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HomeBlogHow One Company Future-Proofed Their Payment Infrastructure: a 15-Year Case Study

Futurex Customer Case Study: How Electronic Payment Exchange Future-proofed Their Payment Processing Infrastructure

Future-proofing your payment processing infrastructure benefits you in two ways. In the short-term, you get the benefits of upgraded cryptography — more throughput, more functionality, new use cases, etc. But the real advantage lies in the long-term, when your infrastructure is not only powerful enough but well managed enough to adapt to shifting demands. After all, the data security field evolves as quickly as the pace of technology itself, with emerging compliance requirements, potential revenue-generating services, and new security risks on the horizon. As your organization moves forward, it’s better to have a data security system that doesn’t just react to risks but that proactively anticipates them, and that doesn’t have to be overhauled just so you can develop new products and services.

15 years ago, the payment organization Electronic Payment Exchange (EPX) worked with Futurex to develop a cryptographic infrastructure that would scale to meet their needs as they pursued ambitious projects over the next several years. This is the story of how Futurex helped them in their journey to become one of the most future-proof payment processors in North America.

Click here to download the full case study and find out how you can future-proof your organization.

Solution overview

Electronic Payment Exchange (EPX) is an international payment platform. They offer payment processing, acquiring, and backend services. For over 40 years, EPX and its parent company North American Bancard (NAB) have provided industry-leading payment solutions to clients ranging from small firms to Fortune 500 companies around the world.

In 2007, EPX was approaching the limit of how far it could scale its operations. The company recognized that it would need to increase processing throughput, streamline the customer experience, and roll out new payment services in order to remain competitive on a global level. After searching for an HSM vendor who could help them get there, EPX was impressed with the flexibility of Futurex solutions —including their broad range of functionality, ease of use, and streamlined integration options. As such, EPX decided to enlist Futurex to deploy a powerful and flexible on-premises cryptographic infrastructure.

Futurex provisioned EPX with hardware security modules (HSMs) and cryptographic management tools, which allowed the company to accomplish its processing goals while adapting to meet changing business needs over time. Throughout the 15-year business relationship, the sheer scalability of the Futurex solution — the ability to add both speed, power, and new functionality to existing products — has helped EPX remain future-proof in a rapidly changing industry.

EPX’s project goals

Compliance

While based in North America, EPX (as well as its parent NAB) operates internationally. As many international payment organizations know, this means EPX has to adhere to a vast number of compliance requirements, which tend to change in tandem with technological trends. Therefore, when designing a solution, Futurex had to be sure that compliance would not be an obstacle to EPX as they expanded worldwide payment operations.

Centralized management

In addition, EPX was searching for a new approach to cryptographic management. A distributed cryptographic infrastructure may comprise different cryptographic modules and dozens if not hundreds of applications, all of which may be managed by more than one team in more than one location. Setups like these may work in the short-term, but tend to create management headaches and lower efficiency in the long-term. In its quest to become future-proof, this was precisely what EPX sought to avoid. Futurex took note, and determined that cryptographic management tools would be necessary.

Single point of integration

In its effort to streamline the customer experience, EPX wanted to provide a single point of integration for clients to access their systems. Not only would a single integration point please existing customers, it would also help attract potential clients. Upon learning of this need, Futurex helped streamline the integration process to simplify (and improve) the experience for EPX’s clients.

Now that we’ve covered what EPX was looking for, we’ll discuss the exact solutions Futurex provided.

The solution: HSMs and management tools

Futurex helped EPX to deploy its industry-leading Excrypt series of payment HSMs. While Futurex develops and manufactures a number of general-purpose and payment HSMs, the Excrypt series are high-performance payment processing HSMs which EPX intended to use for their powerful virtualization and multitenancy capabilities, as well as their robust scripting and automation architecture. These HSMs, like all Futurex solutions, support all common and vendor-neutral APIs within the payment industry, including the RESTful web API. This made it much easier for EPX to integrate the Excrypt HSMs with its applications. Plus, with their FIPS 140-2 Level 3 and PCI PTS HSM validated security, compliance would never be a problem.

Futurex also provided EPX with the right tools to help them centralize their HSM management. The Excrypt Touch is a portable touchscreen that allowed EPX to manage its entire deployment from a single pane of glass managed by one team. The Excrypt Touch features a user-friendly GUI that makes it easy and fast to configure HSMs (including virtual HSMs), manage and edit groups, change parameters, and remotely monitor connected devices.

Futurex’s industry-leading cryptographic solutions have helped EPX stay ahead during their long partnership. EPX has since relied on three generations of the Excrypt series, easily upgrading as their business needs changed. Futurex solutions all share a common code base that makes them perfectly interoperable; integrating new solutions involves little effort. Thanks to its new Futurex-provided infrastructure, EPX has successfully future-proofed and streamlined its enterprise data security infrastructure. Now, let’s talk about the specific benefits in more detail.

Customer benefits and results

EPX immediately used its new HSM infrastructure to develop and deploy a first-to-market virtual terminal service, broadening its client base. As demand for this service grew, EPX scaled the processing power of its Futurex HSMs to expand revenue, all while using the Excrypt Touch to organize the project. In addition, the benefit of a single-vendor infrastructure – managed from a single-pane-of-glass – enabled EPX to implement a smooth HSM firmware upgrade to support new key blocking compliance requirements across the board. Later, when EPX needed to get their P2P certification, they were able to avoid compliance issues thanks to the preemptive compliance of Futurex solutions. EPX was also able to easily reconfigure and expand its range of cryptographic functionality upon acquiring a succession of subsidiary companies.

Business growth over the long-term

Futurex solutions have helped EPX fulfill diverse use cases while scaling to meet new and emerging challenges for more than a decade. Throughout EPX’s partnership with Futurex, its parent company went on to acquire 12 subsidiary companies. They took advantage of their newfound cryptographic infrastructure to seamlessly scale their HSMs’ processing power and functionality to meet growing business demands. In November 2020, EPX was able to take advantage of their Futurex-provided infrastructure even further. The company upgraded its HSM firmware to support new key blocking compliance requirements. It was a smooth process thanks to Futurex HSMs’ centralized management platform and user-friendly interface.

Truscott Lee, Director of Operations at EPX, summarized the partnership as follows: “Futurex solutions have ensured that EPX has stayed ahead of the curve in the payments industry. Their innovation and foresight have helped EPX grow with confidence.”

Futurex’s design philosophy is to anticipate emerging trends within the industry and build solutions that address them. Our solutions are designed for easy integration, broad compliance, and strong performance. During its partnership with Futurex, EPX has expressed appreciation for the excellent, 24/7/365 customer support of Futurex’s Solutions Architects and exceptional Support staff.

Click here to download the full case study and find out more about future-proof cryptographic infrastructure.

Want to learn more about how Futurex can help your company with its cryptographic infrastructure? Contact us today to learn more.

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Author Futurex

For over 40 years, Futurex has been a trusted provider of hardened, enterprise-class data security solutions. More than 15,000 organizations worldwide have used Futurex’s innovative hardware security modules, key management servers, and cloud HSM solutions to address mission-critical data encryption and key management needs.

Securing the world's most sensitive data.