26Jun/110

E-commerce surges in the United States

e-commerce-in-cloud

The recent launch of Virtual Internet in the United States, offers a moment to pause and consider activity in the U.S. online e-commerce sector.

This is one arena that is perfectly suited for cloud computing, allowing enterprises to quickly scale up or down during seasonal spikes in activity.

According to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, the world does an estimated $10 billion of business online, including:

• Consumers pay their utility bills from their smart phones;
• People download movies, music and books online; and
• Companies, from the smallest local store to the largest multinational corporation, order goods, pay vendors and sell to customers via the Internet.

The Internet Retailer reports that U.S. e-commerce sales spiraled upwards by nearly 15% between 2009-2010, with sales totals reaching $165 billion!

The estimates are based on quarterly surveys of more than 11k U.S. merchants conducted by the U.S. commerce department.

Meanwhile Comscore reports that about 50% of all computers and 30% of all consumer electronics brought in the U.S. are now purchased online.

Further, 31% of U.S. mobile phone subscribers or 72 million consumers now purchase online using their Smartphones. Between March 2010 and March 2011 people visiting an online store from a mobile device increased by 90%. This is a staggering increase.

Being constantly connected, means consumers are also now decreasing time spent in stores, even for perishable items. According to Comscore, 12% of Internet users say they have bought grocery items online.

The E-Commerce Times reports that the average America credit cardholder carries 3.5 credit cards, which they are using to buy both large-ticket and small-ticket items. In short, this growing reliance on credit cards by consumers demonstrates the importance of protecting these numbers.
This makes the PCI DSS standards developed in collaboration between MasterCard, Visa and American Express a critical goal for all merchants involved in rising e-commerce activity.

“All merchants and service providers who store, process and transmit credit card information must undergo quarterly self-assessments as well as audits (vulnerability scans) by an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) in accordance with PCI DSS Scanning Procedures,” said The E-Commerce Times.

One interesting point brought up in the article centered on broad system protection, not just for databases, but other tools such as Sharepoint sites that house spreadsheets and documents containing sensitive data.

Bloomberg news reports that in 2010, "companies lost about $37 billion to online fraud or theft, and 8.1 million U.S. adults had their identities stolen."

Further, the same report suggests that the U.S. government plans to spend $56.3 million on technology aimed at safeguarding the online marketplace and those who operate in it, including consumers, businesses and government agencies. We recently published an interview with UK-based PalmTree which offers LiveEnsure, a cloud-based SaaS mash-up authentication service, which goes beyond traditional token-based services. Expect to see this technology become more prevalent over the next few years.

Research agencies predict that 80% of all e-commerce activity will be done in the cloud by 2020 which raises concerns regarding protecting data in virtualized environments spread over multiple locations.

And, security was the focus on recent guidelines released by the PCI DSS Standards body which sought to clarify security issues in virtualized environments that form the basis of cloud computing. Read the latest PCI DSS Standard's update here!

With powerful, secure data centers delivering private and and public clouds to enterprise customers, Virtual Internet puts a premium on meeting ISO 9001 and 27001 standards, all designed to protect and safeguard your data.

Our United States cloud centers are officially open for business!

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