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MAS Tells DBS & Citibank To Probe Why 14 Oct Service Disruption Recovery Wasn't Timely

MAS Says DBS & Citibank’s Back-Up Data Centres Should Have Restored Service Within 4 Hours

Last Saturday (14 Oct), a data centre issue caused local banks DBS and Citibank to experience a service disruption that lasted over 12 hours.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has now said that banks’ back-up data centres should restore service promptly.

As such, MAS has asked both banks to investigate why this recovery wasn’t timely enough.

Banks must restore service within 4 hours: MAS

In a media release on Thursday (19 Oct), MAS said in the event of a service disruption, critical systems and services should be restored within four hours.

To do that, banks must have in place back-up data centres and systems.

They must also test them periodically to ensure that this time requirement can be met.

Additionally, the unscheduled downtime for a critical system affecting a bank’s operations or service to customers must not exceed four hours within any 12-month period, stated MAS.

DBS & Citibank unable to meet 4-hour timeframe: MAS

On 14 Oct, this four-hour time limit was obviously not met.

MAS noted that DBS & Citibank “were not able to fully recover their systems within the required timeframe”, with normal service fully restored only the next morning.

Source: X

Thus, MAS instructed both banks to carry out a thorough investigation to find out why this was so.

They should also take appropriate supervisory actions after gathering the necessary facts, the authority said.

DBS & Citibank had contingency measures: MAS

However, MAS did acknowledge that DBS and Citibank had contingency measures in the event of service disruptions caused by IT outages.

For example, they activated their back-up data centres when their primary data centres failed to perform normally on 14 Oct.

They also extended their branch hours and provided alternative arrangements for credit card transactions to reduce the impact on customers.

While MAS doesn’t oversee data centres, they do require banks to be mindful when they engage them, they said, adding:

Source: The Equinix Blog

No IT system is infallible: MAS

Ultimately, though, “no IT system is infallible”, MAS said.

Thus, customers may also minimise inconvenience by having alternative payment providers and carrying some cash as a contingency, they added.

For example, on 14 Oct many affected customers were able to switch to alternative payment providers or use cash.

DBS Paylah! users had issues accessing app on 20 Oct

MAS’ media release came before a service disruption struck DBS PayLah! at about 7.50am on Friday (20 Oct).

Some users had issues accessing the app that morning, receiving a message informing them that “service isn’t available right now”.

DBS subsequently issued a statement apologising for the “intermittent” service and stated that they had resolved the issue by 11.40am.

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Featured image adapted from CNBC.

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