Payments outages a scary possibility

Does the thought of downtime in the busy, complicated payments system make your spine tingle?

Keeping the payments system running has always been so critical that elaborate arrangements of hardened perimeters, file back-ups, processing redundancies, frequent testing and many more such steps have been used to keep outages within acceptable ranges.

Today, as payment options proliferate, real-time transactions take over and sophisticated hacking becomes more threatening, alert credit unions continue to check their own shops and look for weaknesses in the overall payments infrastructure.

Operations planners must understand how all payment-related systems work and interact, suggests April Vuylsteke, director of global financial services at Hyland Software, Westlake, Ohio. Then they must identify where disruptions might occur, take steps to prevent them and plan to keep critical services working when disruptions do occur.

Test by simulating outages that trigger response plans, she recommends. And make sure vendors have protected and tested their roles, especially around payments; have agreements and service-level requirements in writing.


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