Data center performance assessment organization Uptime Institute has launched a new service that focuses on risk mitigation and regulatory compliance in the financial sector.
Uptime’s Standardized, Comprehensive Infrastructure Risk Assessment for Financial Sector Institutions (SCIRA-FSI) was designed to identify, minimize, and mitigate both service-owned and third-party data center and cloud outages.
The organization partnered with more than 20 leading financial services institutions (FSIs) and relied on the experience of more than 250 projects around the world to build a service that addresses the requirements for increasingly complex hybrid IT architectures, it said in a statement.
SCIRA-FSI also intends to streamline compliance efforts, with an eye to growing global regulatory pressure on the industry in the wake of high-profile financial services outages like the one that affected British bank TSB in 2019.
“Our new SCIRA-FSI program gives FSIs a way to thoroughly assess their entire data center estate and identify and mitigate digital infrastructure outage risk,” said Ali Mouinuddin, Uptime’s European managing director. “As regulatory pressure mounts in Europe and beyond, FSIs are compelled to increase their understanding of systemic vulnerabilities, and minimize outage risk to support all critical business services and improve operational resilience.”
Expect the unexpected
More than 30 supervisory authorities in Europe have put requirements in place that are meant to encourage more effective risk management in financial services. For example, since 2018, the UK Financial Conduct Authority has required retail banks to provide mandatory reporting of disruptions to online services caused by IT outages.
Similar requirements have been proposed by Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in the United States, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, among others.
Uptime’s own research indicates that the causes of outages are changing – they are less likely to result from widespread power outages than from networking and software issues.
After they complete a portfolio-level SCIRA-FSI program, Uptime clients get a detailed report on the operational risks hiding within their data centers, and actionable recommendations for resolving those risks. In addition, clients will receive documentation to support their regulatory filing requirements.
The result, Uptime said, means money saved – today, costs of a major outage can easily hit six or seven figures.
Learning from experience
Uptime Institute is a critical infrastructure think-tank focused on data center education, certification, research, and assessment. The organization is primarily known for administering the long-established Tier certification system - rating data center reliability features on a scale from Tier I to Tier IV.
To design SCIRA-FSI, Uptime analyzed more than 20 data center and financial sector standards, internal assessment protocols shared by program design partners, and common infrastructure risks for financial services institutions. It relied on more than 8,000 data points on the root causes of infrastructure outages gathered from the company’s Abnormal Incident Report Database.