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NAB launches review after series of outages

NAB launches review after series of outages

Internal systems under the spotlight

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) is embarking on an internal review of the three outages that hit its online services and other infrastructure between 5 October and 11 October, saying that “any outage is one too many”.

“Our teams are working hard to monitor our services and ensure the stability of systems for our customers,” a spokesperson for the bank said in a statement, after restoring online services following its third outage in less than a week.

“A thorough review of the issues that have arisen in the past week is underway. We are committed to improving the performance of our technology and investing in our systems.

“While the number of issues that impact our customers has declined in recent years, any outage is one too many and every day we focus on finding ways to improve how we serve our customers,” the spokesperson said.

The most recent of the three outages affected internet banking and the processing of some customer payments. The bank said that the outage did not affect its ATM transactions and card purchases in stores.

“We’re doing our best and we’ll work with you through our branches and our contact centre,” the bank said while its systems were down. “Our teams are working hard to resolve this and we’re sorry for the impact this is causing.”

After services were brought back online, NAB said that there may a delay in the receiving of some payments.

NAB’s latest technology debacle came just days after a systems failure on 5 October that prevented customers from accessing internet and online banking, affected its call centres, and delayed some transactions.

While NAB’s chief customer officer, Andrew Hagger, personally apologised to customers on behalf of the bank for the overnight outage in a video posted on the company’s website, it’s likely that a number of the systems in question are, in fact, managed by IBM.

In 2011, IBM inked a five-year, $1.3 billion outsourcing deal that saw the tech giant take on the management of NAB’s IT infrastructure. The deal included the management of mainframes, storage, hosting, desktop fleet management, operating systems, and service desks.

The deal was an extension of a three-year outsourcing agreement signed to IBM in 2007 to take over the management of NAB’s desktop and service desk IT infrastructure, help desk, and desktop support for 28,000 users at the majority of NAB sites within Australia.

The technology company has found itself under increased scrutiny in Australia recently, thanks to the failure of Australia’s Census online portal to withstand multiple DDoS attacks in August.

In September, the agency behind the Census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), fingered IBM in a submission to the parliamentary committee undertaking an inquiry into the management and execution of the 2016 Census.

“The online Census system was hosted by IBM under contract to the ABS and the DDoS attack should not have been able to disrupt the system,” the ABS stated in its submission.

“Despite extensive planning and preparation by the ABS for the 2016 Census this risk was not adequately addressed by IBM, and the ABS will be more comprehensive in its management of risk in the future,” it said.

IBM had not responded to ARN’s queries at the time of writing.

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