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Cloud Can Avoid a Target-Missoni Mishap

BOCA RATON, Fla. ( MainStreet) -- Two weeks ago, Target's aggressive promotion of its Missoni clothing line, which included sales online and at a pop-up store in midtown Manhattan, caused such a flurry of activity among customers that the discount retailer was forced to close the pop-up store when it ran out of merchandise. The activity also crashed Target's Web site.

There is no way a large retailer such as Target (TGT - Get Report) should have problems like this, but nonetheless the crash happened, and small businesses relying on Web sales should take a lesson and prepare for particularly busy times or promotions.

Small businesses can avoid Web site crashes such as Target suffered recently by outsourcing Internet and data servers to cloud technology.

Mark Reino, CEO of Merit Mile, a communications consulting firm that describes its mission as helping companies grow, says small companies can have the same protections as large companies through cloud computing services.

Merit Mile works mostly with small to midsized businesses but has a few large accounts, including Microsoft (MSFT) and Citrix Systems (CTSX).

Reino answered a few questions for TheStreet.

Where did Target go wrong?

Reino: I think what happened here is, first and foremost, it's the classic 'Be careful what you wish for' ... the Devil is always in the details. It's the execution in those details and, from the consumer standpoint, the fulfillment of the promise. Clearly in the world of e-commerce, companies have the opportunity to create and deliver on an interactive promise. I think what happened here is they weren't prepared for the success that was ahead of them.

How can a small business avoid Web site crashes such as Target's?

Reino: This is the beauty of cloud computing. The solutions that are available for the multinational Fortune 500 companies are also available for small businesses. Consume as much as you can afford and have the ability to scale as your business grows.

Risk avoidance is oftentimes at the same level of priority as revenue generation and profitability. If you are in a business that relies on the Internet and the Web for servicing customers, you need to make sure those initiatives and those decisions from an infrastructure standpoint are solid and are not only capable of delivering solutions, but also affordable and scalable.

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