January 7, 2011

Stand-In vs. Dial-Up Backup

Last month we introduced you to a new feature we call Stand-In. If you didn’t happen to read that article, you can find it in its entirety here. The basic gist of Stand-In is that you are able to continue processing transactions even when Internet connectivity is lost. Since we released that article, many clients have asked us how Stand-In compares to other backup methods, including dedicated dial-up connections. Here is our answer:

  • Offline Mode with Stand-In Mode is fast – it’s almost instantaneous once engaged. With a dial-up backup solution, you would need to wait for the modem to connect and transfer at the rate of the dial-up connection.
  • It is also completely reliable. You don’t have to worry that you will get a busy signal when trying to approve a transaction, which cannot be said of a dial-up connection.
  • Stand-In is secure. The data is encrypted and can only be decrypted once it arrives at the Shift4 data center. The UTG encrypts the credit card data in a one-way encrypted file that can only be used by the computers at our data center. Other offline solutions may store the information in plain-text, meaning that if someone where to obtain the machine, they would have ready access to the cardholder data.
  • It utilizes Shift4’s proprietary DUKPT with MTE and Assured Delivery technologies. Offline Mode with Stand-In is simply a method to hold the transaction securely if the merchant has Internet-connectivity issues. Once the UTG regains access to the Internet, the UTG takes the encrypted information in the offline file (which can only be decrypted at the Shift4 data center) and encrypts it again using DUKPT with MTE before transferring the data using Assured Delivery.
  • Stand-In offers considerable cost savings over a dial-up backup solution. In fact, it’s essentially free. Offline Mode with Stand-In Mode is a standard part of the UTG and is provided at no extra cost to the merchant. (Compare that to having to pay for additional phone lines or Internet providers and the value becomes instantly apparent.)
  • Like all Shift4 products, Stand-In is flexible. Offline Mode with Stand-In Mode has floor limits that are set by the merchant; this allows the merchant to set a level within which they are comfortable issuing the automatic approvals. The UTG can be configured to allow Stand-In authorization for low ticket transactions while still asking for a voice authorization on any transactions over a certain threshold.