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Cognia: Secure Payment Transactions through PCI DSS Compliant Solutions in the Cloud

Curtis Nash, Founder & CEO, CogniaCurtis Nash, Founder & CEO
Theft of credit card information and resulting company losses has been on the rise. According to Cognia founder and CEO Curtis Nash, credit card fraud has climbed by about 23 percent annually for several years. Now Cognia—an international, cloud-based PCI-Compliance solutions company is foiling identify thieves by removing the vulnerable credit card information from the places where they traditionally have purloined it. “We are addressing this with our cloud solutions,” says Nash. “In fact, we were the first company to achieve PCI DSS Level 1 accreditation globally on the AWS cloud platform.”

Until now, businesses wanting PCI compliant telephone payment processing had limited options that were inherently costly and complex. Other providers who claim to have a cloud-based solution often don't have the scalability and durability offered by Cognia's application running on the global AWS platform.

These solutions include a credit card payment system that takes human intervention out of the equation. Cognia’s security software, Cognia Secure built on the Amazon Web Services platform keeps credit card information out of the hands of call center agents or the systems they use where it can be at risk. This allows customers to input their credit card information via the phone keypad so the only thing a call center agent sees is a row of stars indicating a number that is being inserted. The solution mitigates the risk of traditional “pause and resume” applications that can be inefficient and expensive.

Cognia also developed Interactive Voice Response solutions that take humans interventions out of the money transfer process altogether. Recreation giant Viking River Cruises was among the first companies to use IVR from Cognia for their sales transactions.

Cognia is recognized for providing Level 1 security the highest mark in the industry. The company also saves its customers’ money and time by taking on the arduous Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards compliance processes. Nash notes that any company involved in transactions must adhere to the rigid compliance protocols of PCI DSS.


We were the first company to achieve PCI DSS Level 1 accreditation globally on the AWS cloud platform


These include having all computers, networks, cables and other components certified every year. As a trusted partner, Cognia removes that burden from the call center.

Why all the compliance? Because any company storing credit card information can open itself up to massive security breaches such as those against Target and Neiman Marcus in the U.S. “We’re licensed by Master Card and Visa to store credit card data on behalf of companies
and passing it on to do payment,” says Nash. “Part of our license is taking that burden away from our customers.”

Nash says Cognia has the ability to scale up quickly for companies that might see changes in sales traffic. He cites the Christmas season when one call center might shift from 10 seats to 1,000 seats in less than a week. Leveraging its own platform with that of Amazon, Cognia can make that change instantly.

In addition to working with secure credit card transactions, Cognia also helps organizations that need to monitor data and voice. The company manages customer risks, monitors customer service and helps meet industry regulations. It also stores massive amounts of data in compliance with international regulations.

And what does Nash do when he’s not at the helm of the company he founded? One word: Sailing.

“I have a passion for sailing,” he says. “Sailing when it’s done right employs tremendous state-of-the-art technology and exquisite teamwork. Cognia is full of people who actually think the same way as the guys I go sailing with. We innovate with technology and teamwork to accomplish a common goal of improving our customers’ critical business solutions.”