January 21, 2016

Technology Planning for E-Commerce in 2016

Tech Planning for eCommerce in 2016

With 2016 already underway, many IT professionals are discussing their technology plans for the future. It’s time to ensure your e-commerce site exceeds the expectations of all who use and oversee it. Becoming PCI compliant, achieving 100% uptime, and creating a scalable IT environment are three topics that will help your organization ensure success.

PCI Compliance

PCI Compliance should be a top priority for all e-commerce businesses. In 2006, the PCI Security Standards Council was created to manage this growing online industry. The council seeks to improve security throughout the transaction process, guaranteeing sensitive consumer information is protected. PCI rules apply to any organization or merchant—regardless of size or transaction quantities—that accepts, transmits, or stores cardholder data (PCI Compliance Guide).

PCI Compliance is often seen as a requirement, but it’s really an investment in your customer’s trust.

Maintaining compliance and securing credit card information is critical. The consequences of not doing so are staggering. Non-compliance places your customers’ information at risk of being compromised. Data breaches can lead to staggering business losses, decreased customer loyalty, and a tarnished reputation. Failing to adhere to PCI standards can result in a payment brand fining a bank anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 per month for violations. The bank will likely pass the fine to the merchant as well as terminate their relationship with that merchant or increase transaction fees.

Work with your IT team and/or your managed hosting provider to see how they are protecting your business in 2016.

Be sure to ask some vital questions:

  • How are your physical data center(s) and infrastructure security set up?
  • What type of data backup does your business have?
  • Is your site safe from DDoS attacks?
  • Do you have Intrusion Prevention Systems in place?
  • Does your site have Disaster Recovery? Cold, Warm, Hot?
  • Are your servers load balanced for heavy traffic?
  • Do you currently have real-time and on-demand malware protection?

High Availability

In 2013, Amazon.com went down for about 30 minutes preventing customers from accessing Amazon’s mobile or Canadian site. Forbes estimated Amazon’s downtime cost the organization more than $66,000 per minute of downtime—a total loss of $1,980,000.

In e-commerce, first impressions count when you and other retailers are competing for the same business. Your site needs to be up and running 100% of the time or you won’t be able to retain customers. When a consumer is ready to buy and accesses a downed site, they immediately take their business elsewhere, to a site that is up and running.

Even if your site isn’t a retail behemoth like Amazon.com, downtime can still result in lost business, a negative brand image, and frustrated customers. In fact, smaller organizations have more to lose with downtime since every single sale is critical to the life of the business. Managed hosting providers guarantee 100% uptime ensuring your site is always available so that you will never miss a sale.

PCI Compliance

 

Scalable and Flexible Environments

Digital data continues to grow exponentially, doubling every two years (Business Insider). As your site continues to gain popularity and grow your customer base, you will then begin stocking and selling more and new products. These factors should be carefully considered when your planning with your IT team and/or your managed hosting provider. As you scale the size of your business, it’s imperative that you also scale your site and data capacity to handle more.

There is no worse feeling than planning your site, purchasing new items, getting more traffic only to be blind sighted by how little your IT environment can handle and how much time, energy and cost it will take to allow your environment to scale to a larger size. Without careful scalable planning, you risk interruptions in the purchasing process or worse – your site completely crashing. Ensuring your IT environment is scalable and flexible will keep you ready for both data growth and business success.

Make sure you discuss your e-commerce technology strategy in 2016 so that you can pave the way for a successful IT environment in the future. By taking the time to plan out your needs now, you save a lot of time and headaches later that could have been avoidable. Be sure to loop in your hosting provider if they manage your environment and make them aware of any major sales or heavy traffic times that you anticipate throughout the year.

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