StackPath's Speedy and Secure Content Delivery Network Helps Retailers Improve the Customer Experience and Boost Conversions
12.6.17 Ecommerce

StackPath’s Speedy and Secure Content Delivery Network Helps Retailers Improve the Customer Experience and Boost Conversions

By: Michael Senecal

The Crunch: Website experiences that make customers wait for pages to load can create frustration and prompt them to take their dollars — and loyalty — elsewhere. StackPath provides an optimized content delivery network to help retailers deliver a straightforward web experience that encourages conversions and builds brand allegiance. StackPath’s locally distributed network of servers is designed from the ground up with security built into the architecture, not bolted on like aftermarket products. Defenses based on machine learning are integrated into every StackPath service to protect sites from malicious attacks and secure sensitive customer data. The result is a seamless web optimization solution for SMBs and enterprises alike.

Customers expect the e-commerce sites they visit to work seamlessly, but data delivery hiccups, like slow load times, can lead to abandoned carts and shopper defection.

As the web continues to expand, pages have become more bloated than ever. Video consumption is growing, and mobile device use is also increasing — all of which can add up to a lot of time spent waiting.

Security is also a mounting concern for businesses as hardly a week goes by without news of a significant security breach. And as the Internet of Things (IoT) grows beyond computers and phones to cars, home appliances, and other smart devices, security threats will only multiply.

Photo of Ryan Carter, StackPath Co-Founder and VP of Security

Ryan Carter, StackPath Co-Founder and VP of Security, talked to us about how slow load times can negatively impact the customer experience.

StackPath offers a unified solution to the problems of speed and security on the web. As a secure edge services platform, StackPath offers a number of products including a content delivery network (CDN) that occupies a layer of the internet between e-commerce websites and internet carriers. StackPath works with brands to smoothly and speedily deliver content to end users no matter where they are or what device they’re on. And with security based on machine learning integrated into the architecture of StackPath’s distributed network of servers, websites and customer data are protected from breaches and attacks.

When Ryan Carter isn’t busy enhancing CDN security as VP of Security at StackPath, he’s a typical e-commerce consumer who’s experienced his share of slow websites.

“When I find myself waiting on things that I know should load better, I’ll sometimes just click away,” said Ryan, who is also StackPath’s Co-Founder. “The fact is, no matter what else a brand does to take care of its customers, if their site lags, they haven’t nailed it.”

As for security, Ryan sees threats extending beyond obvious targets like large enterprises down to SMBs and startups. “Attackers are starting to go after just about everybody,” he said. “Even at the mom-and-pop bakery, there’s still money there — thousands of credit cards. Small businesses are increasingly attractive targets.”

A breach can cause significant damage to a brand’s reputation. In today’s competitive e-commerce marketplace, security can make all the difference, and StackPath knows it.

How StackPath Prioritizes Security from the Ground Up

As a CDN, StackPath delivers speed through dozens of globally distributed points of presence — ultra-fast servers and switches that can transmit up to 100 billion bits of data per second. The result is data delivery in closer geographical proximity to end users, which decreases page load times and extends content availability globally.

“When I explain to people how our CDN works they often say that it seems obvious,” Ryan said. “And it is. Do you know how Google delivers its search results so quickly? Because it’s serving you content from probably a mile away.”

Add intelligent packet routing and real-time analysis to optimize the CDN architecture, and StackPath websites end up running noticeably faster.

Map of StackPath's global presence

StackPath helps pages load fast with a global presence that keeps data close to regional consumers.

Not as noticeable — but equally as vital — is the security built into the system. Patented machine-learning technology detects threats and aggregates data in real time. With each new point of data, StackPath gets smarter, and that intelligence is shared across every level of service.

“At StackPath product discussions, there’s always a security person at the table,” Ryan said. “Our mentality is: We need to be thinking about security in everything we do. So when we build something new, I’m involved in those conversations, and I’m giving input on ways to secure it.”

Ryan also believes that security needs to be built in at the network level for the internet to function efficiently. “If you try to throw security at a problem after the fact, it’s going to cost you more than money,” he said.

Encrypted VPN Secures Online Shopping and In-Store Experiences

StackPath’s commitment to security has implications for protecting the in-store customer experience as well. Encrypt.me is StackPath’s consumer-facing virtual private networking (VPN) solution enabling private connections on public networks, including wifi. A VPN provides a layer of protection for consumer devices.

“We invest a lot of time and resources into our VPN offerings because we want to protect people regardless of where they are,” Ryan said.

Brands are leveraging public wifi to assess customer dwell time in stores and to push content to customers shopping with a device in hand — researching products and comparing prices. On the retail side, StackPath plans to build VPN security into its core product as well.

“Upcoming, there are exciting new ways we’ll be able to leverage VPN within our other offerings that could further protect data on the CDN side,” Ryan said.

Easy-to-Use Tools Optimize the User Experience and Protect SMBs

Simplicity, support, and transparency are part of StackPath’s approach. Busy small business owners who may not be tech-savvy can compare prices and plans and order services without having to consult with third-party experts.

“We offer a set of easy-to-understand steps to help anyone get up and running with a CDN solution,” Ryan said. “You don’t need a whole staff of people to assist you.” An intuitive panel enables control of the entire portfolio of services and settings from any web-connected device.

“When we’re in a meeting with a prospect, and they ask questions about what we can and can’t do with our technology, we want them to have all the information they need to build out their own plans. We want them to know they can grow with us.” — Ryan Carter, StackPath Co-Founder and VP of Security

When it’s needed, however, support is available. In addition to ample online documentation and tutorials, StackPath offers 24/7 chat support and tickets for registered customers.

“A lot of online companies just use email for support,” Ryan said. “A lot of our customers find it refreshing that they can get on chat and have a customer service rep help them through a process.”

Transparency is another critical element of StackPath’s business model. Real-time data on system operations is available so that customers understand what’s going on with the network. Even incidents of degraded network performance are reported to ensure customers know exactly where they stand.

Ryan said StackPath’s commitment to transparency extends to the sales process, too. “When we’re in a meeting with a prospect, and they ask questions about what we can and can’t do with our technology, we want them to have all the information they need to build out their own plans,” he said. “We want them to know they can grow with us.”

Providing Resources and Mentorship for Growing Businesses

StackPath gives its customers everything they need on the technical side to get up and running. Brands can sometimes be so focused on products and marketing that they may not realize how closely positive customer experiences are tied to simple things like having a fast-loading, secure website.

And StackPath is committed to small businesses. The company has a StackPath Propel program that assists startups with free tools and consultation to help them build their websites the right way.

Firms accepted into the Propel program receive CDN services and one team Encrypt.me VPN account with up to five seats free for a year. They also gain access to StackPath advice on best practices, project management, and the challenges of starting a new business. In addition, they are provided opportunities to meet with representatives from other early-stage companies, investors, and StackPath team members.

The Propel program is just another example of StackPath’s dedication to its customers’ viability and growth, both of which it nurtures with its secure content delivery network solution that helps retailers turn prospects into loyal customers.