See things clearly

Paul Wallis's Blog (55)

Risk, resilience and liability in complex cloud systems

“Just imagine if a major cloud service provider had a ‘Lehman moment’, with everyone’s data there on Friday and gone on Monday...”

That’s what the authors ask us to do on page 2 of “Beyond data breaches: global interconnections of cyber risk”.

It appears that some users of the Dedoose cloud-based application don’t need to use their imagination. Dedoose enables…


Added by Paul Wallis on June 12, 2014 at 15:39 — No Comments

Walkin' Dog Blues

Never mind the mutually beneficial relationship created over thousands of years.

Never mind them guarding you and yours.

Never mind their ability to recognise human emotions.

Never mind their ability to sense ill health and disease.

Never mind the crazy, funny stuff they do.

Never mind you not taking exercise.

Never mind you burning a bit more fossil fuel.

Never mind the risks to…


Added by Paul Wallis on May 23, 2014 at 7:46 — No Comments

Data flow disasters and the world’s ‘bumpy ride’

“More data flow disasters are inevitable – which means, because we as individuals are ever more reliant on flows of data to live our lives, some of us are going to share that pain.

So don’t get comfortable...strap yourselves in.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

A couple of years ago I argued in “IT and the Steam Boiler”, that a lengthy…


Added by Paul Wallis on January 30, 2014 at 5:31 — No Comments

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty on data flow

Throughout history understanding various flows has been critical to the successful implementation of new technologies and subsequent economic development.  As we state in Chapter 3 of The OBASHI Methodology:

“...Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution an understanding of flow – firstly flows of water, then steam, then electricity, then oil, petroleum and components – has been…


Added by Paul Wallis on December 19, 2013 at 8:15 — No Comments

Technology and trust in the financial markets

I used to think that we were good at designing systems.  We would phase test them, user test them, stress test them and more, and eventually we would roll out the system and it would work.  And life was good.

In his blog, “Bank systems are not safe (anymore)”, Chris Skinner reflects on the reliability of financial systems,

“...It used to…


Added by Paul Wallis on September 5, 2013 at 6:32 — No Comments

The need for a common language in cybersecurity

In addressing, “Cyber Security and Global Interdependence”, Dave Clemente of Chatham House discusses the ‘security implications emerging at the intersection of cyberspace and infrastructure’.  One of his conclusions is that,

“Meeting these security challenges requires better shared understanding of what is critical between those who protect an organization and those who set its strategic…


Added by Paul Wallis on May 10, 2013 at 4:28 — No Comments

Finance IT problems around the world

On New Year’s Eve 2012, late afternoon, customers of three of the UK’s largest banks were unable to withdraw cash or use internet banking - some complaining that account balances were incorrectly showing ‘00.00’.


There can’t be many worse times for such a “glitch” to occur, and the (further) damage to those banks’ reputations must have been considerable. The financial cost was also considerable with, for example, Lloyds Bank setting aside £125 million to “compensate…


Added by Paul Wallis on February 14, 2013 at 2:39 — No Comments

Why does finance need a Legal Entity Identifier?

During July we attended the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, for the formation and launch of the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) Private Sector Preparatory Group.

The group was created by the FSB in response to a call from the leaders of the G20 countries to proceed with development of a, “unique identification system for parties to financial transactions.” […


Added by Paul Wallis on January 24, 2013 at 3:35 — No Comments

Asset failure and flow

 “Assets will always fail at some point, and with any asset failure there is a chain of consequential loss which is triggered by an originating event.”

Last year, I discussed the vulnerability of the modern city to interruptions in the various critical supply flows that keep it going.


When key flows – water, electricity, natural gas or sewage – are…


Added by Paul Wallis on November 22, 2012 at 3:42 — No Comments

Capabilities, perceptions and risk

Legal Risks on the Radar, is an annual survey, published in the U.S. by Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting.


The 2012 report researches attitudes to current legal issues among ‘two critical governance groups’: public company directors and corporate general counsel (GC).


Amongst other things, the survey finds that the growth of digital business, and connectivity, has caused many in these groups to recognise the increasing importance of understanding the…


Added by Paul Wallis on October 5, 2012 at 4:27 — No Comments

Holding the CxO to account

Over at the FSClub Blog, Chris Skinner summarises a discussion he had with a senior manager in finance about bank operations.  He writes,

“...most firms struggle with enterprise management.

It is down to the very nature of fragmented structures, legacy systems, merged and acquired operations, that make the enterprise view hard.

Hard but achievable, so why is it not…


Added by Paul Wallis on September 14, 2012 at 9:24 — No Comments

Standards and data flows

Three assertions that I hold to be true:

  1. The understanding of the flow of data is fundamental to an organization’s financial well-being. [more]
  2. Business resources, including people and IT assets, are either providers of data, consumers of data, or they provide the conduit through which the data can flow. […

Added by Paul Wallis on July 18, 2012 at 4:00 — No Comments

What explains the IT problems in banks?

The citizens of both California and Japan live in the shadow of ‘The Big One’ – earthquakes of catastrophic and devastating power that will inevitably occur, one day.


Before these events, numerous ‘foreshocks’ will take place, smaller earthquakes, associated in time and space with the ‘mainshock’.


Unless things change, the finance sector will one day suffer its own ‘Big One’ – a combination of events that will cause…


Added by Paul Wallis on July 4, 2012 at 4:18 — No Comments

Is the financial system becoming too complex to depict?

As I walked away from the bank HQ 6 years ago, Han Solo’s famous Star Wars quote came to mind,

“I got a bad feeling about this”

During the meeting I’d just attended, a manager from the bank had explained how some transactions with other financial institutions occurred.  The transactions were very valuable, worth millions of pounds, and happened regularly.  To paraphrase,

“...basically, traders transact deals, each using their own…


Added by Paul Wallis on June 14, 2012 at 5:04 — No Comments

Seeing the next flash crash coming

Last week, in “Systems Thinking, Safety and Risk Management”, IBM Fellow Irving Wladawsky-Berger discussed a round table breakfast about, ‘Protecting Financial Markets in the Age of the Cloud

“...Several participants cited the sharp rise in volume and speed of high-frequency trading over the past decade as an example of a current practice that is…


Added by Paul Wallis on May 10, 2012 at 14:06 — No Comments

Finance and transparency

Strike!...Everybody Out!


It’s hard to imagine a group of people less likely to go on strike than the floor traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.  But, a few weeks ago, brokers in the Eurodollar options pit did just that.


They were protesting because they were unable to participate in the pricing of ‘block trades’ in Eurodollar futures, believing the system is ‘…


Added by Paul Wallis on May 3, 2012 at 12:30 — No Comments

Governance, OBASHI, and the UK CNC

The Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) is a specialist armed police force, which looks after all of the UK's nuclear assets and resources, both nationally and internationally. 


Recently, I asked Paul Stone, Deputy CIO at CNC, why he, and his colleague Mark Verrier (CIO), had decided to become OBASHI accredited, and use the OBASHI Methodology, and software.


Paul’s reply is,

“OBASHI is a straightforward methodology with simple diagrams and…


Added by Paul Wallis on April 4, 2012 at 7:30 — No Comments

OBASHI and data governance

In the LinkedIn ‘Data Governance and Data Quality’ group, Gary W. Griffin asks for opinions on this,

Data Governance could be enhanced by clearly specifying data value chains and explaining how the Information Supply Chain connects the data value chains.

The concept of governance is one which is long established within the Oil and…


Added by Paul Wallis on March 22, 2012 at 11:37 — No Comments

Dubious events in finance

The dubious events at brokerage MF Global demonstrate yet again how vulnerable investors are in today’s data flow-reliant financial markets.


During late 2011, MF Global had been losing money on its currency market bets, and, to stay afloat, it delved into customer accounts and used customer money in attempts to cover its precarious financial position.


The attempts failed and the company had to file for bankruptcy.


According to the liquidator’s…


Added by Paul Wallis on February 17, 2012 at 9:20 — No Comments

Data flows, land, sea & air

In my last blog about data flow and the development of ‘autonomous vehicles’, I argued that,

“...while the dream of a safer, and more efficient, road transportation system is worthy, it won’t be happening on a large-scale anytime soon...


...computers aren’t yet intelligent enough to reliably make safe, on-time decisions about everyday driving…


Added by Paul Wallis on February 3, 2012 at 4:31 — No Comments

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