SolarWinds: The importance of fast and secure web performance

Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds, discusses the importance of continuous, fast, and secure web performance for gaming companies.

Today, the U.K. gaming industry is worth a staggering £5.7 billion. And thanks to the massive success of games like Fortnite, this is showing no sign of slowing down. In fact, by 2022, the global gaming industry is set to reach $235 billion—so gaming companies need to be operating as effectively as possible to ensure they can reap in the rewards of this lucrative market.

With the stakes so high—and with an online global community of around 700 million and counting—performance within the game and on the webpage is of utmost importance. Because when web performance is lacking, it’s the gamer who suffers latency issues. This not only hampers their user experience but also risks the quality of their own performance in the game or locks them out of the game completely. And in the gaming world, winning matters. Recently, a teenager in the U.S. won $3 million at a video game tournament for the Fortnite World Cup—so, a lot is on the line.

The application delivery teams are responsible for keeping the site moving. They’re often faced with the continuous task of fixing unexpected issues such as spikes in traffic and slow loading times as quickly as possible, before they cause a greater issue and force frustrated gamers to leave the site for another. It’s crucial for the team to ensure a strong and consistent performance, or the issue could spread through the database and infrastructure, and it could be game over. So, what can be done to ensure a seamless user experience without interruption?

Maintain the Player’s Attention

Continuous, fast, and secure web performance is vital for businesses today. If this suffers, the repercussions can significantly impact a brand’s reputation. The BBC, for example, lost 10% of users for every second its site takes to load. In addition, research by Google found over half (53%) of visits to a site are likely to be abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load.

READ MORE: Finances of Fortnite

Maintaining your audience’s attention is just as important when it comes to the gaming industry. In fact, the latest State of Online Gaming report revealed the performance of a game is as important as its storyline.

So, when speed and performance is everything, application delivery teams need to be on their toes, asking questions continuously. Is everything running at the right speed? How can we reduce latency? What’s causing the latency issues? By asking these questions and running regular tests, organisations can ensure quick loading times for gaming sites, as well as an improved bottom line through minimal downtime.

Finding the Balance

What’s more, the gaming industry continues to be threatened by security breaches. In the last 17 months alone, hackers have targeted 12 billion credential stuffing attacks against gaming websites, according to the Web Attacks and Gaming Abuse Report. Reasons for these attacks include the low-friction authentication measurements in place, and simple user passwords repeated across gaming apps can be easily hacked. A large sum of the gaming community is known to spend money to enhance their gaming experience. This can include special weapons and virtual in-game currencies which can make them a lucrative target for hackers, who will send their personal details on to the highest bidder.

When it comes to the gaming industry, application delivery teams need to find the right balance between implementing a seamless experience for gamers while also adopting a robust security approach to protect them, especially in competitive gaming, where the real villain is latency. An attack to the website could have an impact on the underlying infrastructure, and finally the game itself. Performing regular patch tests is crucial, enabling them to identify issues as swiftly as possible—and address them long before they become a wider problem hackers can take advantage of.

A Multi-Player Game

It can be difficult for application delivery teams to quickly and effectively spot anomalies on the site they’re responsible for. Visibility is key—the entire team needs to have its eye on the ball, 24/7. It can be especially difficult when members of the team are working different shifts and have little face-to-face interaction with their colleagues to keep them updated on what they’ve witnessed during their work hours. Web performance management needs to be a multi-player game; the team simply needs the right technologies in place to get to the next level.

With the right tools in place, problems can be easily resolved. Teams can be kept up to date in real-time on what’s happening across the site, while anomalies can easily be identified and resolved before they become a large-scale problem and cause players to move on to another game.

At the Heart of Gaming

To achieve the right level of performance in a secure environment, visibility needs to be at the core for IT pros running website operations at gaming organisations. In this highly competitive industry, with new games topping the app ranking charts daily, the audience might simply move on. With the stakes so high it’s vital for web performance teams to work together to ensure a seamless experience for their gamers, without any interruptions. Once this is achieved, the site will be winning.

SolarWinds are a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT infrastructure management software.

Sascha Giese

Sascha Giese is Head Geek at SolarWinds. He has over a decade of technical IT experience.

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