New infrastructure risk assessment for the financial sector launches

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The Uptime Institute has announced the launch of its new Standardized, Comprehensive Infrastructure Risk Assessment for Financial Sector Institutions (SCIRA-FSI).

SCIRA-FSI is a new professional service that assesses critical IT environments across enterprise data centres, multi-tenant data centres, and public and private clouds, to identify and mitigate physical and operational outage risks.

In response to recent high-profile FSI outages and increasingly complex hybrid IT architectures, over 30 financial supervisory authorities in Europe, in conjunction with the European Banking Authority, have implemented regulatory requirements designed to encourage more effective risk management practices. These require regulated FSIs to periodically assess outage risks across their complete data centre estate.

This focus by regulators and governments on minimizing FSI outages is rapidly spreading across the globe, with similar requirements from the Bank of England & Prudential Regulatory Authority, 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.

The growing regulatory requirements for the FSI community and the accelerating adoption of more complex hybrid IT infrastructures has demanded a response. To meet this need, in early 2020 Uptime Institute established a group of FSI Program Design Partners consisting of over 20 global FSIs to build a standardised approach to assessing digital infrastructure risk, in order to identify, minimise and mitigate outages across their enterprise-owned and third-party infrastructure service partners data centre estate. SCIRA-FSI is the result of this ‘ecosystem collaboration’, which will help FSIs comply with emerging regulatory requirements while optimising resource efficiency and streamlining the costs and administrative burden of conducting prompt due diligence, audits, and compliance reviews.

“Any outage is a painful and expensive incident. However, financial services outages can be extremely costly, and can result in financial penalties and sanctions for noncompliance,” said Ali Moinuddin, managing director, Europe, Uptime Institute.

“In addition to lost revenue, reduced productivity, and customer and investor dissatisfaction, there is the spectre of fundamental, if not potentially irreparable reputational damage. Our new SCIRA-FSI program gives FSIs a way to thoroughly assess their entire data centre estate and identify and mitigate digital infrastructure outage risk. As regulatory pressure mounts in Europe and beyond, FSI’s are compelled to increase their understanding of systemic vulnerabilities, and minimise outage risk to support all critical business services and improve operational resilience.”

SCIRA-FSI is based on Uptime Institute’s analysis of over 20 data centre and commonly applied financial sector standards, internal assessment protocols shared by its Program Design Partners, common FSI infrastructure risks gathered from Uptime Institute’s Abnormal Incident Report database of 8,000 data points on the root cause of outages, and Uptime Institute’s experience working on over 250 FSI projects across the globe.

Upon completion of a portfolio-level SCIRA-FSI program, clients receive a detailed report on the current physical and operational risks of their hybrid digital infrastructure along with actionable recommendations for resolving them. This not only aids FSIs in their efforts to proactively prevent downtime incidents but serves as documentation for regulatory filing requirements to prove that a comprehensive risk management assessment has been completed for infrastructures that support important and critical business services.

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