FT Online

2019-04-02 10:30:16 BdST

Most banks' data centers vulnerable to fire, quake

The data centres of nearly 60 per cent banks run the risk of being damaged in disasters like fire and earthquake due to their location in high-rise buildings, according to a study.

The study also found that nearly 20 per cent data recovery sites of banks also have been established in high-rise buildings with similar risks.

The lax security of data centres of banks came up at a workshop at the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management on Monday.

A team led by BIBM associate professor Md Shihab Uddin conducted the study on "IT operations of banks".

The study found that distant data centres of 55 per cent banks are not "hot" and not operable during a sudden disaster.

A hot site is a commercial disaster recovery service that allows a business to continue computer and network operations in the event of an equipment disaster.

According to the central bank requirements, banks have to set up distant data centres in a different seismic zone from its everyday use data units.

But 45 per cent of banks set up their far data centres in Dhaka and around the capital, which also run the same risk of main data centres.

The study on "IT operations of banks" in 2018 found almost same results last year.

The study revealed that some 96 per cent banks were providing centralised online banking in 2018 and 2017 and nothing has improved since then.

The IT budget of banks also remained same 3.0 per cent in 2017 and 2018.

Moreover, training related to security decreased by 2.0 per cent in 2018, compared to 2017.

However, some 77 per cent banks increased cyber security budget following the Bangladesh Bank cyber heist.

Speaking at the programme, Bangladesh Bank deputy governor S M Moniruzzaman said the banking sector lacks skilled IT manpower.

He said banks need to be prepared for any kind of disasters.

The deputy governor said banks only invest in software, but there are so many other things they need to do for strengthening the IT security.

Dutch Bangla Bank managing director Abul Kashem Md Shirin said half the country's banks is still not secured.

A minimum of 50 per cent banks in the country are not secured in terms of IT operations, he said.

He also stressed the need for setting up separate IT departments in banks.

Bank Asia managing director Arfan Ali said most of the top brasses in the country's banks have no foresight about where they should invest.

He said some 50 per cent investments of banks operation should go for its people.

"The best investment in bank operation is in training," he said.

Executive director of Bangladesh Bank Deb Dulal Roy said banks should invest in IT security on their own.

"It is not good central bank dictates everything," he said.

BIBM DG Md Abdur Rahim and Director (training) also spoke at the programme.

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