Westpac brings authentication system in-house, binning IBM

Bank wants centrally-managed control over access control

Australian bank Westpac has decided the time is right to bring its Distributed System Access service in-house, rather than continue an arrangement that saw it tended by IBM.

The Register understands that Distributed System Access (DSA) is the Bank's authentication infrastructure and is used to manage user accounts, group accounts and set permissions for access to files. As the bank employs around 40,000 people across five different businesses, securing access to resources is crucial for purposes of security and confidentiality.

We also understand that DSA was built with plenty of help from IBM Australia, which has had ongoing involvement with the project.

Westpac, however, has decided to change that arrangement.

“We’re bringing the Distributed System Access back in-house to have a centrally managed approach for the provision and access of our systems,” a spokesperson for the bank told us.

The Register understands Westpac also feels it can do the job better than the IBM team that's served it of late.

Whether that's because it's felt best to keep security matters close, or dissatisfaction with IBM, is not known.

What we do know is that Westpac and IBM have worked together for years and are still close: the two recently announced a successful Blockchain trial, while Big Blue has implemented hybrid platform-as-a-service at the bank. Westpac tells The Register that project has gone well, and the bank is “seeing the agility benefits we anticipated with infrastructure being delivered in hours as opposed to weeks.”

But an IBM-built enterprise backup system for the bank has seen non-scandalous implementation delays. The decision to take DSA in-house is therefore an interesting notable moment in the long relationship between the two. If it turns out the be the start of something bigger, we'll try to let you know! ®

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