Create a Secure and Reliable Shopping Experience This Holiday Season From Homepage to Cart Checkout
For e-commerce brands, the holiday online shopping rush often comes with numerous opportunities. A seasonal window to gain the attention of new shoppers through discounts, drive higher conversion rates, and build stronger loyalty with current customers. This year, many retailers hope to maintain the e-commerce sales success they experienced during the pandemic, even though consumers are more wary this time around. That’s why ensuring digital resilience throughout the e-commerce shopping journey — from homepage to cart checkout — is even more critical.
While opportunities during the online holiday rush can be significant for retailers, so can the risks. A surge in online traffic to a site can translate into significant revenue, but a choppy user experience or a data breach can take it all away and damage brand equity for years. And unfortunately data breaches and unplanned outages are becoming more common. Bad actors and attackers often take advantage of the holiday season, knowing it’s a time when organizations delay security updates because they don't want to risk downtime during an optimal shopping period.
To prepare, retailers must be ready to detect, investigate and respond to issues quickly and accurately during the online holiday rush, whether it be a data breach or frozen web page. If not, they may lose precious transactions or, worse, find their customers will soon be shopping elsewhere.
A Secure, Reliable Shopping Experience is Built on a Unified Foundation
To foster a secure, reliable user shopping journey, retailers should seek out technologies that provide holistic monitoring of their site’s application performance, analyze risk, identify the greatest threats, and propose automated responses and remediation. This entails embracing an integrated approach to security and observability technology solutions. With unified tools across security and observability, e-commerce brands can obtain richer behavioral data about their customer buying journeys and system health, prioritize issues, and make decisions faster through smarter alerting and recommended remediation. This will ultimately enable them to drive a more digitally resilient shopping experience.
Increase Security Visibility to Better Understand Risks and Stop Threats Fast
To provide a safe online shopping experience across all customer digital touchpoints, a retailer needs security technology that will rapidly detect and eliminate potential threats. But to do this, they first need unparalleled visibility into their data and assets across their technology ecosystem. Security solutions that can ingest, monitor and analyze any type of data source — regardless of format, across on-premises, hybrid and multicloud environments — can provide the comprehensive visibility needed to more rapidly detect, investigate and respond to threats.
In addition, security solutions that offer features like risk analysis dashboards and risk-based alerting can help security analysts see through the noise of endless security alerts and prioritize time-sensitive critical incidents. Since 41 percent of the daily alerts an analyst sees are typically ignored due to a lack of available SOC (security operation center) bandwidth, this prioritization based on risk can help SOCs detect and eliminate threats before it’s too late. This is especially important during the holidays, when resources are limited and sites are experiencing extreme surges in online traffic.
SOCs should also seek out security solutions that offer pre-built functionality. Features like out-of-the-box correlation rules and human-driven and machine learning-based security detections can help retailers stay ahead of the latest threats. Pre-built security dashboards — as well as investigation and response templates mapped to frameworks like MITRE ATT&CK and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) — can eliminate the burden of manual security tuning and align investigation and response workflows to tried-and-true industry-standard frameworks. This simplifies security operations for the SOC, contributes to faster response times, and ensures that retailers don’t miss a beat and keep customers safe.
Step Into the Shopper’s Shoes Through Observability
Understanding the exact experience of any user is critical for fostering a seamless online shopping experience. To do this, a retail brand needs comprehensive visibility across their infrastructure, application, and user environment. Observability solutions can provide end-to-end visibility across data, context and internal workflows, so an e-commerce brand’s ITOps and engineering teams can find and fix problems faster and improve web performance.
Real-user monitoring (RUM) is a technology solution often found within the observability toolkit that can equip retailers with greater understanding and more granular detail of every user interaction throughout the shopping journey. Through RUM, retailers can reconstruct the user journey through video playback of interactions. This sort of deeper insight into the user’s interaction with the brand and their online shopping route enables retailers to more quickly and accurately debug issues that could lead to outages or slow page loads, and ultimately minimize any interference to the customer’s shopping journey.
In summary, retailers need unified coverage across both security and observability so that they gain increased visibility into user experience, faster detection of security, infrastructure and more context to accelerate troubleshooting. This comprehensive strategy enables retailers to prioritize the security and resilience of their digital systems so their customers can focus on snatching up those holiday sales without disruption.
Patrick Coughlin is the senior vice president of global technical sales at Splunk, a cybersecurity and observability leader.
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Patrick Coughlin is senior vice president, global technical sales at Splunk. He was the co-founder and CEO of TruSTAR, a cyber intelligence management platform that was acquired by Splunk. Prior to TruSTAR, Patrick led cybersecurity and counterterrorism analyst teams for the U.S. government and private sector clients in the U.S. and EMEA.