Central Bank’s new IT system crashes

The Central Bank’s new multi-million euro outsourced computer system has already crashed following a power outage at Hewlett Packard which has been hired to handle the bank’s IT systems.

The outage lasted for 15 minutes following a power cut at Hewlett Packard’s Santry facility where the servers for the Central Bank’s systems are located.

In response to a question from Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, the Minister for Finance Micheal Noonan confirmed that the system had been cut off, but he said that the impact had been minimal.

“I am informed by the Central Bank that as a result of facilities works at the HP Santry data centre on Jun 21, a power interruption lasting 15 minutes took place.

“The impact was minor and did not interrupt any business service of the Central Bank. I am also informed that migration to the HP data centre is in its early stages and the bulk of services are not yet live. Accordingly, it was not necessary to consider invoking service continuity procedures,” he said.

Hewlett Packard will be handling all of the bank’s IT systems when the outsourcing of the computer framework is completed. The data, which is considered extremely sensitive, will be hosted outside of the Central Bank at Hewlett Packard’s facility, which has prompted questions over the security of the information.

Emails from an internal whistleblower at the Central Bank seen by the Irish Examiner show that staff have raised concerns about the outsourcing of the Central Bank’s IT system.

One whistleblower raised questions over what could happen if there was a breach of the IT systems which could give somebody access to market sensitive information.

“Ask yourself this, what would be the consequences of any type of breach? Even if the breach did not touch the money transfers and was only information, much of it is commercially sensitive and the possible liability large,” the email said.

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, said that the outsourcing was part of the Government’s ill-advised policy of quietly privatising vital parts of the national infrastructure.

“This power outage, which affected the Central Bank, shows how vulnerable the bank will be because of an outsourced data operation. In this instance, the bank is lucky that the data transfer is in its early stages and the bulk of the services aren’t live.

“Six months from now, that mightn’t be the case. I wonder if Irish people would be happy to know that all the data for the most important bank in the State is being held in a private company’s control centre which has experienced one power blackout already this year?”

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