Barclays is rolling out disaster recovery technology that will allow branches to continue processing transactions if the bank's network communications are disrupted.
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Barclays has worked with suppliers and consultants to develop highly secure storage devices that will allow staff to continue recording transactions if links between branch terminals and central mainframes are disrupted.
It plans to roll out 10,000 devices, which will function like memory sticks, to its branch network across the UK by the end of the year.
'The solution may only be used every now and then, but the fact that the solution is there means that we will be able to
continue under most circumstances,' said Paul Douglas, project manager at Barclays.
Barclays estimated that the system, which it said was the first of its type to be rolled out by a UK bank, would pay for itself within a year by reducing the impact of network failures.
The challenge, said Douglas, was to develop a device capable of plugging into branch terminals without opening the banking terminals to the risk of fraud. The bank worked with consultantcies Logica, Accenture and a range of security suppliers to develop the system.
The device is designed to plug into the USB ports of the secure Dell terminals used in each branch.
Barclays used software from SecureWave to lock down the terminals, so that staff can only use the memory devices under highly controlled conditions. The software prevents other devices, such as floppy or CD drives, or other memory devices, being plugged into the desktops.
In 2003, Barclays began replacing its legacy terminals with 16,000 Dell-based thin clients. The machines use a combination of Citrix and web interfaces to communicate with Barclays' mainframes. No data is held on the hard disc for security reasons.
Restricting the devices that can be plugged into the terminals has enabled the bank to meet FSA compliance requirements, said Douglas.