Banking services outsourcing company S1 has achieved a disaster recovery time of 34 minutes at its London data centre.
The company, whose customers include Girobank and ABN Amro, has just completed testing that has been verified by industry regulator the Financial Services Authority.
Brian Hiscutt, senior business operations manager for S1 in Europe, Middle East & Africa, said that the results give it a competitive advantage over rivals in an industry where customers generally expect recovery time of an hour.
"We can demonstrate high security and high availability and, if that still goes pear-shaped, we can get it back up in 34 minutes. It has never gone down - touch wood - but we do keep demonstrating it and we proved it again just last week," he said.
Hiscutt admitted that investment in disaster recovery can be difficult to justify, but maintained that it is vital in financial services.
"Disaster recovery and business continuity is never a cheap option because we are dealing with multimillion pound business being transacted in our data centre. Disaster recovery is like an insurance policy," he explained.
The terrorist attacks on 11 September forced S1 to re-evaluate those plans.
"We have definitely considered it since September and broadened our thinking when considering rehearsals but, unfortunately, the number of companies that still don't have continuity plans are still in the majority," said Hiscutt.
S1 offers outsourced banking, brokerage and insurance applications to financial services companies across all channels, including the internet, wireless, call centres and ATMs.
Its London data centre, which opened in September 2000, uses the Hewlett Packard HP 9000 range of servers managed and monitored with HP OpenView.
Mitul Mehta, industry analyst at TekPlus, said that the pressure on companies to prove even faster recovery times will increase.
"In a few years you will be looking at companies making millions of pounds of revenue in minutes and hours online and, at that level, you can't even afford five minutes downtime," he warned.
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