Barclays should publish its internal report on the outage this weekend

Here’s the crash report Amazon Web Services issued after the massive outage to their US-EAST region, the first and biggest of the regions, back in 2012. Here’s the one Heroku issued about their outage, caused by the Amazon outage.

On Saturday night, Barclays Bank had a major outage which took out online authorisation for credit and debit cards, online banking, ATMs, and apparently even some BACS transfers. Not only did it fail, it failed in a state where the fallback to offline authorisation didn’t work either, and people were turned away from supermarket checkouts trying to buy baby food. I asked their Twitter bod if they would be publishing a report on how it happened, and what they did about it.

Hear those crickets? But I don’t understand why there should be crickets chirping here. If AWS can do it, entirely voluntarily, and the entire aviation industry (and in the UK, shipping and railways) can do it, and to some extent the pharma industry…why not IT more broadly, and why not finance?

3 Comments on "Barclays should publish its internal report on the outage this weekend"

  1. Probably have to legislate to get it to happen. But seems to me if you can get the votes for legislation might be better used to take basic electronic transaction infrastructure out of hands of the big 4 banks. Not only do they exclude a bunch of smaller entities, next time there’s a crash it would give them less of a hold on how bailout money is distributed.


      1. Yes there are. Although tbh, since the payments system is a means of transferring money from one person’s bank account to another person’s bank account, there’s only so much you can do to make it independent of the banking system. A lot of the infrastructure (BACS etc) is publicly owned, but the trouble has historically been that there really aren’t that many people who are interested in supplying and maintaining a load of card readers and the supporting network for a pretty small percentage fee – Barclays has a lot of market share in this area with customers of other banks, and iirc HSBC doesn’t even bother doing it at all, they outsource it to Worldpay.

        This is a technology business, not a banking business, and it shouldn’t really suffer from the major problem of UK banking IT (ie, horrible incurable crapness). I don’t really see any legitimate reason why there shouldn’t be a report like the one Alex is asking for.


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