My Greatest Fear…

Wasn’t it Franklin D. Roosevelt who mentioned the great line; ‘…the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.’ Ah, yes, I hope he is right. Because this posting is about my biggest fear. And yes, don’t worry, it is IT related. I will not talk about Clowns called Pennywise, an age-old man in a Derby Hat, or people in white coats asking ‘Is It Safe?’.

Nope. Not even the increase of malware like Flame or the unstoppable flow of spam. Not a fire burning down all cloud service stations. I cannot lose sleep over any of it.

I am talking about my fear of… of… * deep sigh *… of…

Online payment systems.

Here! I have said it!

Wow. Actually, now that is off my chest, I feel relieved! That saves me 20 years of therapy for $100 an hour! Thank you! That will be all!

Nah… let me go deeper into this. I am not ‘afraid’ of online payment systems. I use them all the time. I also am not very afraid that things will go bad, I just use my cards with stores I know, and then make sure that there is not a lot of money that can be stolen in a doomsday scenario.

It is about using an online payment system for my own projects. And I have a big release of a project coming up that requires one. And the reason why I feel ‘afraid’ is simply that once you accept payments, you have to take responsibility.

Now, I know this is not always something people are concerned with. People making payments can easily block or undo it. And especially if you ask about a service system, as my upcoming project is, there is no physical element involved, so, the worst-case scenario is that you have to return the money to an unsatisfied customer, and voila, it is done.

I am not unknown with taking some leaps of faith. Just recently I have signed a lease on a large two-studio location for my photo studio, even though the studio itself doesn’t make any real money, I use it a lot for the IT company to create in-house media. I have started my company back in the ’90s, took a fall with my best friend with it, and still moved on. At one moment, with my wife and newborn daughter, we decided to move from the Netherlands to the US and had to start all over again… they were some risky decisions.

And I have built a lot of online productions. Ranging from royal applications to large law firms, from major international banks to universities, large movie studios, major Broadway musicals but also many small productions for local businesses. And all, without that piece of fear. There is always the excitement of ‘going online’ for any production, no matter how small.

But this payment system, I don’t know. My issue is the responsibility. If I take money from someone, I want to know that that person is happy with the service they are getting. But also, that they feel everything was handled securely. And that is what I do not have any control over. For this project, on our end, we have made sure everything is very secure. Encrypting personal data with a one-way encryption, special multi-session warnings, and even a lock-down mode for the clients, who can immediately lock their complete account down as a sort of safe-room. And it works pretty smooth, we are very, very proud of it to have it like that.

But this payment thing worries me, simply because I don’t know it. I know the system, I know the company gets great reviews and services thousands and thousands of sites. I just don’t know it.

When working with my own company I had back in the late ’90s, we were asked to build a payment portal. Wow, if we simply had done it we would be rich by now. We received all the information and documentation from American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover, but it was just out of my reach of understanding what I was working with. I mean, you are talking about major security here that involves money. And once money is involved, I know people will be praying on it. And I will never feel secure about delivering anything people will try to break into.

So, it all boils down to leaving control with a company that clearly does know what they are doing with security of money transportation. And I feel safe with that, and I know I have to use it. I simply am not looking forward switching it on.

And you know what? Most of you might already be working with an online payment system, I just am not. Sure, PayPal, but come on, that is not having it really integrated in a production. So… here goes nothing…

Thank you, Doctor, it really feels good talking to you…

Nice, comfy couch by the way. You can send the bill to my company. Or do it through an online payment system I will hook up.


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