“We need an offline solution”. This is something that we have heard here at SCL a number of times over the last 10 years from Clients and Prospects. However despite these requests, we have still not built an “Offline” solution, and have no plans to.
We are not dismissing these concerns but we truly believe an “offline” solution is not the real answer to a loss of connectivity and in fact creates more problems than it will solve, even more so today, as the reliability of broadband services has improved a great deal over the last 10 years and continues to do so. The main three reasons for our hesitance to provide such an offering are:
1. Essential services only work online: Foreign Exchange Bureaus increasingly rely on external services to be able to trade, services ranging from KYC checking to prepaid card activation and taking payment, which cannot be simply or cost effectively recreated in an offline environment. Below is an example of some of the services our customers rely on, which cannot be used in an offline environment:
- Live sanctions checking
- Company-Wide AML velocity checks
- eKYC services
- Online banknote verification
- Prepaid travel and gift card funding and activation
- Credit and debit card payments
- Company-wide reporting
- Centralised exchange rate control
- Inter-branch or estate-wide messaging and alerts
- Remote authorisation requests
- Postcode lookup
2. The cost of compliance: Certification requirements such as PCI DSS and PA-DSS are a major effort and concern in an offline environment, you could find it extended to every office and computer used. PCI DSS requires hardware that falls under its remit to be kept up to date and the latest patch levels installed as soon as they become available. Targets for data theft are multiplied by the number of PC’s you are using as data is stored locally for a time in order to make offline possible.
3. Reconciliation headaches: Updates to your trading system are now also a lot more complicated. No longer is it a centralised update with little or no involvement from your internal IT team and branch staff, now every PC you use will need to have the latest update installed on it. In our experience this hugely increases time and effort of any update meaning you wait much longer for the changes you need for your business to move forward.
You also have the problem of what happens when you come back online. You suddenly face the risk of reconciliation errors with online and offline trying to get back in sync.
Introducing and maintaining an “offline” solution is a financial cost and considerable effort. It is also not capable of delivering the business requirements of a modern Travel Money business.
This is why we firmly believe you will be left wondering if the cost, for something you may only rarely need to use, is worth it.
Here at SCL we have made our internet access and infrastructure fault tolerance extremely robust (and some customers employ dedicated connectivity to our data centres) so that we can massively reduce the chances of it being us taking you offline. It is this same approach that we recommend to our clients. Internet connectivity is so cheap (ADSL lines cost just a few pounds per month) and the cost auto-failover switches start at less than £100.
Improving the tolerance of your network is the real way to solve this problem and it delivers on the needs of your business, something that an offline solution cannot do.