Central – why?

For every set of 20 sites you look after, you can add around 1 hour of management for each setting you manage.

I know I don’t have that sort of time to waste, and am pretty sure you don’t either.

Shield Central goes far beyond a simple options import/export. It will form the foundation of our security strategy for WordPress for the foreseeable future.

Shield Central – when and how much?

Shield Central will be released in 2+ phases:

  • Phase 1: Central Management. From within iControlWP you’ll be able install, and modify all the settings on, the Shield Security plugin. Just as you can from inside the WordPress dashboard.
  • Phase 2: Security Profiles. You’ll be able to create settings ‘profiles’. You’ll configure settings in these profile and then assign them to any collection of sites you wish. In this way you can standardise your security settings across your portfolio.
  • Phase 3: Lots more to come…

We plan to release Phase 1 by the middle/end of May 2017 after it’s undergone thorough testing.

Shield Central will be bundled on all new iControlWP subscriptions once it’s released. We’ll add it to most iControlWP subscriptions for existing clients, though not all. For older subscriptions, where pricing was in pennies and cents, you’ll have the option to add it to your plan.

Questions and Comments?

If you have any questions about Shield Central, or would like to leave comments about it below. Please let us know what you think 🙂

Thank you for your continued support!

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Ruud says:

    Great news. This is something we’ve been looking forward to.
    For the future, it would be great if you guys would somehow be able to do the same thing for the more popular WordPress plugins out there. But I understand that will be a little bit more complicated than doing it for your own plugin.

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  • Love the simplicity and all of the innovation offered by iControlWP. One of the nicest features of iControlWP products is that they work. Period. They save us a ton of time as WebPro360 now uses your products on nearly 50 domains, and we’re looking forward to adding another 50 in the very near future. We’re really looking forward to this new rollout! Thanks for the heads up, Paul!

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