It is critically important to perform a robust and regular due diligence review of the consumer community for many reasons and especially relating to the security requirements as it relates to the use of cloud services and tools.  This starts with the initial start-up of the community and then continues throughout the lifespan of the community.  This due diligence includes software services, hardware services and especially the security analysis, configuration and review.  All of these aspects of due diligence are important and the security aspect is especially critical because of the form and function of the consumer community and the requirement to secure and protect the consumer information that will be shared on the community.

Considering the impact and recent security breach events experienced across industries, you cannot address security plans and concerns as an after thought.  Security concerns and protection must be at the forefront of the development, implementation and maintenance of the consumer community.  Consumers are, or should be, leary and very careful about the sites they spend time on and the sites where they share personal information.  This means that clear and strong security and protection of consumer information is the cost of entry into this arena.  This also means that security of consumer information must be handled as a continuous improvement process in order to maintain your community with integrity and safety for the members.

The hardware and software services also require a high level of due diligence in developing your community because of your utilization of cloud services and technology.  The cost, and especially the initial startup costs will be much lower due to the utilization of cloud services and technology and that does not eliminate the need for careful review and management of the services.  In fact, due to the number of services and providers and the level change in the services and providers it means that you must spend more time in the selection and management process to ensure that you are able to maintain the level of service that consumers will demand from the community.

Another important aspect hardware and software you utilize in support of the community is the performance and availability, nothing will kill the community like a serious outage or continuous poor performance.  Everyone understands a periodic outage, however a continuous occurrences of short outages or an extended outage or general poor performance will spell the quick death of the community.  People in general have less patience and less acceptance of a regular pattern of poor performance or availability because they simply do not have the time to spend waiting and will simply stay away from sites that do not provide the access of what they want and when they want it.  Continuous monitoring and review of services and performance is quite simply a cost of doing business and a lack of this will kill your community.  Do not be lured into performing less frequent reviews just because you have just implemented a service, you must institute a program of analysis and review to maintain the required high standards of performance, security and services.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?