Part #2: How Cayan helps protect merchants from costly downtime

(This is part 2 of a 3 part series)

In the above diagram, the router is a single point of failure for the communication network between computers.In our first article, we talked about how Store & Forward systems can help preserve business continuity for merchants. In this article, we'll talk about high availability, redundancy, and other strategies for how merchants can help reduce downtime for their businesses and credit card systems.

A central tenant of highly availabile systems is to avoid single points of failure. A single point of failure (SPOF) is a part of a system that, if it fails, will stop the entire system from working. SPOFs are undesirable in any system with a goal of high availability or reliability, be it a business practice, software application, or other industrial system.

Systems can be made robust by adding redundant backup systems and/or contingency plans for all potential SPOFs, so that failure of a component does not cause the failure of the entire system. Even if the redundant/backup component is a somewhat scaled-down version of its primary system, a merchant can preserve business continuity until the root problem is resolved.

Merchants' card based payments systems have several points of failure. Fortunately, there are a number of steps merchants can take to mitigate against costly outages. In the case of a power loss, a backup generator or battery backup could provide service for some of the merchant's critical systems until power is restored. In the case of spotty internet connectivity, having a wireless backup solution - such as a Cradlepoint router - can provide 3G/4G wireless service until the merchant's primary ISP is back online. Other merchants might look at Genius Handheld and Genius Mini (bluetooth/headphone jack reader - coming soon) as potential backup options. These sorts of solutions support wireless & cellular networks and are battery powered. Even for merchants unlucky enough to lose their internet and/or power, Cayan's solutions can help merchants accept card & mobile payments, especially for merchants using a mobile or cloud-based POS.

We'll talk about Cayan's high availability architecture in the 3rd and final installment of our series, due out this Friday.