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What is Code Audit and why do you need it for your ecommerce website ASAP?

  • March 19, 2024
  • by Jasreet Kaur
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In 16th century China, medicine worked quite differently from what we’re used to today. Back then, patients paid doctors to keep them healthy, like a monthly retainer to ensure a pain-free and disease-free life. 

Today, we still (should) have an annual check-up with our doctors to ensure everything is functioning well and to catch any hidden surprises before they become problems. Think of your eCommerce solution the same way—it needs regular “check-ups” too, even if everything seems fine. 

Of course, nothing is completely hack-proof. That’s why it’s crucial to follow best practices and routinely perform maintenance checks on your systems. According to a report by CISQ, software bugs cost companies around $607 billion per year in the U.S. alone.  (ADD LINK TO THIS STAT) 

Regular maintenance and check-ups can save you a lot of trouble—and money—in the long run. So, just like with your health, don’t wait for problems to arise. Keep your eCommerce store  in top shape with regular audits and updates.

What is a Code Audit?

Let’s say your website is like a popular shopping district, bustling with activity day and night. A code audit would be like hiring a team of safety inspectors to examine every storefront, checking for loose floorboards, faulty wiring, or any other hazards that could put shoppers at risk. 

Similarly, if your application is like a busy transportation hub, ferrying passengers from point A to point B, a code audit would be like bringing in a team of engineers to inspect the tracks, signals, and trains for any signs of wear and tear that could derail the system. 

In short, a code audit is like giving your digital domain a thorough checkup, ensuring it’s running at peak performance and fortified against any potential threats. Just like you wouldn’t ignore a strange noise coming from your car’s engine, neglecting a code audit could leave your website or application vulnerable to crashes, cyber attacks, or other digital disasters. 

So, whether your digital domain is a bustling metropolis or a quiet country town, a code audit is your best defense against the unexpected – ensuring your online presence remains safe, secure, and running like a well-oiled machine.

What Does a Code Audit Include?

A thorough code audit covers several critical areas to ensure your application runs smoothly and securely. Here’s what it typically includes: 

  • Quality Review: Assess the overall quality of the code, ensuring it adheres to best practices and standards. 
  • Performance Check: Identify and address performance issues to enhance the speed and efficiency of the application. 
  • Scalability Review: Evaluate the code’s ability to handle increasing traffic and growing business demands. 
  • Vulnerability Scan: Detect and fix security vulnerabilities to protect against potential threats. 
  • Architecture and Tech Stack Analysis: Review the architecture and technology stack to ensure they are up-to-date and optimised for your needs. 

By following these steps and focusing on these key areas, you can conduct a comprehensive code audit that ensures your ecommerce store is secure, efficient, and ready for future growth.

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Signs You Need a Code Audit for you ecommerce store

If you’ve been experiencing performance issues, site crashes, or other problems with your ecommerce website that you can’t seem to pinpoint, it’s time for a code audit. Diagnosing your code now and addressing the root of the problem can prevent you from losing loyal customers due to security risks or slow performance down the road. 

Even if you think your site is running smoothly, there could be hidden issues or inconsistencies you’re unaware of. To determine if a code audit is right for you, consider these questions: 

  • Is your code consistent with right coding standards? 
  • Has the core code been altered in any way? 
  • Have you installed any third-party extensions? 
  • Are you using any customised extensions? 
  • Have you applied the latest security patches? 
  • Is there duplicate content on your website? 
  • Are there any unused extensions? 
  • Are the product descriptions in a proper manner? 
  • Are your Core Web Vitals up to Google’s standards? 
  • Have you checked for any issues in Google Search Console? 

If you answered yes or even “I don’t know” to any of these questions, it’s time to get a professional code audit. For your ecommerce business, it’s better to catch and fix issues now than to deal with bigger problems later. 

Ensuring your website is secure, efficient, and up to industry standards will help maintain customer trust and enhance your online performance. Furthermore, it will help you achieve your business goals.

When is the time for a code checkup?

When is the time for a code checkup?

Keeping your website healthy and secure in the busy world of online selling is a big deal. Think of regular code audits like routine checkups for your digital storefront. 

Here’s when you should schedule one:

Routine Maintenance:

  • Stay Ahead: Make code audits a regular part of your website upkeep. It’s like catching small issues before they become big headaches. 
  • Keep it Safe: Regular checks help spot and fix potential security problems, making sure your customers’ info stays safe.

Big Changes Ahead:

  • Before Big Updates: Planning a major revamp or adding new features?  
    A code check is essential. It helps iron out any kinks before you make big changes. 
  • Smooth Sailing: Ensure your updates fit seamlessly with your existing setup, so you don’t disrupt your customers’ experience.

When Things Go Wrong:

  • Fixing Glitches: If your site suddenly acts up—sluggish performance, strange errors, or worse—it’s time for a deep dive. A code audit can uncover what’s causing the trouble. 
  • Getting to the Root: Dive deep to find out why things went wrong and get your site back on track fast. 

Why is a code audit important for your ecommerce store?

Why is a code audit important for your ecommerce store?

Enhanced Security: 

  • Protection Against Cyber Threats: With cyber attacks on the rise, safeguarding your customers’ data is crucial. A thorough code audit identifies and fixes vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of breaches and data leaks. 
  • Preventing Financial Losses: Data breaches can lead to significant financial losses and damage to your reputation. By addressing security flaws early, you mitigate these risks and protect your business and customers 

Optimised Performance: 

  • Improved User Experience: Slow-loading pages and malfunctioning features can drive customers away. A code audit pinpoints performance bottlenecks and optimises code efficiency, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience. 
  • Increased Conversions: A faster and smoother website experience encourages visitors to stay longer and make purchases. Enhancing performance can boost conversion rates and revenue, reduce poor user experience, and enhance user engagement. 

Scalability and Futureproofing: 

  • Adapting to Growth: As your ecommerce business grows, so do the demands on your digital infrastructure. A comprehensive digital audit lays the foundation for scalability, ensuring your website can handle increased traffic and evolving business needs. 
  • Preparing for the Future: By identifying potential scalability issues early, you can make strategic investments in infrastructure and technology to support future growth and expansion. 

Compliance Assurance: 

  • Meeting Regulatory Standards: Compliance with regulations such as GDPR and PCI DSS is essential for ecommerce businesses. A code audit helps identify any non-compliant practices or vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of regulatory violations, fines, and reputational damage. 
  • Building Trust: Demonstrating compliance with data protection regulations enhances customer trust and confidence in your brand, leading to increased loyalty and sales. 

Cost Savings: 

  • Preventing Financial Risks: Data breaches, performance issues, and scalability problems can result in significant financial losses. By detecting and resolving these issues early through code audits, you avoid the expenses associated with data breaches, downtime, and emergency fixes. 
  • Long-Term Investment: Investing in regular code audits is a proactive measure that pays off in the long run. By preventing costly problems and maintaining a secure and efficient website, you protect your bottom line and ensure the continued success of your ecommerce business.

Common Ecommerce Issues Fixed by Code Audits:

  1. Locking Down Security: Spot and squash any weak spots that hackers might exploit, keeping your customers’ data safe and sound. 
  1. Speeding Things Up: Find and fix what’s slowing your site down, so your customers get a smooth shopping experience. 
  1. Making Friends with Devices: Ensure your website plays nice with all kinds of gadgets and browsers, so nobody misses out on your awesome products. 
  1. Growing Traffic: Check if your site can handle more visitors and bigger business. It’s all about making room for growth. 
  1. Following the Rules: Keep your site on the right side of the law by making sure it meets all the necessary rules and standards. 

By staying on top of your website’s health with regular code audits, you’re keeping your online shop in top shape—safe, efficient, and ready for whatever comes its way.

What Steps a Code Audit Include?

A code audit can seem daunting due to the sheer volume of code involved. To streamline the process and ensure nothing is overlooked, it’s helpful to break it down into manageable steps: 

Initial Code Review:

  • Get Acquainted: Developers start by familiarising themselves with the code’s framework and functionality. This initial review helps them gain a general understanding of the codebase and spot obvious errors or bugs. 
  • Quality Check: At this stage, the focus is on identifying any glaring issues that could affect the quality and performance of the application.

Detailed Manual Audit:

  • Stage-by-Stage Review: The team performs a manual audit covering the frontend, backend, and infrastructure. This comprehensive examination helps uncover deeper issues that might not be immediately apparent. 
  • Vulnerability Scan: Developers look for security vulnerabilities, performance bottlenecks, and scalability issues, ensuring the code is robust and future-proof. 

Comprehensive Reporting:

  • Document Findings: The results from the audit are compiled into a detailed report. This report includes all discoveries, along with appropriate remedies and recommendations. 
  • Actionable Insights: By documenting the findings, developers can provide actionable insights and strategies for improving the codebase, enhancing security, and optimising performance.

What are the common challenges for performing code audits?

  • Scale and Complexity: Modern codebases are large and intricate, making thorough examinations time-consuming and difficult. 
  • Evolving Security Threats: Keeping up with constantly changing security threats and best practices requires ongoing education and training. 
  • Coordination with Stakeholders: In large organisations, coordinating with multiple stakeholders and teams can lead to communication and collaboration issues. 
  • Resource Intensive: Conducting comprehensive audits demands significant time and resources, especially for large-scale applications. 
  • Issue Prioritisation: Identifying and prioritising numerous issues found during audits can be daunting, necessitating careful planning to ensure effective resolution. 

Despite these challenges, overcoming them is crucial for maintaining the security, reliability, and performance of software systems.

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Tips for a Successful Code Audit

Tips for a Successful Code Audit
  • Establish Clear Objectives: Define specific goals and objectives for the code audit to ensure clarity and focus throughout the process. This helps guide the audit activities and ensures that the desired outcomes are achieved. 
  • Involve Stakeholders: Collaborate closely with stakeholders from various departments, including development, quality assurance, and operations, to gain diverse perspectives and insights. Involving stakeholders from the outset helps foster buy-in and ensures that audit findings are relevant and actionable. 
  • Prioritise Findings: Not all issues identified during a code audit are created equal. Prioritise findings based on their severity, impact on the system, and potential risks to the business. This allows you to focus resources on addressing critical issues first and mitigating the most significant risks. 
  • Document Everything: Maintain detailed documentation throughout the audit process, including audit plans, findings, recommendations, and action plans. Comprehensive documentation ensures transparency, facilitates knowledge sharing, and provides a valuable reference for future audits and improvements. 
  • Foster a Culture of Accountability: Encourage accountability and ownership among team members by establishing clear roles, responsibilities, and timelines for addressing audit findings. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement and ensures that corrective actions are implemented promptly and effectively.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a thorough code audit is essential for securing and optimising your ecommerce website. It helps identify and resolve security vulnerabilities, performance issues, and code quality concerns, ensuring a seamless user experience and protecting your business from potential threats. At RVS Media, our team specialises in conducting comprehensive code audits to help you achieve peak performance and reliability. Let us assist you in safeguarding your online store and maximising its potential for success.