Key considerations for rapidly growing e-commerce companies
Every fledgling e-commerce retailer envisions a day where the stars are aligned, sales are trending upward, and it’s time to scale up operations. But what exactly does that involve, and what are the possible hazards? Scaling up presents the potential for serious problems if security isn’t taken into account for both cloud and on-premise infrastructure.
As businesses grow their digital infrastructures, access and use of vital information become even more important. Companies must maintain data security as operations grow and information moves between the cloud and dedicated servers more frequently.
Growth requires security
Rapid growth also brings high visibility to your company. The larger a business gets, the bigger of a target it becomes. Further security measures – even if they were once seen as too expensive for the return, like file integrity monitoring – can quickly prove their worth as volume grows and a business becomes a more desirable target for criminals.
You absolutely need to actively manage security issues when scaling e-commerce capabilities. Without the proper attention given to keeping valuable and sensitive systems and assets secure, businesses put themselves in danger. Here are some key security considerations to take into account.
The critical status of payment information security
One of the most valuable and sensitive types of information regularly shared through a business’s digital infrastructure is payment processing information. Many smaller businesses use a single dedicated server or a cloud-based approach with a website paired with MySQL. Unfortunately, that means an intruder in any part of the server or cloud used can access that payment data. Separating the data from the presentation layer seen by shoppers to ensure more secure transmission is crucial to long-term security success.
Balancing performance and accessibility
Ultimately, businesses need to focus on the potential unwanted accessibility of their information. Without an effective solution that takes an individual approach to cloud and server storage and use into account, companies risk allowing dangerous and damaging retrieval and use of sensitive data by malicious outside forces.
There are plenty of approaches to use that balance the need for effective performance and a high level of security. One is using a Network File System to share files and improve performance without exposing data over network links – depending on the level of over-engineering implemented by a business – and an Lsync script to securely improve bandwidth use when media files are stored on individual servers.
Strategies and priorities can change significantly depending on business demands. There are so many different cloud and hardware configurations that no single, complete set of best practices is available and instantly applicable for every business. Instead, organizations need to look at their current structure and future plans, using this information to review and test their current network and develop effective strategies for improving it without creating any new vulnerabilities.
Changes that come with growth: A common pain point
The inability to predict future ecommerce sales volumes can directly result in a multitude of performance issues for an organization’s website. When growth occurs or is expected in the near future, businesses need to review, test and change their systems. Without taking growth into consideration, you face slowdowns, bottlenecks and other problems that directly affect customers and can easily impact sales.
Similarly, a security plan has to change as a business grows. Digital security in general and specifically in regard to current and future plans to scale e-commerce infrastructure needs to be a regular topic of discussion, with planning and tests both playing major roles. This is especially vital as a business diversifies, new systems are implemented, old ones are taken offline and other major changes occur.
A more secure future
Ultimately, communication is at the center of efforts to improve security as a business scales its ecommerce capabilities. Marketing, sales, financial, management and technical teams need to share information about current and future initiatives to keep their operations as secure as possible. When planning, testing and secure improvement of ecommerce infrastructure is a common concern shared across all departments of a business, it’s far easier to have the necessary discussions and make the required improvements before a business exposes itself to potentially serious risks.
About the Authors
Sam Cinquegrani is CEO and founder of ObjectWave Corp., a full-service provider of digital commerce solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Charles McKinnis, is an Enterprise Support Engineer supporting eCommerce customers at Rackspace Hosting, the #1 managed cloud company helping businesses tap the power of cloud computing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.