The unprecedented growth of the Internet and the phenomenal commercial opportunity it has unveiled, has propelled e-commerce to experience growth rates that have never been witnessed before. The web hosting features and resources required for e-commerce functionality call for uninterrupted performance, reliability, and data security among other factors. This is perhaps why we have all noticed the adoption of cloud computing by the e-commerce industry at an accelerated pace. However, not all cloud hosting service providers deliver services at the same level. This is why it is a good idea to conduct a quick assessment of your needs as an e-commerce enterprise when benchmarking various cloud delivery services and platforms against your needs. We present three important considerations.
Choosing a Cloud Hosting Company
There are several talking points to consider when you feel it is time to take your e-commerce enterprise to the next progressive milestone by transitioning to the cloud. Some of these factors and considerations may not come to you as a surprise because of the frequent press they receive. Others may be interesting enough to peak your curiosity. They are all, however, quite significant and deserve equitable if not equal attention as you plan the migration.
Access Speeds of Cloud Hosting Servers
Experts describe the speed of access to web pages as the single most popular reason why e-commerce companies pursue the cloud migration pathway. Amazon increased its overall gross revenue by 1% for every 100 milliseconds of improvement in the speed with which its flagship website served up web pages. Inferior access speeds typically lead to traffic losses which invariably translate into lost revenue. According to a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, page load delays cost e-commerce enterprises up to $117 million in lost sales annually. Shopping cart abandonment has also been linked to poor server speeds. Owing to its distributed computing capability, near instant scalability during peak times, and built-in redundancies that literally guarantee a zero downtime performance record, cloud servers maintain consistent access speeds regardless of how much traffic they are experiencing at any given point in time. This functionality is even more critical during the holiday shopping season in November and December each year when e-commerce activity is at an all time high. Many leading edge cloud vendors currently use Tier 3 a+ data centers to deliver optimal performance while fully supporting dedicated e-commerce applications such as shopping carts, inventory management software, CRM, live chat and help desk solutions simultaneously without any compromise to access speeds.
Security of Financial Data
Although traditional web hosting companies provide a level of data security that is industry compliant, cloud service providers have seemingly raised the bar through superior technology and self-governance. You will experience no difficulty in locating a cloud hosting company is ISO 27001 compliant. Many cloud vendors also achieve SysTrust certification. For credit card and financial data processing in a fully secure and encrypted environment, the cloud hosting company you eventually select should be able to design PCI-DSS solutions. It should use the highest level of SSL encryption available which currently stands at 256 kb encryption. There are several other data security measures employed by most cloud hosting service providers such as biometric screening of personnel, two-factor authentication, and IDS which are now industry standards in the cloud.
The Trust Factor
Customer perception has a great deal to do with e-commerce success. If your enterprise can communicate to your customer community through newsletters and email alerts that they will never experience down time, always receive access to your product pages at consistent speeds, and never have to worry about their privacy and credit card data security, all thanks to state-of-the-art 21st century cloud technologies, chances are high that your customer attrition rates will seldom become a cause for concern all things being equal. Share the credentials of the cloud hosting vendor you eventually select with your customers as yet another confidence and trust building measure. Educate them about the multiple layers of protection the cloud provides them. You are sure to experience positive feedback from your customers sooner than later.
Managed cloud hosting services provided by qualified vendors allows e-commerce enterprises to focus on their core activities related to the sale of products and services on the Internet while technology related issues and challenges are handled by cloud vendors. Moreover, the pay-as-you-go model facilitates improved levels of resource management and usually generates long-term savings. It is therefore no wonder that the e-commerce industry continues to experience unbridled growth worldwide. In a recent study published by ComScore, Q1 2014 saw desktop e-commerce spending rise 12 percent year-over-year to $56.1 billion, marking the eighteenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and fourteenth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. mCommerce spending on smartphones and tablets added $7.3 billion for the quarter, up 23 percent vs. year ago, for a digital commerce spending total of $63.4 billion in the first quarter of 2014.
Has your e-commerce enterprise finally decided to connect with the cloud? What are some of the other factors you will take into consideration as you plan a cloud migration strategy? We would be very interested in hearing from you about your experience so far through your comments below.
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