If you were the CIO of a major bank responsible for the importance of information technology, what do you think that your #1 job responsibility would be? If you are guessing “keep the bank’s systems secure” then good news, you’d be close, but you’d still be missing the point. It turns out that a bank’s CIO’s most important job is ensuring that the people who have trusted the bank with their money are able to both see and access it. Over at the major American bank, Wells Fargo, their CIO has just dropped the ball and their IT systems were down for two days. This means that people could not access their money. Not a good scenario.
What Went Wrong At Wells Fargo
So first off, how did anyone know that something was wrong at Wells Fargo? Simple – they couldn’t access their money. Customers were getting on social media (never a good thing for a bank) and complaining about what they were unable to do. They reported that they could not see paychecks that should have been deposited into their accounts via direct deposit. This gets just a little bit worse because Wells Fargo employees were also reporting that they could not see their paychecks being deposited either.
The bank did work to try to resolve the direct deposit issue. However, even then certain mobile and online banking features still remained unavailable. The bank was forced to have to tell their customers that the outage, that could extend to point-of-sale systems, could last for another day. The bank could not say that things were fixed until they were certain that all of their systems were once again back up and working.
This extended outage is a big deal for Wells Fargo. The company is still recovering from the hit that its image took two years ago when a scandal related to how it conducted sales was revealed. Just to make things even worse for them, this is the second outage that Wells Fargo has had this month. The result of these multiple outages is that the parts of the government that perform oversight of the banking industry may be forced to step in.
What Wells Fargo Is Trying To Do To Fix Things
Clearly, the person with the Wells Fargo CIO job is finding themselves in hot water right now. The Wells Fargo CEO has publically admitted that the company attempted to restore services; however, they were not as rapid as they or their customers would have expected. The person in the CIO position has come out and told the world that this event was not a result of a cybersecurity issue.
Instead, what seems to have caused this problem at Wells Fargo is there was an automatic shutdown that occurred at one of the bank’s main data centers. The result of this shutdown was that many of Wells Fargo’s customers were left unable to access their accounts either online or via the Wells Fargo mobile application. The bank did work hard to restore services and was able to get most mobile and online services back up and running. These services included credit and debit card transactions as well as ATMs.
In order help deal with the problem, Wells Fargo was forced to extend its branch hours to deal with the issue. Additionally, overdraft fees and other charges related to the outage will be reversed. These steps will go a long way in helping customers to resolve their issues related to the outage. However, customers trust in both Wells Fargo and their IT systems will have been shaken.
What All Of This Means For You
The primary job of a bank CIO is to make sure that the people who trust the bank with their money can see their accounts and can perform money transactions all the time. Over at Wells Fargo, they’ve had an IT outage that has prevented their customers from being able to do this for two days. Clearly the bank is going to have to take steps to deal with this situation.
Wells Fargo first learned that they had a problem when their customers started to report on social media that they could not see paychecks that should have been deposited. The bank tried to resolve this issue, but they then had more issues. They had to tell their customers that the problems could go on for another day. Wells Fargo is still trying to recover from a big sales scandal and an outage that happened earlier this month. The CEO has had to admit that Wells Fargo took too long to fix this problem. The problem occurred because a Wells Fargo data center experienced a shut down. Wells Fargo has had to make changes to help their customers deal with the effects of this outage.
When a CIO does his or her job, nobody notices. However, when they drop the ball everyone sees it. Over at Wells Fargo the ball got dropped and now they are going to have to clean things up. Where were the backup systems and why did it take so long to resolve this issue? These are key questions that the Wells Fargo CIO is going to have to answer going forward. Until the Wells Fargo CIO can answer questions like this, they may have to get ready to experience their next outage…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™
Question For You: How do you think that Wells Fargo could have prevented this outage from occurring?
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