Uptime Institute has launched a risk assessment service for banks concerned about the reliability of their digital infrastructure.

The Standardized, Comprehensive Infrastructure Risk Assessment for Financial Sector Institutions (SCIRA-FSI) service will assess banks' critical IT environments, including enterprise data centers, multi-tenant data centers, and public and private clouds, to spot potential outage risks.

The announcement follows recent high-profile outages at financial institutions, which have increasingly complex hybrid IT architectures.

Tougher regulations

Uptime says tougher regulations are coming in the wake of these outages. "More than 30 of Europe's financial supervisory authorities, along with the European Banking Authority, have implemented regulatory requirements designed to encourage more effective risk management practices," Uptime said in the announcement. "These require regulated FSIs to periodically assess outage risks across their complete data center estate."

The firm, which offers data center certifications and assessments, said similar requirements are emerging at the Bank of England & Prudential Regulatory Authority in the UK, 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.

Uptime has been working on the new service since early 2020, when it gathered a group of 20 FSI (financial services institutions) players to put together a standardized approach to assessing the risk of digital infrastructure, so Uptime could create a service that would effectively help banks to minimize outages across IT infrastructure which combines third-party hardware and cloud services with on-premises data centers.

This “ecosystem collaboration,” has led to SCIRA-FSI, which Uptime says will minimize the administrative costs of meeting regulations, including due diligence, audits, and reviews, while providing reliable, efficient infrastructure.

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

The service also references common FSI infrastructure risks gathered from Uptime's Abnormal Incident Report database of 8,000 outages, and the Institute’s experience working on FSI projects.

Customers will complete a portfolio level SCIRA-FSI program, and then receive a detailed report on the current physical and operational risks of their hybrid digital infrastructure along with actionable recommendations for resolving them.

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