Surviving Cyber Monday: Is Your Data Center Prepared?

20 Nov 2013 by Technology

"When the dust settles on Cyber Monday and an e-commerce site digitally processes the last credit card payment of the Black Friday weekend, there’s bound to be a company or two that lost profits due to lagging bandwidth availability, insufficient server capacity and/or poor traffic management. Cyberattacks are also a real threat, as hackers ramp up their efforts during the year’s best time to find the most customers trading credit card and personal information online. A study conducted by RSA and the Ponemon Institute found that companies lose $8,000 per minute or $500,000 per hour on Cyber Monday to cyberattack-related downtime on average, and can sacrifice up to $3.4 million for just one hour of disruption.

With no signs of online shopping slowing down, Cyber Monday 2013 is projected to be even bigger than last year. All of the days on Thanksgiving weekend are expected to see record highs in online sales. According to the Adobe Digital Index, U.S. online sales are forecast to top $2.2 billion on Cyber Monday, $1.6 billion on Black Friday and $1 billion on Thanksgiving, CNET reported. It represents a 47 percent rise from last year, when Cyber Monday spending totaled about $1.5 billion.

In order to avoid feeling like the next person waiting in line after the last Playstation 4 is sold at the local Best Buy, it’s critical that online retailers and ecommerce companies ensure that they’re ready to process and protect the onslaught of Web traffic.

Optimizing Data Centers and Networks for the Cyber Monday Crunch
In keeping with the mood of the weekend, meeting consumers’ need for shopping speed is critical. Slow page loads, poorly functioning mobile apps and issues in online product availability can send potential buyers bouncing away to another site in the blink of an iPad. Online retailers need comprehensive plans to ensure that their websites are ready to process the traffic, wrote Forbes contributor Kevin Conway. Systems should be tested beforehand to ensure that networks and servers can handle peak traffic at higher rates than previously experienced. During the weekend itself, e-commerce companies should maintain constant oversight of their site’s user experience, monitoring Web applications, network connections and other factors that could impact site performance.

Companies that already outsource their storage and network needs to a hosting provider may want to look into scaling up their server capacity for this weekend. High pressure and peak traffic times are when off-site data storage really shines. Having scalable load bearing and best-of-breed network infrastructure available to handle traffic limits the latency that could hamper an e-commerce platform’s effectiveness. Automated backup and redundant data storage keep data duplicated and protected by multi-layered security in order to stop hackers and mitigate the impact of potential attacks. Those with in-house data centers worried about having enough capacity to provide an optimal user experience need to move fast – no one wants to be left out in the cold during the busiest shopping time of the year."

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