Are Your Systems and Applications Ready to Handle Back-to-School Shopping Frenzy?

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It seems like the snow has barely melted in some quarters like Massachusetts, and the warm weather is barely upon us. But get ready – the back-to-school shopping season is just around the corner – in fact, some analysts say it has already begun. For retailers that sell online and the banks that process all those shopping transactions, now is the time to make sure your systems can withstand this increasingly important time of the year.

Back-to-school shopping has taken on increasing prominence for retailers, second only to the end-of-year holiday season. Some consumers still go for bricks-and-mortar shopping trips at the end of summer, but online buying is more important than ever. Consumers use the power of search to get the best price on what they need, and mobile is coming to the forefront.

With the 2008 financial crisis finally in the rearview mirror, U.S. retail sales are expected to grow nearly 5% during the core back-to-school shopping months of July and August, according to a recent eMarketer report. Retail ecommerce sales will rise 14.4%, passing the $56 billion mark to make up 16.5% of full-year retail ecommerce sales, according to the same report.

These strong projections add up to one thing: Retailers and banks need to act now to make sure their systems and applications can withstand the traffic and increased transactions. You don’t want to have to scramble at the last minute to ensure you are ready. And you don’t want to miss out on this hot season because you don’t have enough bandwidth or your database can’t stand the heat.

Here are a few things you should consider to ensure your infrastructure scales and responds within seconds in the coming back-to-school onslaught:

On-demand capacity in the cloud. Cloud-based computing capacity is a dream come true for most companies because you only tap the extra capacity when you need it – and you only pay for what you use. But eventually you will need a cloud database that can dynamically scale with your application needs.

Continuous availability. Modern database applications must run 24/7 even when hardware fails or maintenance is performed. But business continuity can be expensive and full of compromises. The solution: Access a cloud-based data management platform with guaranteed high availability, rolling upgrades, built-in data redundancy and disaster recovery.

Global data access. Today, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and enterprise applications – and their users – are global. These applications require local performance, data consistency and resilience to data center failure. A cloud-based global data management platform like NuoDB resolves these challenges by enabling you to distribute a single, logical database across multiple geographies.

Security. It’s not just shoppers who will be out during back-to-school season. Hackers and phishers will be active, too. Your data must be protected by the highest levels of security and in compliance with consumer protection laws. This need is ever greater during peak times like back to school.

Forewarned is forearmed. Upgrade your systems and improve your application infrastructure now for the back-to-school rush, so you don’t get schooled.

Lauren Gibbons Paul, a freelance business/technology writer and editor, covers topics from big data and analytics to social and mobility. She regularly contributes to various publications, including CIO, Computerworld, Network World and State Tech magazine.

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