Expanded computerization has been—and continues to be—a key lever for financial institutions as they rise to serve the increasingly diverse needs of local and international customers. Unfortunately, in some areas, concern over the fragility and vulnerability of these systems is stifling a more accelerated rate of expansion.
It is intuitive that uninterrupted access to timely account information, system-wide, improves customer satisfaction and elevates their level of confidence. Continuous customer service is an important deliverable for any business, and is probably the most obvious sign to customers that a for-profit enterprise has its priorities set appropriately.
The single most relevant way to elevate confidence in your institution is to ensure uninterrupted access to accurate and timely information. That entails understanding and managing information availability throughout its lifecycle—securing and protecting data once it’s created through all forms of use and long into its archive phase. Auditable procedures and practices require smooth access to—and retrieval of—information at any stage along that continuum.
Unfortunately, planned and unplanned intervals of downtime create barriers to current information accessibility and availability. By eliminating barriers to accessibility, an information availability solution can enable uninterrupted access to account information, facilitate a confident, accurate response to reporting requirements, protect the vital IT infrastructure and data against any interruption or disaster and ensure accuracy and completeness should you need to verify your business processes.
While some unplanned downtime results from weather or other disasters, most happens because of hardware or application failures, human errors and security violations. Surprisingly though, studies show that planned downtime caused by routine daily/ weekly backups, system upgrades, performance tuning and batch jobs create 70 to 90 percent of interruptions for most businesses. Whatever the cause, downtime adds no value to the business’ goals. This downtime interferes with, and delays, the implementation of strategic plans and reduces profitability.
Most organizations, including those in the financial sector, define uptime along a continuum that allows multiple hours of downtime with significant data loss all the way to real-time, 24/7 uptime with zero data loss. Depending on your business operations, an availability solution can completely eliminate interruptions—both planned and unplanned—or, at the very least, minimize the impact they have on your financial picture. But before you can take measures to eliminate downtime, you need to know exactly where your exposure lies and do a little planning.
High availability (HA) software solutions help drive business resilience because they ensure that critical market-facing software systems supporting the business remain as accessible and available as needed. In addition, because they transform downtime into uptime, they enable you to uncover new value for the organization, including driving new revenue, profitability, productivity and compliance to higher levels no matter what planned or unplanned events occur.
HA solutions deliver continuous uptime with zero data loss so that applications and business data are always available 24/7 or any combination of uptime. This type of solution uses a backup server with a current replica of the application environment that can failover or switchover to replace the production server with a recovery time objective of seconds or minutes. HA solutions also dramatically reduce the risks and costs of business interruptions.
HA solutions are less expensive today, especially with recent innovations that have reduced their cost and made them much easier to manage. In fact, new affordable, easy-to-manage solutions help small- and mid-sized financial institutions minimize the consequences of expected and unexpected IT outages.