E-commerce has been the shining star of the retail economy the past few years. Online sales for many merchants have more than doubled, and in many instances, seen triple-digit growth or more, outpacing growth from brick and mortar stores and other channels. In fact, more than two-thirds of all Internet users bought something online last year, according to the latest figures from eMarketer.
Business-to-business, or B2B, e-commerce is keeping pace as well. According to ThomasNet's second Industry Market Barometer survey, e-commerce is one of three key growth strategies cited for the industrial manufacturing sector. Of 1,176 survey respondents, 71 percent said their online strategy is important or critical.
Unfortunately, the rapid growth in transactions, the complex nature of e-commerce platforms, and inherent vulnerabilities in systems, applications and networks has made e-commerce more popular than ever for attacks from cyber criminals. As a result, many companies are concerned about protecting their e-commerce operations from increasingly sophisticated threats while trying to keep pace with business and customer expectations.
Web applications in particular are getting more attention from criminals as a point of vulnerability enabling them to enter networks. However, companies often have a hard time finding the budget, staff and resources to properly manage their web application firewalls (WAF), or mistakenly assume their web applications will be secured by their hosting provider. Other companies are struggling to balance PCI compliance demands with overall security strategies, and finding it difficult to get funding for security projects among competing priorities such as backend integration initiatives and updated web content management systems.
E-commerce business leaders may also be tasked with launching and maintaining mobile applications and mobile websites, as well as related areas such as wireless network security. This further complicates the choices many organizations face in terms of where they invest security dollars.
These are just some of the challenges we hear about from customers. If you're an e-commerce IT leader, what are you seeing? Are you more concerned with web application vulnerabilities now than in the past? Is your company investing in security commensurate with other technology initiatives? Are you planning to use more managed services or SaaS-based solutions for technology and security needs this year?