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Acleda ups security measures

An Acleda Bank customer uses an automated teller machine at one of the bank’s branches in Phnom Penh
An Acleda Bank customer uses an automated teller machine at one of the bank’s branches in Phnom Penh yesterday. Hong Menea

Acleda ups security measures

Cambodia's largest bank, Acleda, has bolstered its cardholder data security measures and allegedly rid its ATM network of faults after a system upgrade reportedly costing millions.

Acleda Bank confirmed yesterday that its existing ElectraCard Services (ECS) banking system, which was first installed in 2005 to manage ATMs, banking transactions and customer databases, had been upgraded to the ECS electraiTx system.

ECS, a subsidiary of US organisation Opus Software Solutions, based in Pune, India, said in a statement that Acleda had rolled out the new software across all 267 branches and offices in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

“I cannot disclose the full cost of the upgraded system, but it was a very big investment,” Acleda president and CEO In Channy said.

Vice president and head of Acleda’s Information Security Department Sun Sokharino said the now-redundant old setup posed risks associated with cardholder information, as “everything was stored on the one server”.

He said that prior to the upgrade all banking employees were allowed access to both cardholder data and account information.

“Sensitive cardholder data and information is now on separate servers with firewalls in place to stop employees from accessing certain information,” he said, declining to specify incidents that may have triggered security breaches.

Further measures are being planned for Acleda customers, including data encryption and data markings such as “Classified” or “Confidential”.

“We have invested up to $10 million on increasing security,” Sokharino said.

The new system cannot stop fraud 100 per cent, but the bank is doing as much as possible to protect its customers, he added.

The upgrades should also reduce ATM failure, a frequent consumer complaint.

Senior vice president and head of Acleda’s IT Department Terry Mach said the software investment was a welcome change after repeated crashes in the past.

The infrastructure “has less problems, namely the capacity to accept more than 20 transactions per second. When we started out with 20 ATMs it was no problem, but now with more than 200, the old system was frequently jamming and crashing”, he said.

“The new system can handle more than 100 transactions every second.”

According to Mach, the upgraded version will also be maintained via one central hub in Phnom Penh, leaving maintenance teams based in other countries in the region “unnecessary” and possibly leading to layoffs.

“We will need to hire and train less people,” he said. “It is difficult to quantify the savings the bank will make from the new system, but it is fair to say they will be significant.”

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