As a small business owner, you may anticipate high volume sales for the holiday season. While the peak retail season often brings in more income that the rest of the year, the huge influx of data can cause security problems for the small business. Here are some suggestions for handling this increased demand for data processing and security during the holidays.
You probably selected your server services when you first established your business’s online presence. At the time, it is most likely that you selected services that could expand as your business grew.
In anticipation of the holiday rush, check with your server to make sure it can handle increased traffic. The last thing you need during the heaviest sales season of the year is for your website to go down. You will not only lose formerly loyal customers, you will drive away new customers. The lost revenue alone can be devastating to your business.
According to Greenhouse Data, there are typically three different actions you can take to handle increased traffic during the holiday season.
The first is to assign your own IT department the task of selecting, purchasing and setting up additional servers. These servers will pitch in during peak traffic times, protecting your business and your customers’ data. The negative side of this strategy is that you are out a great deal of expense for seasonal traffic. These servers then sit unused, or online and unused, for the majority of the year.
The second solution is to, quite simply, do nothing. You just hope that your server will be able to handle the traffic. This, of course, can result in chaos and lost sales.
The third solution is to pull the marketing campaign that has caused this increase in sales. In effect, you stop trying to sell your product. No business person wants to abandon a winning sales campaign, and it would be a shame to abandon a successful sales season just because your server cannot keep up with the traffic.
The answer to this shortcoming, according to Greenhouse Data, will most likely be found in cloud computing.
With cloud computing, you do not have to purchase, service, or maintain any hardware. The data center maintains the hardware, and you can access it as needed. As Greenhouse Data says:
“There’s infinite scalability with the cloud so traffic increases should never negatively affect your web server or cripple your business.”
In addition to ready access during the holiday rush, Imagine It also says there are other benefits to temporary use of cloud servers. One of these benefits is that use of cloud servers allow you to pay only for the server space and service when you use it. Basically, you are renting server space.
This propels the small business into competition with big businesses. By reducing the capital expense of safely running a business, the small business person can keep a larger share of the market.
Other benefits of cloud computing is increased access to:
- Backup systems
- Disaster recovery
- Improved efficiency
- Management features
Improved Customer Service
Your customers will not want to wait for answers to their questions or to place their orders. When they enter their credit card information, they do not want the system to crash or refuse to accept information.
With cloud computing, you have the efficiency of customer service that you need for increased volume. In addition, it is quickly implemented, even on a budget. This means that you can upgrade your computer service much sooner than you could have in the past. You also will not have to assign your IT employees to training sessions.
The cloud provides regular backups of all of your data, and has its own disaster recovery system that will transfer computing to a working server should something catastrophic happen. Customers who live in areas prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, blizzards, or other weather conditions that can make them lose power can still continue to do business online. This is because the cloud servers are remote, and independent of your own local business power lines.
There is no reason for your small business to resort to drastic measures during the holidays. With cloud computing, you and your customers can be secure in all data transfers and financial transactions. And, you can continue making those sales that will put you in the black for the accounting year.