SecureCo Triples Transactions Per Second with Instant Visibility into Its Stack

Key Benefits

Reduced MTTR from hours to minutes

Cut the rate of P1 issues and the costs to resolve them

Saw a three-fold increase in transactions per second

Challenges: Differentiating between issues in the stack and downstream

Payments compliance is becoming more challenging around the world thanks to GDPR, new legislation, and rapidly evolving privacy concerns. As a result, payments compliance is a burden.

“If a provider can do compliance well and take that pain away from customers, they’re smiled upon,” says James Keppel, Chief Security Officer for Australian compliance-as-a-service company SecureCo. “Our mission is to take complex compliance issues and make them go away.”

In this case, Keppel’s team handled downstream payments from a call center’s detailed and rapidly expanding payment gateway. Integrated into the process was a tokenization service and close to a dozen downstream payment providers.

“AppDynamics’ most powerful feature is the ability to get up and running in minutes. That’s probably the best from a sales point of view as well.”

James Keppel
Chief Security Officer  @SecureCo

“My team’s role was to advocate for the logging and performance side of things,” says Keppel. “That was when we started to look at the various options in the market.”

SecureCo’s challenge, Keppel explains, was a lack of visibility into the payments stack or how its performance could impact the business. To articulate performance issues (whether to internal ops teams or to clients), break issues down to their individual components, and quantify the time spent in downstream transactions, Keppel needed analytics.

“Our SLAs are dependent on how long it takes for a message to go through our stack,” Keppel explains. “If there's a downstream problem, we need to be able to differentiate it from an issue in our stack, so we can say something took three seconds instead of one because of a two-second delay downstream.”

When Keppel was introduced to AppDynamics as a potential solution, he initially rolled it out on a .Net stack.

“We got instant visibility within half an hour,” he says. “That’s why we ultimately chose it.”

About SecureCo

SecureCo is a specialized compliance-as-a-service provider that takes a “zero compromise” approach to its award-winning security. The company’s mission is to demystify PCI compliance standards for large corporations — largely in the insurance, energy, and airline spaces — with payment processing for both e-commerce and call centres in Australia.


Solution: Proactive discovery of performance bottlenecks

Without the visibility they were looking for, Keppel’s team risked overspending on high-priority (P1) incidences — which can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours to resolve. Using AppDynamics, Keppel says:

“We were successfully able to determine how long it took for a message to enter an infrastructure, at what point that message left our infrastructure to go downstream, and when it returned and continued through our stack.”

Keppel began by setting up metrics to alert him to delta time in the stack minus time spent waiting on downstream processes.

“With that data, we could start creating more complex dashboards per client and downstream provider,” he explains.

From there, his team was able to make decisions grounded in data.

“The most important to us is capacity planning,” Keppel continues. “We can work out the number of transactions per second that we are looking to onboard. Not only can we stay ahead of onboarding, but we can take the sales pipeline, map that to growth, and use synthetic testing to monitor our technology’s ability to scale. Then, we can monitor performance right off the bat.”

Benefits: Confidence, communication, and 3X transactions per second — all straight out of the box

“Our visibility has an indirect impact on sales.” — James Keppel

Deploying AppDynamics brought tangible and intangible benefits alike for SecureCo: first and foremost, the confidence to report around their stacks.

“Our salespeople have a high level of confidence in selling our technology because our operations teams have a high level of visibility into our stack and the ability to meet SLAs,” Keppel explains. “In that sense, our visibility has an indirect impact on sales opportunities.”

Beyond sales, SecureCo’s newfound visibility helped connect ops and development teams.

“AppDynamics helps identify issues within just a few clicks.”

James Keppel
Chief Security Officer  @SecureCo

“There’s a tight organizational structure between the two,” Keppel explains. “Having a common tool, with both the server information and application information, allows those guys to work together without making any assumptions.”

What about tangible value? The biggest was a significant reduction in mean time to resolution. That’s the benefit of AppDynamics straight out of the box, Keppel explains: “You can eliminate entire portions of your architecture as being responsible.”

“My advice to anyone considering AppDynamics is to get the metrics you need up and running as soon as possible. It needs to be customized to get the best return on investment,” Keppel recommends. “But that’s not to say we didn’t get value out of the box. Isolating issues with just the default package resulted in a three-fold increase in transactions per second.”

“Our developers now have a visual representation of what used to be abstract connections between components.”

James Keppel, Chief Security Officer, SecureCo

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