Is Your E-Commerce Site Ready for the Holidays?

Even though summer is just heating up, internet retailers already have visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads as they prepare for the onslaught of holiday web traffic that will soon ring in the 2015 holiday season. However, much of their focus is on marketing, and not the critical security measures they need to have in place to help keep their customers safe and satisfied as they shop online during the holidays. 

As we have seen from the numerous security breaches and cyberattacks reported during last year’s holiday season, understanding the threat landscape and putting appropriate mitigation plans in place is critical to a business’s revenue and reputation.  Just one hour of network downtime due to an outage or malicious attack can have far reaching consequences for a retailer, especially during the holidays. 

The 2014 Cost of Cyber Crime Study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found the average annualized cost of cyber crime incurred by a sample of U.S. organizations was $12.7 million, representing a 96 percent increase since the study was initiated five years ago. The results also revealed that the time it takes to resolve a cyber-attack has increased by 33 percent during this same period, with the average cost incurred to resolve a single attack totaling more than $1.6 million. Moreover, with the undisputed top cause of network outages attributed to human error, according to Gartner, controlling the large number of variables with the capacity to make or break a company’s online sales and marketing abilities can seem overwhelming.

The good news is that Ponemon Institute’s 2014 Cost of Cyber Crime Study also found that organizations using security intelligence technologies were more efficient in detecting and containing cyberattacks and outages. This is critical as the National Retail Federation reported non-store holiday sales – an indicator of online and e-commerce sales – grew 6.8 percent to $101.9 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow even more this holiday season. That is a large chunk of revenue that can mean the difference between a good and bad year for any retailer. 

With the stakes so high, Internet retailers need to adopt a 360-degree approach to availability and security during the holiday season, and ideally year-round.

Below are some tips for how to get started:

Upgrade Your Infrastructure

Few things are as important as scaling your Internet infrastructure to be able to handle the increased traffic load that will come your way from all of your enhanced marketing efforts during the holiday shopping season. Often, the holiday focus in on marketing, but if infrastructure scalability and performance are not optimized, the results could cost you in sales and reputation at the worst possible time when your site slows down, or worse goes down entirely, and your customers can’t access it.

Don’t Forget About DDoS

With the increase in size and complexity of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, companies should consider leveraging upstream service providers, like Verisign, to protect both Web servers and their domain name system (DNS). As discussed above, any amount of downtime can have far-reaching consequences to both revenue and reputation. A cloud-based approach to both DNS management and DDoS protection provides a cost-effective and complementary solution for the complex task of maintaining network availability.

Get Seasonal Help

Not all e-commerce sites have the resources to develop internal cyber-intelligence capabilities. Security service providers have the means to quickly identify and understand the relevant threats and the context surrounding them, determine effective mitigation and remediation tactics, and inform an intelligence-driven plan to enhance security during this critical time for your business. Let the experts help you during your busiest time of the year!

To protect critical online operations during the holiday season and year round, online retailers can take advantage of holistic services like the Verisign® Uptime Bundle. This cost-effective suite of services, designed for small and mid-sized organizations, helps protect e-commerce sites during the peak online shopping season. Delivered via the cloud, the Verisign Uptime Bundle combines reliable DNS resolution and DDoS attack protection to support critical Web-based systems and reduce the risk of costly downtime.

For more information about best practices for maintaining website availability and security, read our brief report on The Ups and Downs of Network Availability. To speak with a Verisign security expert about the Verisign® Uptime Bundle visit