Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving each year, has a reputation for being one of the most erratic shopping days in the United States. The market is flooded with deep discounts, and brick and mortar locations as well as online outlets have seen record revenues in recent years. While this is great for business, a mass increase in online traffic is able to open up many vulnerabilities for websites. Walmart’s website was disabled last year due to such a high-volume traffic period during Black Friday- violence and frustration was the result. Use these 5 guidelines to protect your online presence during the holidays season this year.
1) Be Prepared. Unlike natural disasters and catastrophic incidents, website traffic during certain holidays is predictable. It is not uncommon to see organic traffic spikes of 200% during Black Friday. Reports of 800% increase have even been recorded, especially if you are running a successful marketing campaign. Communicate with your IT department and make sure the website is functioning properly for mass increases of online traffic prior to the holidays.
2) Watch out for Cybercriminals. These individuals are experts at capitalizing on the shopping frenzy by utilizing fake sites and scams cloaked as “special promotions”. Be sure to secure your website using SSL certificates to reassure your audience that your site is legitimate. Don’t forget to use automated vulnerability scans and malware assessments to detect unseen web threats.
3) Avoid DOS Defense. Defenses against denial of service attacks can sometimes backfire during the holiday rush. If your website is protected for a low volume of orders throughout the year, then a large holiday traffic spike can turn against you. An overload of orders will not be accepted and result in lost revenue for your business if you focus solely on DOS defenses.
4) Compress your Content. Web content compression is a good practice that is particularly useful during high-traffic periods such as Black Firday. It can lower bandwidth costs and even improve site performance.
5) Lock Everything Down. When a large surge of online traffic is expected, don’t schedule any other large projects or activities for a few days. In other words- don’t implement any new applications, configuration changes or deployments until the rush has subsided. IT lockdowns reduce the risk of system errors and keep consumers in check.