September 13, 2012, 11:52 AM

Motorcycle Superstore drives away attack traffic without slowing down its site

The e-retailer uses a number of Akamai tools.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

Motorcycle Superstore Inc. had a problem. The tool it was using to drive away potential security threats wasn’t working. Or rather, it worked, but it slowed down the site so much that it made running reports nearly impossible, says Jason Miller, the retailer’s vice president of technology.

When the retailer decided to look for an alternative its aim was to protect its brand from attacks, as well as to protect its customers’ data.

The retailer turned to Akamai Technologies’ Web Application Firewall and SiteShield services, which offer customizable tools that guard against everything from denial of service attacks, in which criminals take control of many consumers’ computers and flood web sites with traffic, making them inaccessible to legitimate users,  to other attacks in which criminals compromise web sites and steal customer account data. The services enable Miller to tweak the application’s rules to fit its business.

Unlike the tools it was previously using, Motorcycle Superstore could run event logging, reporting and auditing reports without suffering ill effects on its site. Monitoring the site’s traffic, Miller found that up to 10% of the site’s traffic was stopped because it violated the retailer’s firewall rules, which meant some legitimate consumers couldn’t access the site. With that knowledge, he adjusted the tool’s rules.  “I can adjust rules on a granular level, which provides me with more options to block unwanted traffic,” he says.

“Akamai Web Application Firewall helps ensure the highest level of application security and allows us to maintain our PCI compliance,” he says. PCI, shorthand for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is a set of rules created by payment card networks designed to protect cardholder data.

The retailer also leveraged Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator, which boosted the site’s performance even with its more stringent attack-prevention tool. The tool also reduced the site’s bandwidth costs associated with handling attack traffic by nearly 10%.

Motorcycle Superstore, No. 186 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also used Akamai’s Aqua Mobile Accelerator tool to boost the performance of its mobile site. Since it began using the service, the retailer’s mobile site loads more quickly, which has helped boost mobile sales roughly 200%, says Miller.

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