Africa seeks transaction security cost control

The African market is increasingly seeking more cost-effective solutions to the challenge of effectively securing electronic transactions, says Stanchion Payment Solutions.

March 26, 2013

The African market is increasingly seeking more cost-effective solutions to the challenge of effectively securing electronic transactions, says Stanchion Payment Solutions. 

By Max Gysi; Director for New Business at Stanchion Payment Solutions

The pan-African market is increasingly price sensitive, yet as its electronic transaction capabilities grow, it has a growing need to implement world class, cost-effective transaction encryption and security solutions suited to local conditions.

With Africa’s unbanked fast gaining access to new payment channels, connectivity booming and vast amounts of broadband now reaching the continent, there has been dramatic growth in electronic payment solutions being rolled out across the continent. But securing those transactions is critically important.

Security is top of mind for enterprises across Africa. Even a small breach can cost an organisation millions in direct costs and reputational damage. Therefore security and compliance are critical, and organisations are aware of this.

However, organisations are also becoming more price sensitive amid global economic downturns.

The feedback we are getting from our market is that the security on electronic transactions has to be world class, but the cost to performance ratio has to be good. Going forward, it will be increasingly important.

To secure transactions effectively, encryption appliances are used to protect transaction data. They need to be tamper proof to prevent fraud and loss.  With end to end encryption solutions, sensitive data must be protected from the point of capture, throughout the payment process.

In many cases, achieving this requires running and maintaining a large number of encryption devices and regularly travelling to the devices for maintenance. This can be time consuming and costly. In some organisations, a production site may be in one city and the DR site in another city – or even another country. The time and cost involved in travelling to manage devices make remote management capabilities highly attractive.

This is why we believe Futurex’s entry into the local market couldn’t have come at a better time. Futurex, a global firm specialising in encryption for secure transactions, is now represented in South Africa by Stanchion Payment Solutions. It comes to market with a 30-year track record of delivering secure, robust, compliant and cost-effective data encryption solutions.

Within months of its arrival in South Africa, three major organisations in South Africa and Tanzania have already implemented Futurex solutions – an indication that the market has been waiting for an industry leading yet cost-effective alternative.

The Futurex Hardware Security Module (HSM) generates keys and manages them between two parties in an industry standard secure manner. Futurex’s End to End Encryption (E2EE) solutions secures sensitive cardholder data from the point of capture, combining existing EFT standards with innovative algorithms to allow the PAN and track data to be encrypted without requiring any changes to message protocols or transports. The solutions are scalable, cost effective and feature remote management capability, which eliminates the cost of travel to the operational site.

In addition, Futurex devices operate at up to 8000 transactions per second, which means the number of devices necessary can be significantly reduced. Companies previously running 15 to 20 devices could therefore scale this number down to around four devices that need to be managed.

Because the solutions are highly scalable and updated via rapid firmware upgrades, organisations eliminate the need for regular hardware replacements.

With the arrival of Futurex in the local market, organisations now have a choice when it comes to world leading transaction security solutions. We expect to see significant growth in the year to come – both in South Africa and across Africa.