DBS Building

SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is following up on DBS to identify reasons for disruptions and address them effectively.

After experiencing multiple outages in 2023, DBS and POSB online banking services encountered another setback on May 2.

Despite ongoing efforts to address issues stemming from the disruptions in 2023, DBS’ remediation plan remains incomplete.

A MAS spokesperson informed The Straits Times on May 7 that while DBS has progressed in addressing previous shortcomings, there’s still work to be done.

While DBS Bank had made substantive progress to address the shortcomings identified from service disruptions experienced by its customers in 2023, the remediation plan by DBS Bank has not been completed and implementation is still ongoing,” the MAS spokesperson said.

The recent disruptions occurred shortly after MAS announced on April 30 that it would not extend a six-month pause on non-essential activities for the bank. This pause allowed DBS to focus on remediation efforts.

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The six-month pause allowed DBS Bank to focus its resources and management attention on the remediation work and the bank has committed to continue its focus to complete the remediation plan,” the MAS spokesperson said.

MAS is also closely monitoring their progress on the remaining deliverables and evaluating the effectiveness of the measures they have implemented.

Due to past disruptions, additional capital requirements imposed on the bank since May 5, 2023, will remain until MAS is satisfied with DBS’s ability to “maintain service availability and reliability, and handle any disruptions effectively.”

Compared to the 2023 outages, which lasted up to 12 hours, the recent incident saw a quicker recovery.

DBS promptly communicated the issue to customers via its mobile app banners around 6:00 p.m. Services of both DBS and POSB digibank returned to normal by 7:37 p.m. and 7:41 p.m., respectively.

Normal service resumed for DBS PayLah! at 8:03 p.m.

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Despite the swift recovery, identifying the root cause of such disruptions remains challenging. IT experts suggest various potential causes, including server issues and software misconfigurations.

For instance, software glitches in failover protocols can hinder seamless transitions to backup systems during downtime.

Moreover, service interruptions can contribute to system modifications, human errors, and third-party mishaps like data centre faults.

DBS has acknowledged areas for improvement, including strengthening system architecture and enhancing monitoring tools to detect problems more quickly.

CEO Piyush Gupta emphasised the bank’s commitment to “continue to strengthen” technology resilience to deliver reliable, seamless and effortless banking experiences.

Echoing this sentiment, Mr Sam Liew, president of the Singapore Computer Society, stressed the importance of robust digital infrastructure to support cashless transactions.

He highlighted the need for a supportive payment framework to foster a cashless society, emphasising the crucial role of digital trust in driving widespread adoption. /TISG

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