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How IT Pros Can Prepare For Cyber Monday Madness

  • As the leaves continue to change and the holiday season ramps up, shopping is at the top of everyone’s to-do list. According to the National Retail Federation, 48 million Americans plan to shop on Cyber Monday. Of course, for IT professionals, the rise in online activity stemming from sales on Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season can create troublesome network bottlenecks and downtime, and an increased need for optimized application performance.

    To help IT professionals prepare for Cyber Monday, SolarWinds polled its THWACK community of more than 130,000 IT pros for their best tips and tricks for managing the frenzy. Whether it’s using last year’s data to inform this year’s strategy, adding bandwidth and server capacity to manage the extra load or educating employees about online risks, these tips will help you successfully manage the increase in activity and provide their customers with the best holiday shopping experience. With this advice, you might even find a little time to do some shopping of your own!

    (Image: MicroStockHub/iStock)

  • Manage outbound traffic

    "Consider providing a rate-limited network. This means your own company employees can’t stream the highest-quality HD, but are still able to shop, surf the web, and stream reasonable quality video. This is a great way to limit outbound traffic in a functional and reasonable way. Of course, if you’re like me and work with a bunch of geeks, you know there's not much that is going to stop them from getting a great deal on whatever techno gadget meets their fancy for the holidays! Still, this is a good way to implement at least some network management and optimization oversight on one of the busiest online days of the year."

    (Image: Pablo_K/iStock)

  • Education

    "The best preventative measure for any anomaly is education! We typically start with a non-technical solution and have informal meetings with various departments to provide details of the impact and risk to our network during this 'holiday.' We use this time to address the risks of increased malware, viruses, social engineering, and non-technical scams that come with the season. Education equals preparedness."

    (Image: mirtmint/Shutterstock)

  • Double down on capacity

    "The more the merrier! We added additional internet connectivity at each data center in all of our offices this year. At each data center, we added ASA firewalls and now have multiple 10-gigabyte circuits with more to come. Additionally, we have increased the number of servers in our data centers to manage the increased traffic, which also means we need stacks and stacks of switches, as well. This year, our network bandwidth will increase close to 40 GB of usage. But now that everything is in place, it’s just a matter of monitoring in real-time and leveraging smart alerts to keep our team focused on the biggest issues for resolution."

    (Image: iStock)

  • Review past Cyber Mondays

    "Our tried-and-true strategy is to assess our previous performance from last year’s logs and determine if anything needs to be upgraded. We can access our data from the last year, which includes storage utilization, memory, and CPU utility. This year, we’ve been able to determine that our 10-gigabyte links were not maxed out, so fortunately, our core network is still reliable. Everything looks good and we even tested our failover solution as well, just in case."

    (Image: Marco_Pinunit/iStock)