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In the pre-Christmas rush, e-stores should upgrade their server performance

Many e-stores generate as much revenue in the month of December as in the whole of the rest of the year. Now things could be even better. Almost 80% of Poles are planning to do their Christmas shopping online*. However, firms selling products via the Internet should make sure that their technical resources are stable and that the performance of their servers is sufficient to cope with the expected number of website hits and online orders.

The increase in Internet traffic, including in the context of e-commerce, is reflected in the level of use of the Polish nationwide ATMAN fiber-optic network, which is increasing year by year. Maximum traffic on the ATMAN network in mid-December 2013 was 174 Gbps, whereas in mid-December this year it was as high as 240 Gbps.

The upward trend can be expected to be maintained in the near future. Poles are spending more and more on goods and services. At the same time they dont want to miss out on attractively priced offers. This is one of the reasons why they use e-stores, which very often offer lower prices than traditional shops. Another significant factor is the ability to easily compare prices for the same product in different e-stores. For firms that are developing their online sales channels, however, the pre-Christmas rush is not only an excellent opportunity to multiply their income, but is also a challenge. The rapid increase in the number of online orders means that technical resources need to be prepared to ensure that websites are stable and that orders are fulfilled without the slightest hiccup, says Robert Paszkiewicz, Director of Marketing and Business Development at ATM S.A.

How should this be done, and which matters require most attention?

Website always available

The owner of an e-store can ensure technical stability, including constant website availability, by selecting a tried and tested provider of high-quality data center services. When choosing a location for your website, you should make sure of the level of availability that the provider can guarantee. This is dependent on such elements as power supply systems, including backup generators with a reserve of fuel, and UPS systems.

There are providers on the market who can give an assurance of 100% availability of key resources, such as power supply. You should find out whether your supplier is able to satisfy such conditions in reality, and not just on paper.

Fast and stable network access

An equally important issue is very good telecommunications connectivity, enabling a web page to be loaded in a fraction of a second. For this reason, when choosing a data center it is worth checking whether the provider of colocation and hosting services also has a sufficiently extensive network infrastructure.

The ATMAN and Thinx Poland data centers, located in Warsaw and Katowice, make use of the Polish nationwide ATMAN fiber-optic network, as well as multiple connections to domestic and foreign operators, which means that we are able to guarantee uninterrupted connectivity between the servers hosting e-stores and the customers who place orders with them. Apart from the network itself, we also pay attention to our customers security, offering systems that provide protection against DDoS attacks, an increasingly common threat faced by website owners, said Jacek Krupa, Vice President of ATM S.A.

Solutions tailored to the customers needs

Firms that decide to lease servers at a data center should also verify whether the provider is able to start them up at short notice and guarantees an appropriate level of security. It is worth checking whether there is a possibility of selecting components so as to make best possible use of the existing infrastructure.

Such a possibility is provided by ATMAN EcoServer. This service reduces the risk of deterioration in the standard of online customer service, while also giving e-stores the possibility of dynamic and unhindered development (for example, the e-store owner can give up the dedicated servers after the Christmas period, without having to worry about what to do with any leftover hardware).

24/7 website monitoring

For firms developing their online sales, practical support can be provided by systems that monitor website availability and number of hits. When the system identifies an error of any kind, it sends a notification to an authorized person, such as an administrator. That person is then able to react so as to minimize losses. In e-commerce, rapid reaction is essential, especially before Christmas, when online competition is growing and everyone wants to use attractive offers to win as many customers as possible. Those shoppers who come across a website that is too slow to load or navigate will undoubtedly look elsewhere, taking their business to the sites competitors.

Security against uninvited guests

The stability of an e-store, and high levels of customer satisfaction, can also be provided by ensuring that the servers are secure against the increasingly common DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, where the aim is to flood all of the free network resources. A comprehensive solution includes both suitable network infrastructure and systems responsible for identifying and filtering out such attacks.

DDoS attacks are a real and constantly growing threat. Therefore, before choosing a data center service provider, it is worth making sure that it will be capable of neutralizing a possible attack on your server using the above-mentioned means of security.

Ensuring the security and stability of an e-store is neither expensive nor time-consuming. Leasing servers at a data center costs a few hundred zloty a month, and the service itself can be launched within an hour. This is important because the pre-Christmas buying rush is already starting. It is also a good idea to begin the new year with an e-business based on the solid foundations that ATM S.A. can provide, adds Robert Paszkiewicz.

*Survey carried out in November 2014 for the Polish Post Office.

is a Polish public company (WSE: ATM) providing innovative ICT solutions for business since 1991. Under the brands of ATMAN and Thinx Poland the company offers telecommunications services based on its own fiber networks and three data centers in Poland, with 10,600 sq m (ca. 114,100 sq ft) of state-of-the-art colocation space. Key elements of ATMs offer include: colocation and hosting, broadband data transmission and Internet access. In particular, carriers, Internet portals, traditional media and financial institutions may be found among the receivers of ATM services.

The company is the only Polish operator present in four of Europe's largest interconnect nodes: AMS-IX Amsterdam, DE-CIX Frankfurt LINX London and MSK-IX Moscow.
More information at www.atman.pl and www.thinx.pl.

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