Black Friday: is your website ready for a traffic surge?
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, it probably won’t have escaped your notice that this Friday is what’s become known as ‘Black Friday’. With companies big and little itching to get in on the action of the busiest shopping day of the year, it falls to trusty IT support teams like us to keep websites up and running during the traffic surges it entails.
While the timing of the annual episode of pre-Christmas shopping-mania that is Black Friday doesn’t really make a lot of sense to us on this side of the pond (it’s so-called because of the spending frenzy that takes place in the US the day after Thanksgiving, which we obviously don’t celebrate here), the unstoppable sales fest has nevertheless found a firm footing in the UK retail calendar in the last few years.
As the Great British Public heads online in search of a bargain, it pays for businesses like yours to be ready for the strain the Black Friday surge in traffic can put on your IT systems. The last thing you want is to lose out on sales during this key retail period because your website suffers a serious performance issue or outage after crumbling under the pressure of a spike in visitor numbers – so what can you do to prepare your IT infrastructure?
Stress test your systems
Preparation for Black Friday should ideally begin with plenty of time to spare, giving you the chance to stress-test your IT systems to check they can cope with added demand. This gives you time to fix any problems before the big day, as well as allowing you to prepare a disaster recovery plan. If you’ve left it late, you can ask us for help. Stress testing doesn’t happen on your live website, but on a cloud version of it, and it’ll give you an indication of how much you’re likely to need to scale up your hosts and storage.
Private cloud is the answer
One of the most reliable ways to build the resilience of your IT infrastructure is to move onto a private cloud, which we’ve previously talked about in terms of the advantages of private cloud solutions for your business. This gives you all the advantages of the public cloud, but with the added bonus of dedicated hardware for your dedicated resource use. The great thing about using a private cloud is its ability to effortlessly scale up in the face of added demand – perfect for Black Friday mayhem!
Even better, if we increase your virtual server capacity you’ll have no extra costs to think about, up to the limit of the cloud infrastructure you’re paying for. It’s also very customisable within your flat monthly fee, allowing you to send traffic off to multiple servers and other clever things to help deal with the traffic surge. It’s best to have this in place before you’re likely to need the extra capacity, though we may be able to help you quickly leverage the private cloud as an additional resource if you need it.
Eyes on your security
Finally, don’t neglect your cybersecurity in the run-up to Black Friday. Sadly, ransomware and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks can be more effective and devastating when your IT department is distracted by the Black Friday traffic. Make sure you’ve got 24/7 IT monitoring in place to spot attacks, and ensure your cybersecurity solutions are fully up-to-date with any new security patches.
Here at deeserve we’ve been busy this week helping our clients prepare for Black Friday. If you’d like to enlist our private cloud solutions and general help with making sure your IT systems can take the strain, give us a call on 01509 808586 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll let you know how this Black Friday went in a future post so we can hopefully share more lessons learned.
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