At mx51, we provide a white-labelled platform as a service to payment facilitators around the world. Our Head of Architecture, Patrick Ellul outlines the bank-grade qualities that contribute towards a technical platform of the highest grade.
Our platform is reliable and resilient as we ensure automatic failover so that when the system detects that a component is failing, it is automatically replaced by a new one.
Our platform needs to be available to our users all the time and under various conditions. By decoupling sub-systems so that if one fails, it does not have an impact on the rest of the platform, this results in graceful degradation. We ensure there is no single point of failure by introducing multiple instances of components.
Security is of utmost importance to banks who need to protect their reputation and the valuable data they hold. By far the worst thing that can happen is a data breach which is when unauthorised entities get access to any data owned by the bank and on behalf of their customers. This can result in customers losing their money or identity.
Another type of malicious attack that can compromise a banks’ reputation is a denial of service attack whereby malicious entities use various techniques to bring the target platform offline. To deliver bank grade security, we ensure multiple tools and processes in place at all layers of abstraction starting with employee and customer awareness and education.
Scalability is the property of the system that enables an increase or decrease in its capacity based on the number of users and how they’re using the system. Scalability makes the system cost effective to run but most importantly makes sure that big spikes in traffic, even when unexpected, can be handled without impacting the users.
Related to scalability is Performance. Many of our users are busy merchants going on about their daily business and we don’t like to keep them waiting, whether that’s taking a payment, loading a report or changing their settings.
Load tests are important to benchmark how long it takes for our users to do what they need to do. Every millisecond counts and may make a difference between making a sale or a customer drop off. Stress tests make sure we can handle bursts in usage whether that’s because of the morning coffee rush or because of Boxing Day sales.
Finally, soak tests make sure that our system can handle average load without resources getting saturated. All these tests make sure that there is no performance degradation under such conditions.
The ability to measure, log and therefore monitor and raise alerts allows us to track whether our system is performing well, or whether something is not working as expected. It also allows us to measure the impact (improvement or degradation) of any change in our platform.
Our platform can be deployed for different payment providers in different countries and legislations. These providers may have different compliance requirements and preferred cloud vendors which we can cater to. We also integrate with bank systems to various degrees, whether that’s for data exchange or encryption key management.
The data aspect of our platform, at a high level has two purposes. The first is around state, for example the state of a financial transaction as it flows through the multiple systems including 3rd parties.
Data Integrity takes conscious effort at the design stage and also requires the ability to audit how a record has changed over time. Secondly, we also collect data, a lot of it. In addition to business intelligence, we also use this data to inform product and engineering decisions.
Our platform is also designed to be product friendly and engineering friendly. We need to be able to launch new features and products fast. This is achieved with a modular and testable architecture. We value being able to deploy new and upgrade existing components multiple times a day without causing any downtime or errors.
Establishing automated workflows including automated testing makes this possible. Finally, we use a modern tech stack to attract the best engineers and empower them to identify and implement ways to improve our platform.
Want to learn more about how our bank-grade platform can help your business? Get in touch.