When some poorly written code takes down your Twitter stream, that’s one thing. It’s something else entirely when a software bug prevents you from accessing the money you have in the bank.
Banks in Europe, the U.S., and Australia have had technical issues at an unprecedented rate over the last 12-18 months. Millions of account holders have been unable to access their accounts online, withdraw money at ATMs, or even use their cards to make payments at stores or online. That’s exactly the problem that RBS Group is dealing with right now, the latest bank to be hit with technical issues.
Many of us come from the IT trenches ourselves and can empathize sincerely with the RBS team in the U.K. It is no fun at all cleaning up after such a big firestorm. But the unfortunate truth is this particular bank is likely no different than the consumer banking industry at large. Our colleagues at CAST Labs run the world’s biggest repository of structural quality metrics, and the consumer banking industry is most notable for its low level of representation in this repository.
Computing covered the most recent story and interviewed our very own Jay Sappidi to understand why glitches like this are not a new phenomenon. “Because we’re all in such a hurry to get code out, people will tend to say they wanted it yesterday,” explained Jay. “So what IT departments skip or compromise is checking the actual quality of the code.”
Jay was also featured in The Independent, where he explained that while organizations do spend a lot of resources trying to safeguard their systems, they might be approaching it from the wrong angle. Jay commented, “people spend so much time, effort, and energy trying to beef up their security for external threats rather than worrying about internal weaknesses.”