Central Bank in second IT outage

For the second time since outsourcing its IT infrastructure to Hewlett-Packard, the Central Bank has suffered an outage when one of its servers crashed.

In response to a parliamentary question, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the bank suffered an outage in mid-September.

“The incident to which the deputy refers occurred on 17th September when one of the servers which had recently been migrated to the HP data centres became unavailable for a short period,” Mr Noonan said.

“The incident in question was the result of a process failure which has since been identified and rectified as part of the standard transition arrangements.

“The incident lasted for 15 minutes. The impact was minor and did not impact any business service of the Central Bank,” he said.

It is understood that the outage was only uncovered by Central Bank officials who were supporting HP staff to migrate the bank over to the HP servers.

This is the second systems outage since the Central Bank outsourced its IT systems. The first came on Jun 21 when a power outage at HP brought the system down temporarily.

One internal whistleblower has written to a TD claiming that “IT system has been unstable since being moved, (separate to the process failures), for weeks now, yet they continue to move more and more systems out while the instability continues”.

The new outsourced system handles a huge amount of Irish banking data that is incredibly sensitive. This has led to some people questioning the wisdom of placing this information on servers outside of the Central Bank.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the latest outage raises further questions about the decision to outsource.

“The fact that another glitch has occurred in the Central Bank’s IT system raises questions about why this risk is being taken,” Mr Doherty said.

“This outsourcing appears to be rushed and, despite the minister’s and Central Bank’s reassurances, seems out of their control in many ways,” the TD.

“I will continue to pursue this issue with the minister. This whole process must be reviewed in terms of security which must outweigh the savings that may accrue.”

However, Mr Noonan said there was no cause for alarm and that the system was operating normally.

“I have been informed by the Central Bank that its IT systems are operating within expected norms and service levels,” he said.

“Incidents can arise in the normal course of events and these are all investigated for root cause and any necessary remediation taken.

“This includes root cause that may be attributed to hardware, software, process compliance, or human error, irrespective of whether internally or externally generated.”


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