In 16th century China, the medical world worked in a very different way than what we are used to now. Patients paid doctors money to keep them healthy, like a monthly retainer to ensure a daily life free of pain and disease.

Today, we still (should) pay an annual visit to our doctor to make sure everything is functioning well and that there are no hidden surprises lurking in our bodies. Think of your ecommerce solution in the same way – it too needs a “visit to the doctor” now and again, even if all seems well.

Needless to say, nothing is hack-proof. That’s why it’s important to follow best practices and to routinely perform maintenance checks on your systems. A report by CISQ found that software bugs cost companies approximately $607 billion per year in the U.S. alone.

Why is a code audit important for my ecommerce store?

People and businesses alike often take software for granted—it does its thing in the background. Software plays a massive role in the ecommerce industry and impacts everything from the efficiency of your workflow to your actual revenue figures and growth. After all, how will your customers complete their purchase if your systems are down?

We come into contact with various software made for endless different uses all day long on our electronic devices. It’s a bit like online security—when it works, you don’t notice it, but a vulnerability or a software bug that opens the door for a hacker changes everything.

Bugs in software emerge when you neglect to test and re-test your code regularly. Much like visiting the doctor when you’re well, it feels like a tedious task. However, routine code audits and cultivating a high code quality in your software can make or break your digital commerce business.

Let’s go through the basics of a code audit, why it’s important, and how you can implement this essential practice into the maintenance of your system.

A code audit is valuable and necessary because it

  • allows you to boost the efficiency of the new code
  • exposes vulnerabilities in your system and reduces security risks
  • ensures your code meets your quality standards
  • uncovers any bugs in your source code

A code audit allows your team to improve the quality of your source code, and reduce errors and bugs. This naturally boosts overall customer satisfaction levels, because the bare minimum that customers expect is a secure, working ecommerce store.

As an added bonus, a code audit also allows your teams to share knowledge and receive hands-on experience.

What does a code audit look like?

A code audit involves examining your source code to expose any bugs, errors, and areas that fall short of quality standards set by your company.

A code review is an essential step in the defensive programming model that aims to eliminate errors before a software release. Software audits and reviews include a comprehensive analysis of the source code and involve troubleshooting versions of the development processes in the initial stages.

A code review is a version of a code audit that is run before the release, while code audits should also be conducted at regular intervals after the release.

A software engineer is generally responsible for the completion of development, application, maintenance of software design and products, versioning, documentation, restructuring, and routine code audits.

When do I need a code audit?

We recommend carrying out a code audit annually regardless of your current situation. However, a few specific cases call for a prompt code audit:

  • You are experiencing performance issues
  • Your software product is outdated
  • You are making major changes to your systems

A code analysis is crucial for an ecommerce store. It confirms that your code is sound and your systems are safe and secure for your customers. If you haven’t had a code audit in over two years, it’s important to conduct one as soon as possible.

What are the common stages for performing code audits?

A manual code audit is carried out in three different stages: frontend code review, backend code review, and a review of the infrastructure.

Frontend code review: This phase includes examining the code that will affect the end user’s experience, including the speed at which the code requests files or loads images, or whether the code contains lines to make sure the application displays accurately across devices.
Backend code review: Developers inspect how your product interacts with other devices, and look for security vulnerabilities. At this stage, the code is measured by a standard structure and analyzed on a deep level.
Infrastructure review: This detailed review includes a wide array of your system, including software, hardware, processes, and responsibilities to make sure all is up-to-date and in accordance with your quality standards.

What steps should a code audit include?

A code audit can be an intimidating exercise, as your developers will have thousands of lines of code to pour over. To prevent becoming lost in the project, it’s recommended to use a checklist to break down the task into more manageable pieces to be reviewed individually. The following are three common steps to take during a code review process:

  • Developers should first spend time reviewing the code and acquainting themselves with the framework and functionality. At this stage, you should aim to acquire a general understanding of the code and expose obvious errors or bugs.
  • Next, developers will perform a manual code audit on the frontend, backend, and infrastructure of your systems.
  • Finally, the results from the team audit and the deep manual review are collected into a comprehensive report that includes all of the discoveries and appropriate remedies.

What does a code audit include?

A code audit may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Quality review
  • Performance check
  • Scalability review
  • Vulnerabilities scan
  • Architecture and tech stack analysis

What are some tips for achieving a successful code audit?

We recommend carrying out code audits throughout the development of a project, not only when it’s completed. This will save time and effort in the future and allow your developers to zero in on recent changes instead of attempting to fix larger issues at once.

Before embarking on a manual code audit, draw a document to define the scope of the project and assign specific roles to the developers involved. A checklist will ensure that all significant areas are reviewed and unnecessary work is not carried out.

Consider outsourcing the code audit process to get a fresh perspective on your code. Sometimes, developers may miss issues or vulnerabilities on their own projects. This also frees up your teams to continue their current tasks.

Key Takeaways

A thorough code audit is a demanding project that calls for collaboration between your development team and testing team with ample time to thoroughly review the code throughout your systems. However, the payoff is priceless; you ensure that your ecommerce store is working efficiently and without any lurking errors or bugs.

A code audit also serves to detect security vulnerabilities that could spell trouble for your sensitive data and data belonging to your customers. Finally, a successful code audit ensures that your code meets your own quality standards and maximizes the efficiency of any new code.

Vaimo’s ecommerce services are tailored to your digital commerce business in every way. From the smallest idea to a seamless global omnichannel B2B, B2C, or D2C solution, we’ve got you covered. Our services also include ecommerce security, development, and managed services. We can support your digital journey every step of the way, from the inception of your project, through strategic consulting, all the way to the successful launch and beyond. Talk to us today about your digital business needs – let’s grow your business together!

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