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June 2, 2022

June Digest: News from the world of work orchestration

Two operational resilience wake-up calls for the finance sector

The financial industry is facing the dawn of a new regulatory era for themselves and the cloud and IT service providers they depend on, according to Ali Moinuddin, the Uptime Institute's Managing Director for Europe, in his International Banker essay. Moinuddin’s thorough guide to this new environment includes data showing that the financial sector accounted for more outages between 2019 and 2021 than any other sector. The Uptime Institute’s new 2022 Outage Analysis report shows that downtime costs and financial consequences are increasing. Thomson Reuters also weighs in with an OpRes essay, urging financial firms to better manage “inevitable” operational disruptions, saying that failures hinge on false assumptions that companies can let third parties work without oversight. “Firms need to realize that managing third parties is more akin to managing an internal process,” writes Mike Cowan, Thomson Reuters Senior Regulatory Intelligence Expert.

Snafu Tuesday: Cloudflare, Zoom and Microsoft outages

A rash of outages affected major companies and customers users in the US and UK on June 21, The Independent reports. During prime working hours, video-conferencing app Zoom, email provider Microsoft Outlook and content delivery network Cloudflare all experienced outages that were widespread, but resolved the same day. The three incidents appear unrelated to each other. The Cloudflare incident had the broadest impact, leaving users unable to access many popular websites, including Shopify, Peloton and Discord. Security Boulevard weighed in with some key takeaways on the Cloudflare incident and outages in general.

U.S. energy department launches effort to save the grid from extreme weather

Scientists are hoping to strengthen the U.S. power grid against extreme events “they believe will only get worse,” according to this report from E&E News. The Electric Power Research Institute (ERPI) and U.S. Department of Energy studies aim to seek consensus on the type and frequency of extreme weather likely to hit the U.S. in coming decades. Arshad Mansoor, chief executive at EPRI, said in the report. “We clearly are seeing the effects of the warming of the planet,” Mansoor said. “Our planning process does not take that into account.”

Three IT threats: App incompatibility, data leaks and legacy systems

Continuity Central has gathered three articles on continuity threats. A Cloudhouse report revealing that most businesses have apps incompatible with their operating systems, “and if left unchecked can impact the platforms that are absolutely critical to operations.” A CybelAngel survey showing that data leaks are the most prevalent digital security risk, and increased by a whopping 63% in 2021, and a call for organizations to protect legacy systems from cyber attacks, with six tips on how to do just that.

Are our motivations for operational resilience misguided?

An essay in Finance Monthly argues that operational resilience shouldn’t be seen as a “chore” to do to avoid the wrath of regulators, but as a way to increase efficiency and growth. “... resilience and efficiency might seem like opposing poles … as grim-faced OR regulators demand audits, inquiries, and costly remediation plans – in stark contrast to the sunlit uplands we tend to associate with efficient practices capable of enabling business growth,” writes CloudStratex CEO Adrian Overall. “In reality, however, OR and efficiency often go hand-in-hand – good resilience practices can improve efficiency, while moves towards greater efficiency can equally contribute to OR goals.”

Bank of England ‘cracks the whip’ on banks’ operational resilience

Banks are likely going to need to invest more in resilience – due to the Bank of England’s new crackdown imposing a three-year deadline to shore up IT and other operations against cyber, outage, and other threats, according to The Stack. BoE supervisory lead Duncan Mackinnon said the BoE expects banks to make operational resilience “a major consideration in their investment programs. Designing services to be resilient is often easier than reverse engineering resilience into fragile services.” To help prepare for the new “sea change,” the European Banking Association’s EBAday 2022 began with a session offering helpful insights with experts from Barclays and other financial institutions, Finextra reports.

Pride Month & Tech: Honor, remember, support, take action

June’s Pride Month celebrations are uplifting and supporting LGBTQ+ people around the world. ZDNet has a terrific, comprehensive guide to Pride Month’s history, and how tech companies can support it. We’ve got our own new guide on how to promote intersectionality and inclusion in the workplace, which includes resources from Stonewall. And to learn more about how LGBTQ+ pioneers shaped tech history, check out this list from Out in Tech.

Finance survey: Happiest workplaces have highest level of automation

A new survey of 500 finance and accounting professionals show that 71% feel automation would have a positive impact on job satisfaction, according to survey author Tradeshift, a digital accounts-payable automation firm. The survey found “workers who have incorporated high levels of automation into their daily tasks are happier in their jobs, more optimistic about their future career prospects, and more likely to recommend their role to someone about to enter the job market.” 

Cyber roundup: New cyberattack warnings for banks, latest cyber-risk trends, lost passwords disrupt business, and huge increase in Fishing

Reuters reports that German bank regulator BaFin has warned banks to prepare for fresh cyberattacks due to the war in Ukraine. A Marsh and Microsoft survey finds 8 key cyber-risk trends, including the need to focus on cyber resilience versus simply stopping incidents. Continuity Central has two eye-opening articles: The first, on how business continuity problems erupt when employees leave without providing password details. And second, a 550% increase in voice phishing (vishing) attacks from 2021 to 2022.

European risk manager survey reveals insurance, IT issues

A whopping 78% of European risk managers face a major impact from rising insurance premiums, and 41% feel systemic risks like cyber attacks and climate may render some activities or locations uninsurable, according to the 2022 European Risk Manager Survey released by the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA), in partnership with PwC.

The survey also shows that over one-third of risk managers say they only occasionally collaborate with IT concerning security risks, although the level of collaboration has increased overall since FERMA’s 2020 survey.

Regulation may postpone bank “mergers of equals”

Banking Dive looks at the “weird environment” of banking mergers, as U.S. regulators have indicated they will scrutinize proposed mergers and acquisitions more carefully. Banking officials tell Banking Dive this regulatory hovering will likely postpone deals, especially among banks of equal size. But the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ​says it isn’t imposing a moratorium: “‘[R]ather than being pro-merger or anti-merger, we need frameworks that are smart on mergers,”’ the article quotes Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu remarking at an event in early May. The article offers some guidance on how to go forward with mergers, including measuring market concentration and competitiveness, and being proactive with regulators.

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Kathy Jones
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