How online retailers can avoid a downtime nightmare

Selling online

Online sales have been an absolute boon for retailers as in-store revenues decline. Cyber Mondays and Easter weekends have in the last few years recorded phenomenal jump in online sales across the Western world.

In Singapore rising labour costs and high rents are common complaints among businesses. But even as these costs continue to put pressure on companies, a small but growing group of e-commerce companies are thriving as they cut out these cost constraints.

Giosis, the firm behind the online shopping site Qoo10, saw its transaction volumes double last year. E-commerce sales already makes up 15 per cent of total retail volume in markets like the US and Europe. 

Point being, more money than ever is being spent online, and big brands need to make sure they’re open for business online 24/7. That means bolstering their backend IT to keep systems and websites up and running.

Cost of downtime

Because imagine if the web site of an online retailer went down. It could happen for any number of reasons: natural disaster, an overloaded server, or human error. Your server crashes, your website is offline, and before you know it, you’ve lost millions in sales and your customers are spending their dollars elsewhere. It’s your Nightmare Before Christmas come to life.

Can you imagine if Amazon went down on Cyber Monday? Year on year Amazon has reported a growth of more than 40% in its online sales over the last couple of years.

Unfortunately, this hypothetical nightmare can be a reality. Many companies are susceptible to downtime because their backend IT environments are becoming increasingly complex and hard to manage -- with both physical and virtual servers holding critical data and supporting essential ecommerce and web applications. And only 37 percent of companies have IT departments that consider their data protection plans adequate in those complex environments. This is a legitimate problem for brands hoping to have a successful, stress-free online holiday shopping season with near-zero downtime.

To make things even more stressful: everything is a time crunch. IT used to have hours or even days to bring a server back up, but with today’s fast-paced consumers chomping at the bit, it’s essential to get systems back up within a matter of minutes.

Building a robust backup capability

This capability starts with a strong server backup and recovery system in place that can restore systems quickly and get operations up and running again. To ramp up your system in time for the rush of holiday shoppers, focus on finding solutions with the following benefits:

  • Freedom to choose. When you choose a backup and recovery solution, don’t get locked into something that only caters to a single type of hardware, operating system or virtual machine. Find something that gives you the flexibility to work with multiple types of technologies, and evolve as the technologies do. Otherwise you may be forced to manage multiple backup solutions just to cater to different types of hardware that’s used within your company. Don’t waste time and money investing in multiple products, find one that caters to all your needs – present and future.
  • A cure for complexity. To simplify the backup process, look to use the same backup solutions and policies for all your physical and virtual machines. This type of strategy will simplify data management, lower the likelihood of human error, and free up more time for you to focus on keeping your data protected. A comprehensive solution also helps free you from the risk of a complex patchwork of point solutions.
  • Good recovery speed. During holiday shopping season, minutes of downtime could mean tens of thousands of dollars in lost sales. New technology innovations like Disk Image Backup (which takes a snapshot of your entire system) enable you to recover servers with much more speed and frequency than the traditional methods companies relied on — up to 100 times faster. These image-based solutions allow you to backup and restore your entire system all at once, instead of using a file-based solution where you must backup individual files one by one. With the ability to quickly recover entire servers, IT departments can ensure their machines (and their critical ecommerce websites) have current and reliable backups available to restore the website quickly in case downtime hits.
  • Any-to-any recovery and complete portability. Today, you need to be able to recover data to and from any platform so when a system goes down, you’re able to run your websites and applications on any combination of available, working platforms. Look for a backup and disaster recovery solution that allows you to not just recover data but also migrate it to any system, whether it be a virtual or physical machine. This way you always have a quick and easy way out in a crunch.
  • Easy migration. If downtime occurs, you’ll need to quickly migrate all your data and applications to a working server to get your site back up and running. It’s essential to find a solution that let’s you migrate, without suffering any data loss.

So remember what’s really important -- a reliable server backup and recovery solution. If you plan ahead, focus on protecting your backend IT infrastructure and ecommerce abilities, you’ll reap the rewards of a successful online holiday shopping season.


Rose Old

Rose Old

Channel Business Manager at Acronis

I head up the channel business for Acronis Australia and New Zealand, which includes everything from distributors, systems integrators, traditional partners, hosting providers and MSPs. It’s a very diverse role but lots of fun – there’s never a dull moment. Acronis specialises in data protection through 100 percent software solutions. That’s been our core focus for all nine years that we’ve been in existence.


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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

Redundancy is never a bad thing for security and data integrity.