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10 Tips for Handling a Major Outage (When Your Website Is Down on Black Friday)

December 9, 2020

If your e-commerce website is down due to a Black Friday major outage, are you prepared to handle it? Customers demand exceptional digital retail experiences on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and throughout the holidays. If your company can manage issues that can cause an e-commerce outage, it can limit their impact now and in the future.

Ultimately, we want to help your team handle major incidents. To accomplish our goal, we want to teach you about the impact of e-commerce system outages so you can effectively manage an e-commerce outage or even prevent one from happening in the first place.

Impact of a Black Friday E-Commerce Outage

Online sales are projected to increase between 17% and 22% in 2020, according to Deloitte. This may be due in part to fear associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which is driving more consumers to forgo brick-and-mortar retailers, and instead, purchase holiday gifts online. It may also be linked to the rising use of technology to shop from virtually anywhere, at any time.

Meanwhile, the cost of an outage — particularly on Black Friday — can be significant. IDC research indicates the average cost of an infrastructure failure among Fortune 1000 organizations is approximately $100,000 per hour. Furthermore, the average cost of unplanned downtime among these organizations falls between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion annually.

If your business experiences a Black Friday e-commerce outage, the damage can be substantial in terms of revenue losses. In the short-term, the outage will hamper your company’s ability to engage with online shoppers on the busiest shopping day of the year. This can cause your company to miss out on revenues — and lose these revenues to its rivals.

Issues That Can Cause a Black Friday E-Commerce Outage

Common causes of IT outages include:

1. Cyberattacks

Ransomware, malware, and other cyber threats are major problems for global organizations. If cybercriminals attack an e-commerce website, they can gain control of the site and shut it down.

2. Power or Internet Issues

A power or internet outage can cause an e-commerce site to go offline. This can occur if a company does not have backups in place to maintain consistent power or internet connectivity.

3. Hardware Failure

Hardware that is not properly maintained can cause an e-commerce outage. If a company does not have hardware redundancies in place, it is ill-equipped to stop e-commerce outages, too.

In addition to the aforementioned causes, there are several factors that can contribute to an e-commerce outage, such as:

  • Sluggish third-party apps and APIs
  • Graphics-intensive web pages
  • Failure to inspect website performance at regional and national levels
  • Human error
  • Poor infrastructure

Regardless of why an e-commerce outage occurs, it is crucial to act quickly to mitigate the issue. By leveraging a best-in-class incident management and response platform, your company can limit the impact of an e-commerce outage and uncover ways to prevent IT outages.

How to Use AlertOps During a Black Friday E-Commerce Outage

There are many ways AlertOps can help your business limit the impact of Black Friday e-commerce outages and other IT downtime that can occur during the holiday season, including:

1. Planning, Prevention, and Protection

Review previous Black Friday e-commerce website volume and system load and adjust infrastructure forecasts accordingly. Our platform enables businesses to Implement monitoring controls to ensure that they are adequately protected against cyberattacks. It also empowers businesses to track cyberattack trends leading up to Black Friday, ensure that third-party components correspond to various SLAs, and automate infrastructure configuration and quality control testing.

2. Continuous Testing

Perform e-commerce load testing, so you can see how your site performs against expected thresholds. Furthermore, our platform promotes ongoing error and vulnerability testing, allowing your business to detect e-commerce mistakes and security issues that could hamper its performance on Black Friday and beyond.

3. Early Detection of E-Commerce Issues

Thanks to AlertOps, your business can effectively monitor its e-commerce website. This ensures that your company can identify any problems in their early stages and mitigate them before they cause an outage. Plus, you can leverage performance, error, and log monitoring to verify your e-commerce site performs at top levels throughout the holiday season.

4. Immediate Remediation of E-Commerce Issues

AlertOps ensures on-call staff are immediately notified any time an e-commerce website outage occurs. The platform offers automatic escalations, so on-call personnel are automatically alerted any time an incident arises. This speeds up incident remediation — and reduces the risk of a prolonged e-commerce outage.

5. Major Incident Management

By using AlertOps, your business can establish a predefined major incident management playbook. This enables your company to identify who should be alerted if an e-commerce outage occurs and document the steps and processes needed to notify the right personnel during the incident. It also ensures on-call staff use the proper communication channels to keep in touch with one another throughout an e-commerce outage, leading to fast, efficient incident remediation.

6. Major Incident Management Playbook Automation

Along with empowering your business to establish a major incident management playbook, AlertOps can help you automate your playbook. After you define all aspects of your major incident management playbook, AlertOps makes it simple to automate major incident response. The result: your on-call staff can automate incident management and optimize incident response, even if a Black Friday e-commerce outage occurs.

7. Instant Implementation of a Major Incident Management Playbook

AlertOps streamlines the execution of a major incident management playbook. So, if your business experiences a Black Friday e-commerce outage, it can execute major incident management activities as soon as the incident is identified.

8. Automated Communications

AlertOps minimizes the risk of missed communications during a Black Friday e-commerce outage. The platform allows your on-call staff to keep in touch with one another via text, SMS, and other contact methods. It also automates communications, enabling the right team members to engage with one another until an incident is fully resolved.

9. Comprehensive Analytics

By leveraging AlertOps, your business can gain the insights it needs to prevent holiday season e-commerce outages and other IT issues in the years to come. AlertOps ensures your business can capture data and insights at each stage of an incident. As such, the platform allows your company to identify its incident response strengths and weaknesses and determine ways to improve its incident response efforts.

10. Post-Mortem Reporting

AlertOps delivers blameless post-mortem reports that enable your business to review details surrounding major incidents, including key takeaways from the incident, and what can be done to prevent related issues. You can use post-mortem reports to find ways to continuously improve your incident response.