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Revealed: Why UK banks crash all the time

CAST, a software risk prevention and analysis outfit, has revealed the findings of its latest CRASH report, the world’s largest real-life study of software quality in enterprise applications.

The report exposes that the overall quality of UK banks’ mission critical functions are poor, potentially explaining the frequent outages suffered by UK banks.

UK Bank security score distributionThis financial sector specific CRASH report is comprehensive, analysing 241 MLOC (241 million lines of code), across the 430 enterprise applications in the anonymous CRASH database. The report is based on the code submissions of 53 financial sector organisations, from 13 different countries, spanning Consumer Finance and Investment Banks.

The research uses five structural quality characteristics, or ‘health factors’; Robustness, Security, Efficiency, Transferability, and Changeability, and rates each with a maximum score out of four, benchmarking the structural quality of UK Financial Services applications.

Key findings from the 2016 CRASH report include:

  • Brits like to break the rules – Ignoring security best practices endangers IT security. UK falls short compared to Europe and US, with one in four (25%) of the worst overall offenders based in Britain.
  • ‘Monolingual’ Brits may be using wrong tools for the job – British banking apps are written in three, old school languages, mainly Java-EE and Oracle Server, compared to seventeen in Europe and eight in the US, who use a wider range of technologies.
  • Verbose Brits do not get to the point – UK coders need more code than their European and US equivalents for financial apps. The average lines of code (LOC) for both US and Europe is under 440,000 LOC, compared to 1.07m LOC for the UK.

“This CRASH report has highlighted the apparent need for the UK Financial Sector to modernise and improve its application software performance,” says Lev Lesokhin, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Analytics at CAST.

“With UK banks falling worryingly short in robustness and security capabilities, a considerable concern for the sector in the modern age, application developers need to up their game to rival European and US organisations. Doing so will ensure high quality of the software produced in the UK, which in turn will reduce the amount of damaging outages the banks suffer and help deliver a greater service to their business critical customers.”

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