L-R RapidSpike CEO Gav Winter with co-founders Robin Hill and Andrew Mason.

With lockdown restrictions across the UK affecting brick and mortar retail outlets, Black Friday in 2020 is set to be very different. Instead of chaotic scenes of shoppers elbowing each other out of the way for the best deal, we’ll instead see online shopping become the first port of call for bargain-hunters.

Unfortunately, where there are people in high numbers shopping via websites, the rate of cybersecurity incidents is sure to increase. Credit card fraud and stolen financial data are just some of the ways shoppers may be targeted this year.

Leeds-based cybersecurity and website performance specialists, RapidSpike, has been helping e-commerce businesses in the US and UK prepare for Black Friday for the last six months.

CEO of RapidSpike Gav Winter, comments:

“If shoppers have been putting off buying big-ticket items earlier in the year with all that’s happened, they are highly likely to be out seeking those bargains this Black Friday. We expect to see a surge in demand for e-commerce, particularly off the back of bigger discounts from retailers to entice spending and those who don’t want to hit the high street.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday may seem like just a few days and it’s over, but how a retailer protects and treats their customers during this time, can affect their reputation for many years to come. The last thing any business needs this year is to suffer a security breach and to have to inform customers of the breach and potentially lose those customers forever. Trust is very difficult to be regained in such a competitive time for online retail.

“The best approach to e-commerce security is a layered approach using multiple tools. Online businesses need to have security measures in place to both prevent and detect attacks. And if you did this last year, don’t get comfortable, as attackers are always coming up with new ways to disguise their techniques, so make sure you are analysing your site for vulnerabilities as well as attacks in progress.

RapidSpike shares advice for businesses to prepare for the holiday season, in this guide: https://www.rapidspike.com/prepare-for-holiday-season.

Which industries are at the most risk from cybersecurity attacks?

  • Fashion
  • Technology
  • Homeware
  • Cosmetics

What type of attacks could they be?

  • Ransomware
  • Phishing
  • DDOS
  • MAGECART

Gav Winter continues:

“Can your site cope with the Black Friday demand? Ometria reports the number of on-site visits from Black Friday to Cyber Monday was 150% higher than in an average four days on-site. Some sites have seen a 909% increase in traffic, such as ugg.com in 2019, according to SimilarWeb.

“The best way to prepare for this is by conducting stress testing to help you understand what is your website’s normal. The data you’ll gather from pushing your hosting to its limits will show you which aspects of your site are likely to fail. In addition to this, scaling up your infrastructure is vital to meet the increase in traffic. This could be adding more machines, or for cloud-based solutions, using auto-scaling and load balancing.

“Even with the best preparation, failures can still happen, so you’ll need to know if your website is running smoothly during busy sales periods and uptime monitoring helps you do just that. Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage at times like these, keep talking to your customers if there is an issue with your site and consider giving the same discount to customers who couldn’t access the offer on the sales day, at a later date.”

Black Friday in 2020 can be a successful and safe way to generate an increase in business and to earn new and loyal customers. So, it’s worth remembering the investment in your time spent preparing, will be returned later down the line.