Cloud computing and data security are two trending areas of interest not just for fintechs but also global tech companies in general, as the ongoing pandemic has taught us – these are now top priorities for most industries and businesses. Adam Cason, Vice President, Global and Strategic Alliances, Futurex shares more:
Hi Adam, we’d love to hear more about you and Futurex…
Absolutely, and thank you for inviting us here. My name is Adam Cason and I’m responsible for Futurex’s global partnerships and strategic alliances. I’ve been with the organization for 12 years and am based out of our headquarters, just south of Austin, Texas.
To give a little background before we start: Futurex is a manufacturer of enterprise-class hardware security modules (HSM) and key management servers. These are high-assurance security products, delivered as on-premises appliances or cloud services, used to protect some of the world’s most sensitive data. PINs, credit card numbers, electronic medical records, PII, IoT devices, and more – all of these are data types that our products are used to encrypt and authenticate.
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A few of your biggest observations surrounding the changing payments landscape; especially how web APIs are redefining payments processes for businesses?
The increasing role of cloud computing in modern IT ecosystems is undisputed, but financial services organizations (banks, credit unions, FinTechs, transaction processors, retailers, and more) have been slower to adopt this technology than other industry verticals. Part of that is due to the inherent care and deliberate action needed when handling sensitive financial data, but another key aspect has been the prior requirement to run payment HSMs on-premises. Now that cloud payment HSMs are readily available, including through public cloud marketplaces such as AWS and Azure, organizations are able to fully migrate their payment ecosystem to the cloud.
Separately from that, we are also seeing payment application providers demand modern interface methods for connecting their tools and applications to HSMs. Most payment HSMs rely on legacy APIs that were first developed in the 1980s, which tends to raise eyebrows with new application developers, especially startups and FinTechs. Seeing web APIs for payment HSMs start to gain traction in the market is a great development, and I think it’s going to dramatically speed up the time-to-market for application developers.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on some of the most innovative fintech and payments solutions from around the world that you feel are set to redefine payments as a niche?
Where to begin? There’s so much happening in the payment space right now. I think one of the most innovative things I’ve seen recently is the incorporation of biometrics as an authentication method at the point of sale and ATM. That, and the emerging role that blockchain-based technology and cryptocurrency are playing at major banks and FIs. We’re seeing those technologies fully enter the mainstream now.
How do you feel the future of payment apps will shape up to look like?
It’s an interesting and fast-moving time for fintech and payment applications. Mobile payments are where we’ll see the most innovation, offering more capabilities for digital payments, mobile wallets, remote payments, money management, etc. Seamless and secure transactions are a priority for the ecosystem. With a cryptographic security infrastructure in place, financial services have on-premises, cloud, and hybrid HSM options — the elastic model they need for scalability, high availability, backup, and compliance — to handle payments from anywhere.
Seeing how the year 2020 changed the game for fintechs and tech startups due to the pandemic, what are your thoughts?
Three things are evolving:
Neobanks and digital-only banks are emerging and will become more of a reality moving forward.
The cloud. We’re seeing the cloud playing a bigger role. With cloud-based encryption and key management accelerating, we’ll see more payment processing in the cloud.
Payment transactions innovations on a global scale are heating up. We are seeing interesting innovations all over the world, from nontraditional and emerging players.
Before we wrap up, a few biggest learnings and tips you’d like to share with fintech and tech innovators and leaders?
It all boils down to hybrid: hybrid cryptography, hybrid payments, and hybrid financial institutions.
Technology is fueling payment innovation with a robust and flexible security infrastructure and APIs to make application development easier. This combined with financial organizations willing to push the envelope and an eager consumer base that demands convenience, paves the way for an innovative evolution.
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