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Why the Conversion Rate Isn’t Always Enough

If you were to choose one metric to define your performance against your primary objective, which one would it be? Many people regard the conversion rate as the most fundamental metric for evaluating eCommerce efforts. But is it really enough on its own?

For an eCommerce website, “conversion rate” represents the percentage of visits to your website that result in purchases. For example, when you manage to turn 8 out of 25 visits into purchases, the conversion rate is 8/25, or 32%.

It can seem like an easy way to tell how you’re doing. But in this post, I’ll show some situations when conversion rate may not be the best way to determine how you’re doing, and you may have to seek out other metrics to see what’s really going on.

Problem 1: Website Improvements

Ecommerce websites often focus on displaying only the products they aim to sell. If you decide to create a dedicated section of your site where your visitors can stay informed about your industry or niche in a more general way, it’s likely that this change will increase the traffic to your website significantly and help educate users – both positive outcomes.

If an average customer used to make three visits to your site and one purchase over the course of four months (a 33 percent conversion rate), adding more content to the site might entice the average customer to visit more often – perhaps 15 times – but make the same number of purchases in the same time period (a 6.7% conversion rate). So, even though your online experience has improved and customers are visiting your site more often, your conversion rate is much lower because traffic has increased. This is an example of a good thing – more traffic – making your conversion rate look bad.

Of course, more traffic alone isn’t guaranteed to increase business, but it’s likely that over time more visits will result in additional or larger purchases, or prompt visitors to share your content with friends.

conversion-rate_graph2

Problem 2: The Revenue Trap

The scenario that most clearly reveals the shortcomings of the conversion rate as a metric revolves around a central concern in eCommerce: money. Suppose we had 200 site visits yesterday and those people made 30 purchases, giving us a 15% conversion rate. Not bad.

conversion rate_2graph

Today, however, we received 120 visitors who made 22 purchases, resulting in an 18.33% conversion rate. We’re getting better… right?

If you’re focusing solely on conversion rate as a metric, today’s results probably have put a smile on your face and prompted you to say, “Conversion is going up, this is great!” But in reality, yesterday’s higher purchase volume brought in more revenue, assuming there is no change in external costs. This means your conversion rate can go up and up and your revenue can still decline.

Problem 3: Promotions

Sometimes, promotions can briefly increase your conversion rate by enticing visitors to buy sooner. At the same time, though, your average order volume (AOV) may go down due to visitors purchasing products at lower promotional prices, and this will eventually negatively influence overall sales. So be cautious about offering discounts to improve conversion rates only temporarily, without boosting overall income for your business in the long term.

These examples show that conversion rate alone will never tell you if things are really improving on your site. You need to take other parameters into consideration to truly understand your business, and always look at absolute revenue numbers alongside overall conversion rates.

An Alternative to Conversion Rate

If conversion rate optimization is a long-term strategy for your business, revenue per visit (RPV) can become an important metric for measuring your business performance. RPV is a valuable way to invest in engaging customers because it highlights how much money a visitor entering your shopping cart brings in with each visit, helping you predict revenue and make better budgeting decisions. As with most metrics, it is preferable to filter extreme values from totals so that you will not be using skewed data.

While conversion rate is important, we’ve seen that it isn’t the only way to measure success online. Analyzing revenue per visit is one useful way to break out of the conversion rate rut. What are some other metrics you’ve found to be vital to your eCommerce business?

Why the “e” Dropped from eCommerce

From One-Off Buys to Long-Term Relationships in Digital Commerce

Forget e-commerce – digital commerce is here to stay. Analysts have recognized the change, officially rebranding their E-commerce coverage under the Digital Commerce name. The change makes a lot of sense, particularly given the rising importance of digital into the multi-channel commerce space.

The term “e-commerce” itself hearkens back to the early days of the web, when e- was an exciting new, hyphenated prefix, and pixelated shopping cart icons were a novel indicator you could make a rare online purchase. Times have changed, and now our terminology has evolved to match reality.

Setting the stage for digital commerce, Web 2.0 was identified as a motivating factor behind the shift to the e-commerce era. Savvy companies that understood the web spent their marketing efforts to direct people to buy online, rather than just using the web to send people to other sales channels. These web-focused companies won out and many have continued to succeed in our new digital era.

Now, digital disruption, particularly on mobile, has given people incredibly easy access to all the information and tools they need to make smart purchasing decisions. More than 70 percent of consumers use social networking, and people access their smartphones at least five times a day. Customer experiences now have to be carefully crafted across multiple devices and touchpoints.

Another notable change is that marketing teams are leading digital commerce efforts. In fact, marketing’s role in digital commerce has doubled, according to Gartner, with 62 percent of survey respondents saying marketing is critical to commerce success.

In addition, there has been a significant shift in buyer expectations. Buyers are expecting new ways to interact, try before they buy, and expect to pay-as-they-go – resulting in new pressures to manage revenue streams. It’s no longer about a single “e” channel – but now starts to encompass the entire business of commerce.

It’s only fitting that it takes digital commerce to provide the best purchasing experience to consumers on any channel, from online ads to email promotions to social media. As Gartner puts it, “Cohesive digital commerce experiences extend before and after the point of purchase, from targeting through retention.” Shopping online is no longer a one-off transaction, but a long-term relationship that flows throughout the web and mobile, going far past mere payment to establish ongoing interaction.

So what can companies do about the digital commerce revolution? As the buying process gets easier and more seamless for the end user, it becomes more complex in the back-end, for the vendor. A good starting point is to prepare a commerce blueprint that identifies all the elements impacted and enables a framework to manage this complexity. In other words, go beyond just “e”-Commerce to fully embrace digital commerce with a big “C” – across the organization and beyond – partners also need to join the digital dance, both by working with best of breed digital commerce solutions and adopting digital principles.

The journey has just begun, and digital commerce has subsumed “e”Commerce for good.

How to Sell More during the Shopping Season – Tips for Affiliate Marketers

With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, merchants, affiliates and shoppers are preparing for the deals frenzy that the shopping season kick off will bring.

First and foremost, the main idea of this post is never too early to start preparing for the shopping season and especially for Black Friday, so let’s get the ball rolling!

 

  • Decide in advance on which products you are going to promote  

If the merchants or networks haven’t yet made their promotions calendar public then it’s time you reach out to your Affiliate Manager to discuss about their upcoming offers.

You’re not yet sure the products you are going to push for Black Friday or December Sales?

Then you should hurry up and start deciding which your strategy is, whether you will push the traditional door busters, experiment with a new product, niche, or go with all at the same time.

 

af1 

Tip

Though looking at the statistics of your holiday’s sales for the last 2 or 3 years is not at all a bad idea, don’t be afraid to experiment with new products. It’s very likely that this time of year you discover interesting affiliate programs and new merchants pushing competitive commissions and deals to affiliates in order to get them on board.

 

  • Update your marketing creative base

Whether you are doing everything in-house or you are outsourcing it, take care that you have everything marketing creative related ready, tested and optimized. In function of the actions you are planning to take, this should comprise a set of banners and visuals for your websites, display, retargeting or email campaigns and/ or a new copy for your search ads.

 

af2

                               Email template For the Winter Holidays campaign – Ebates, December 2013

 

Tip

Make sure to have a coherency between all channels you will be using so that you will not be in the situation where the banners used for retargeting website visitors will be the same ones that you used for the Spring Clearance campaign.

 

  • Strategize your online marketing tactics & spending

Needless to say that starting this month, the internet users will start being bombed with commercials and promo messages on ALL channels available. Thus, you should evaluate your traffic strengths and budget and rationalize your online marketing spending in order push the most of it to that channel that helps you capture the best converting traffic.

Obviously all that will depend a lot on the profile of each affiliate marketer so if for example you are one of that publishers that gathered a large community on Social Media you should definitely look at allocating some extra resources in that direction. Sweepstakes, exclusive coupons and gifts redeems are already a must and marketers should be using their creativity and budgets for pushing them in front of the savvy shoppers.

 

af3

Tip

Take into consideration alternatives to the mainstream traffic sources. For example if you are usually running your SEM campaigns on AdWords, why don’t you add Bing or 7search as a less expensive alternative?

 

  • Start NOW

 Once you have checked the points above (or at least the ones most relevant for your business) get started, now, the Black Friday is on November 28th!

af4

 

Tip

Though the merchants deals may not yet be available consider giving the start with a teasing campaign. Create a Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas Sales 2014 page on your website, make it visible and invite your website visitors to subscribe to a special emailing list that you can then use for specific campaigns.

How to Sell More during the Shopping Season – Tips for Affiliate Marketers

With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, merchants, affiliates and shoppers are preparing for the deals frenzy that the shopping season kick off will bring.

First and foremost, the main idea of this post is never too early to start preparing for the shopping season and especially for Black Friday, so let’s get the ball rolling!

 

  • Decide in advance on which products you are going to promote  

If the merchants or networks haven’t yet made their promotions calendar public then it’s time you reach out to your Affiliate Manager to discuss about their upcoming offers.

You’re not yet sure the products you are going to push for Black Friday or December Sales?

Then you should hurry up and start deciding which your strategy is, whether you will push the traditional door busters, experiment with a new product, niche, or go with all at the same time.

 

af1 

Tip

Though looking at the statistics of your holiday’s sales for the last 2 or 3 years is not at all a bad idea, don’t be afraid to experiment with new products. It’s very likely that this time of year you discover interesting affiliate programs and new merchants pushing competitive commissions and deals to affiliates in order to get them on board.

 

  • Update your marketing creative base

Whether you are doing everything in-house or you are outsourcing it, take care that you have everything marketing creative related ready, tested and optimized. In function of the actions you are planning to take, this should comprise a set of banners and visuals for your websites, display, retargeting or email campaigns and/ or a new copy for your search ads.

 

af2

                               Email template For the Winter Holidays campaign – Ebates, December 2013

 

Tip

Make sure to have a coherency between all channels you will be using so that you will not be in the situation where the banners used for retargeting website visitors will be the same ones that you used for the Spring Clearance campaign.

 

  • Strategize your online marketing tactics & spending

Needless to say that starting this month, the internet users will start being bombed with commercials and promo messages on ALL channels available. Thus, you should evaluate your traffic strengths and budget and rationalize your online marketing spending in order push the most of it to that channel that helps you capture the best converting traffic.

Obviously all that will depend a lot on the profile of each affiliate marketer so if for example you are one of that publishers that gathered a large community on Social Media you should definitely look at allocating some extra resources in that direction. Sweepstakes, exclusive coupons and gifts redeems are already a must and marketers should be using their creativity and budgets for pushing them in front of the savvy shoppers.

 

af3

Tip

Take into consideration alternatives to the mainstream traffic sources. For example if you are usually running your SEM campaigns on AdWords, why don’t you add Bing or 7search as a less expensive alternative?

 

  • Start NOW

 Once you have checked the points above (or at least the ones most relevant for your business) get started, now, the Black Friday is on November 28th!

af4

 

Tip

Though the merchants deals may not yet be available consider giving the start with a teasing campaign. Create a Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas Sales 2014 page on your website, make it visible and invite your website visitors to subscribe to a special emailing list that you can then use for specific campaigns.

How to Sell More during the Shopping Season for Affiliate Marketers

With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, merchants, affiliates and shoppers are preparing for the deals frenzy that the shopping season kick off will bring.

First and foremost, the main idea of this post is never too early to start preparing for the shopping season and especially for Black Friday, so let’s get the ball rolling!

 

  • Decide in advance on which products you are going to promote  

If the merchants or networks haven’t yet made their promotions calendar public then it’s time you reach out to your Affiliate Manager to discuss about their upcoming offers.

You’re not yet sure the products you are going to push for Black Friday or December Sales?

Then you should hurry up and start deciding which your strategy is, whether you will push the traditional door busters, experiment with a new product, niche, or go with all at the same time.

 

af1 

Tip

Though looking at the statistics of your holiday’s sales for the last 2 or 3 years is not at all a bad idea, don’t be afraid to experiment with new products. It’s very likely that this time of year you discover interesting affiliate programs and new merchants pushing competitive commissions and deals to affiliates in order to get them on board.

 

  • Update your marketing creative base

Whether you are doing everything in-house or you are outsourcing it, take care that you have everything marketing creative related ready, tested and optimized. In function of the actions you are planning to take, this should comprise a set of banners and visuals for your websites, display, retargeting or email campaigns and/ or a new copy for your search ads.

 

af2

                               Email template For the Winter Holidays campaign – Ebates, December 2013

 

Tip

Make sure to have a coherency between all channels you will be using so that you will not be in the situation where the banners used for retargeting website visitors will be the same ones that you used for the Spring Clearance campaign.

 

  • Strategize your online marketing tactics & spending

Needless to say that starting this month, the internet users will start being bombed with commercials and promo messages on ALL channels available. Thus, you should evaluate your traffic strengths and budget and rationalize your online marketing spending in order push the most of it to that channel that helps you capture the best converting traffic.

Obviously all that will depend a lot on the profile of each affiliate marketer so if for example you are one of that publishers that gathered a large community on Social Media you should definitely look at allocating some extra resources in that direction. Sweepstakes, exclusive coupons and gifts redeems are already a must and marketers should be using their creativity and budgets for pushing them in front of the savvy shoppers.

 

af3

Tip

Take into consideration alternatives to the mainstream traffic sources. For example if you are usually running your SEM campaigns on AdWords, why don’t you add Bing or 7search as a less expensive alternative?

 

  • Start NOW

 Once you have checked the points above (or at least the ones most relevant for your business) get started, now, the Black Friday is on November 28th!

af4

 

Tip

Though the merchants deals may not yet be available consider giving the start with a teasing campaign. Create a Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas Sales 2014 page on your website, make it visible and invite your website visitors to subscribe to a special emailing list that you can then use for specific campaigns.

Avangate Discontinuing SSLv3 Support Due to POODLE Vulnerability

Recently, Google researchers discovered a major new vulnerability in an old SSL protocol that’s still supported by the majority of modern browsers. The seriousness of this vulnerability, named POODLE, has led Avangate to discontinue support for SSLv3 across all of our websites and services, after classifying the vulnerability with a high impact for our secure operations. At the time of this announcement, Avangate is not aware of any cases where this vulnerability has been actively exploited.

Two other recently discovered security vulnerabilities (the Shellshock and Heartbleed bugs) affected servers, while, in contrast, POODLE affects clients, or browsers.

Our decision to discontinue support for SSLv3 immediately affects users of Internet Explorer 6 and Windows XP, a combination that only supports the SSLv3 protocol for security. Internet Explorer 6 is no longer supported for some time in the Avangate platform development and shopping cart customizations.

As we explained in our blog post about the Shellshock bug, we always want to take the best precautions we can to protect security for as many of our users as possible. Analytics data show that just 0.8 percent of Avangate website visitors and less than 0.1 percent of Avangate shoppers use a combination of IE6 and XP, so this is not a large portion of our audience. IE6 and XP were both released in 2001, IE6 is no longer supported by many online services, and XP support has been officially discontinued by Microsoft.

Most major web services, including Facebook, have also ended support for SSLv3, so IE6 users will need to upgrade their browsers to access many other services in addition to Avangate. We expect that most modern browsers will also make updates soon to remove SSLv3 support. Along with this announcement, we’d like to remind everyone that keeping your browser and software updated to the latest version is a useful way to ensure your security online.

If you have any questions or concerns about this change, or need assistance updating your browser for security reasons, please let us know.

 

Ready or Not? – The New Role of the CTO in a Change-driven Business Environment

Strange noises fill the remote area you’re walking toward. A part of the building you’ve never been before, it’s full of unfamiliar symbols and signs, not to mention sounds – the incessant beeping and whirring. You’ve now gone farther into the unknown than ever before. Silent creatures scowl at you in annoyance as you enter the room, then exchange glances among themselves as if they know you don’t belong here. You curse yourself once more for undertaking this perilous journey, but you are in need of ancient knowledge, and only the Chosen Few can help you now…

The Realm of the CTO

A mid-sized software or IT company might recognize the above as a tongue-in-cheek description of a trip to either your internal IT or development department, both being the realm of the CTO and often a hoard of many little-known technical secrets.

I’ve worked in IT and software companies all my life, and I know that if there’s a question about a legacy product feature that nobody in the company can answer, or if you’re in need of information on undocumented server settings in your network, the CTO is the person to go to. But is obscure trivia about internal matters all the CTO is good for?

Excessive focus on internal processes and resources can create gaps between the internal technical departments and departments that are more market- or client-facing, which can be reinforced by a mutual lack of understanding. In this article, we’ll look at how gaps are created between technical and business teams, and why new challenges mean this situation needs resolution fast. But first, a little context about the role of the CTO.

CTOs – Children of the Evolution

In many mid-sized companies, the CTO has been with the company since the beginning, either as a decision-maker (founder, co-founder, or team lead) or an individual contributor (developer or administrator). In the early days, when everything in the company was still informal and steeped in startup coolness, things were done much differently than they are now. Documenting processes, code, hardware settings, and the like seemed less important. Members of the founding team expected to be around forever to share their knowledge.

As the company grew, more and more people joined the IT and development departments. Eventually, it became the CTO’s job to recruit and train new employees. To do so, the CTO had to let the new folks in on some secrets. In the process, the CTO transformed from the “Know-all, Do-all” person into what Amazon CTO, Werner Vogels, calls the “Infrastructure Manager”.

The IT Belt Tightens As Software Stakeholders Expand

These days, technology companies find themselves in a new situation. While the global economy has largely recovered from recent recession, it’s still a bit sluggish. As budgets are being reviewed, adhering closely to the traditional “Infrastructure Manager” role can lead to a CTO’s budget being cut, often to refrains of, “We can outsource this” or “We have to be more transformative”.

At the same time, technology development cycles have gotten much shorter, and there always seem to be more opportunities out there than what the IT department makes available. Every trade show, blog post and webinar about flashy new software tools increases sales and marketing staff’s desire to claim a piece of the IT budget, which in turn, reduces the portion that the technical team controls.

Take data storage and transfer. Historically, the IT department defined who could access what data, where it was stored, and how it could get from point A to B. Nowadays, there are so many easy-to-use services for storing and sharing information, it’s nearly impossible to name them all. Dropbox, Box, Yousendit, Maytech, Powerfolder, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, SugarSync – the list goes on and on.

These solutions look so simple and are ready to use right away, while your own IT department mumbles something cryptic about using FTP and PGP to transfer some larger files. Not only do you not understand half of what IT says, their suggestions take time to implement, while a quick subscription to Box.com offers a fast and scalable solution. IT’s apparent resistance to change can seem ridiculous, but, when in doubt about what the techies say, focus on a key term: SME.

You’re The Expert – Can You Handle It?

SME stands for subject matter expert. When you’re ready to hit the roof about an infuriating answer from your CTO or one of his or her subordinates, keep in mind that the CTO is a technical specialist. Your colleagues in development and IT are skilled experts in their fields. (Imagine making your CTO come up with the marketing plan or financial projections – that’s like a marketer trying to take over the tech decisions.) And when you’re working in technology, IT experts represent some of the core assets of your company. So when market changes are affecting your business, it makes sense to involve the tech departments in decisions. After all, if the technological foundation of your company is not built to support change, how can departments that rely on this foundation support it?

Recently, analyst firm, Gartner, stated that “IT has graduated from being a support tool to being a business enabling and business creation tool“. What does that mean? It means that there is a trend within technology companies for CTOs to move from a focus on internal issues like infrastructure management to a more holistic role that has clear impact on and responsibilities for overall business strategy and execution.

In the same vein, Werner Vogels suggests two other roles for the CTO that actively participate in what Gartner calls business enabling and business creation. One of these roles is “Technology Visionary”, and the other is “Big Thinker”. Vogels says the Technology Visionary is “responsible for determining how technology can be used to implement the business strategy”, while the Big Thinker’s duties encompass “advanced technology, competitive analysis, technology assessment, prototyping lab, partnering, planning, and architecture standards”.

In other words, CTOs should constantly explore what is happening outside their organization and not just focus on internal. New tools and resources require constant evaluation for their ability to impact the performance of the business, as well as their technical compatibility with the company’s existing systems and policies. Additionally, the development department (and, to a lesser extent, IT) should be encouraged to have an occasional look to the left (or the right) and analyze the competition’s approach and technology, since they are the experts and can understand other technology best.

This “new” approach (Vogels’ classification is from 2007, though it still stands to be adopted by many) goes one step further by giving CTOs the ability to move beyond participating in strategic business decisions and actually guide them.

Acquisitions, expansions, outsourcing, insourcing, change management, data analytics and formats are just a few examples of business decisions and processes that can have a strong technical component. Involving the CTO in these decisions from the start not only prevents a headache later on, but also provides another source of useful insights. And once the high-level strategy of a company is set appropriately, the CTO can determine which and what kind of servers, software, data center locations, database providers, and other infrastructure will make it happen.

A True Transformation

To recap: if you work in a technology company, change is the norm for you – change in technology and change in business. And the root of change often lies in technology, thus in the CTO’s area of responsibility. So if change is ahead, involve your CTO right from the start and let him or her make sure that readiness for change becomes a central element in the technology setup.

Some companies take the CTO’s role so seriously that the acronym no longer stands for Chief Technology Officer but Chief Transformation Officer. One example is the retailer Otto Group, where Christoph Möltgen has been in the position of Chief Transformation Officer since 2012. “A Chief Transformation Officer is one step closer to the business, Möltgen has said in interviews, adding, “The traditional IT-only-expert has served his time, a deep knowledge of the business aspects of technology has become indispensable”.

Nobody is saying that every CTO has to dive head-first into a competitive analysis right away. Nor should hiring companies seek out business skills in a CTO while neglecting fundamental technical expertise. Technology should remain a focus as you analyze where and how CTO involvement makes the most sense for the business side of your company – and feel free to involve the CTO in this analysis.

Modern businesses should no longer fear the domain of IT as a strange land filled with foreign creatures and indecipherable symbols. Business is based in teamwork. As the expert in all technical fields that concern a company, the CTO should lead the way in this area. But true transformation has to come from the organization as a whole, and it’s the responsibility of the whole management team – including the CTO – to create and maintain an innovative company, one where different departments are not foreign to each other.

 

Why I Love the Business of Software Conference

Disciplined Entrepreneurship = Spirit of a Pirate + Skills of a Navy Seal. This is what Bill Aulet, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management reminded us at the recent Business of Software Conference or BoS in Boston.

But what does that really mean? It brings back the age old debate of what is the formula for success for a start up – Is it the right idea? Is it the network and who you know? Is it the flawless execution and operating efficiently? Or is it really luck and being at the right place at the right time. The easy answer is that it’s all of the above. So be prepared. And disciplined.

Which gets me back to BoS and why I love this Conference.

BoS gives software entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed – not just the networking – but the real sharing of ideas of how to make software businesses better, sessions on how to manage growth, tangible workshops on operational and execution details. But I think the main thing it provides to the folks that come – is it helps energize or in some cases – re-energize the attendees and inspire the folks that attend. A good example is the note that I recently received from Austin Dimmer, one of Avangate BoS Scholarship winners from this year who traveled all the way from the Ukraine to Boston for the event.

I just wanted to drop a quick note to say thank you for having selected Effective Computing for one of the Avangate Scholarships. This year was really inspiring and well worth the long journey. For some reason I picked up more good energy than last year. Last year I came away feeling a bit intimidated by all these great people building great software businesses. This year I came away feeling “Yes, I can do this”.

Yesterday I received an inquiry from some very good investors. The type of partners I have been dreaming of working with for many years. As long as I can convert I see no reason why I can’t take my business to the next level. Onwards!

So to all of you, for all of your efforts, both at Avangate, BoS and fellow Scholarship winners.

THANK YOU!!

Best wishes

Austin

This is a good reminder to us all about the adage about inspiration and perspiration and how you need copious amounts of both to succeed as a software entrepreneur. At Avangate – we were again honored to support those who are fighting the good fight and extremely proud of developing solutions that help software and online services companies grow and build their businesses. We’re committed to supporting innovation through our continued involvement in programs such as BoS and our Scholarship program.

Photos from the Avangate BoS Scholarship dinner:

BoS dinner picsBoS dinner pics2

In my last blogpost, I mentioned building a software start-up is hard. I was reminded of this again by all the friends both old and new that I met at BoS, at our BoS Scholarship celebration dinner and by letters that I get like the one from Austin.

Yes, building a software start-up is hard. But BoS makes it a little easier.

 

Industry Buzz – September 2014

Hi sellers!

With summer winding down, it’s time to get back to business – the business of software, that is. As always, to read more, subscribe to our newsletter and be updated on blog and new whitepapers and webinars on how to grow your software and services business.

Here are last month’s industry resources:

Avangate Not Affected by Shellshock Bug

You might have heard about a bug called “Shellshock” that affects all versions of the bash shell package published before September 26. We wanted to assure you that the Avangate system and services are not exploitable by this bug, and explain why.

Avangate’s IT team has monitored the Shellshock bug since it was first identified, and we’ve verified that our systems aren’t vulnerable to it. That’s primarily because we don’t expose any of our endpoints to shell execution. We also lack the necessary conditions for vulnerability to the bug, such as web exposed scripts able to run the bash commands. Only a limited number of people have shell access for Avangate systems, and this access is for administrative purposes only. Any shell access is protected within a firewall, and is also subject to various process audits, including PCI DSS regular security procedures. All Avangate vulnerable servers and systems were patched once the patches have been made available.

More about the bug: The bash shell package, or GNU Bourne Again SHell, is a command interpreter used by many Linux- and Unix-based operating systems, including Apple’s OS X, and is also part of many other servers, PCs, and other devices including Network Attached Storage. The Shellshock bug lets remote entities control affected systems by inserting commands in variables. It’s classified as extremely critical with severe exploitation risks by the US National Vulnerability Database (NVD), with a score of 10 out of 10 for impact and exploitability (see CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169 for details).

At Avangate, we constantly monitor for potential threats from any source, and are confident in the security of our systems. This is a serious bug, and we encourage you to check your own systems for vulnerability. System updates are available from all web hosting providers to help protect your data, and we encourage you to work with your IT team to ensure you are not vulnerable to this serious bug.

If you have questions about this bug or about the security of Avangate services in general, please let us know at any time. It’s our job to make sure you are protected.

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