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4 Proven Strategies to Prevent Costly Payment System Outages

Steve Gilde May 15, 2024

Financial losses from payment system outages can be staggering. In today’s highly mobile, convenience-oriented, and always-on marketplace, payment system reliability is no longer a nice-to-have item; it is an essential requirement for any financial services company wishing to survive and thrive.

Unexpected outages spell more than just technical trouble - they can cause catastrophic financial losses, tarnish customer trust, and impact shareholder value.

Leveraging insights from the Uptime Institute's Annual Outage Analysis 2023, this blog explores the financial ramifications of payment system outages and outlines four key strategies to enhance system resiliency and mitigate operational risk.


Understanding the High Cost of Downtime

The Uptime Institute Report highlights the fact that payment system outages can lead to direct financial losses - sometimes in the millions of dollars - as well as significant indirect costs associated with negative client experiences and damage to your brand reputation. 

With the digital transaction landscape continuing to expand in both size and complexity, the risks and impacts of a payment outage are becoming increasingly more likely. This makes it imperative for businesses to prioritize outage prevention as not only a best practice, but a critical financial strategy.


Key Findings From the Uptime Institute Report

The report reveals that most outages are not the result of one-off anomalies, but stem from systemic issues like outdated infrastructure, human error, and inadequate fail-safes. 

Notably, the report underscores an increase in outages due to software bugs and cyber-attacks, highlighting these areas as requiring urgent attention. It’s clear that when it comes to the payment industry, comprehensive testing of your payment system must be an essential component in any strategy to prevent outages. 


Strategies to Improve Resiliency

  1. Infrastructure Modernization: Upgrading and maintaining state-of-the-art payment processing infrastructure is non-negotiable. Regular updates and adherence to the latest security protocols can significantly reduce the vulnerability to outages. 

    The importance of modern technology

  2. Robust Backup Systems: Implementing comprehensive backup solutions and redundancy plans helps ensure continuity during unexpected disruptions. This includes not only hardware and software components, but also business processes that can be easily followed and quickly adapted to address different outage scenarios.

  3. Regular Testing and Simulations: Conducting frequent tests to simulate outage scenarios helps identify and address vulnerabilities before they become client-facing issues. These drills enable your organization to fix problems before they impact the customer, as well as educate and train staff on emergency procedures - ensuring swift and accurate responses when real outages strike.

  4. Enhanced Cybersecurity Measures: With cyber threats looming larger over the payment industry, investing in advanced security solutions and continuous monitoring systems is crucial to detect and neutralize threats before they escalate into a full-blown crisis.

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Rigorous Testing Helps Protect Your Bottom Line

Remember, in the complex world of payment processing, downtime is always a risk and always a bad thing, so meticulous preparation is your best defense. By embracing the strategies outlined above, companies are better able to anticipate and prevent expensive outages before they occur. 

When they inevitably do occur, you can deal with the disruption as quickly and completely as possible in order to get your systems back online and minimize any negative impact on your customers and shareholders. 

Many of the systems and processes that were once regarded as robust and reliable have proven to be inadequate when responding to new and unexpected challenges from increasingly demanding consumers and sophisticated cybercriminals. A comprehensive approach to testing is a critical component in an overarching strategy to keep your payment systems safe, secure, and always available.

The team at Paragon Application Systems is also available to review your current payment testing strategy and provide tailored advice and guidance on how better testing can help prevent unwanted outages. Contact us today to learn more.

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