Unplanned Outages Threaten Holiday Boon for Retailers
- Review the current monitoring setup to ensure full coverage of critical systems. Ensure that your operations team is the first to know about any problems, rather than being alerted to them via customer complaints.
- Map out potential failure scenarios and plan responses to each. In many cases simple steps can be taken to minimize the impact of each failure mode. For example, keeping a purely static version of your site which can be easily switched on in the event of catastrophic failure means that consumers will still see content rather than the dreaded "Internal Server" or "Site Unavailable" error messages.
- Implement test drills so your entire staff, including call-center, public relations and marketing teams, knows the right steps for communication internally and externally.
If retailers approach the holidays following the adage "hoping for the best, prepared for the worst and unsurprised by anything in between," their site should have a quiet and profitable season. Retailers can do a lot to avoid failures and deal with them when they happen, ensuring minimal impact on their bottom line.
Jason Abate is the founder and CEO of Panopta, which monitors websites, email servers and network infrastructure for thousands of customers in a variety of key market segments.