International clearing and settlement agency Euroclear is to establish three back-up data centres in Europe as part of a new EUR100 million disaster recovery programme.
Two centres will be located in France, with Euroclear's existing data centre in Belgium serving as the third. All centres will receive and store critical client and depository information and will have the processing and storage capacity to process the entire Euroclear group's transaction volumes.
The programme is based on new standards that Euroclear has defined in the aftermath of 11 September.
Real-time data replications and load balancing will ensure full synchronisation of transaction processing between two 'live' primary data centres at all times, says the depository. This will allow either of the two primary data centres to take over full operation within one hour of a local disaster affecting one of the two data centres.
The third centre will replicate and store all data and will be able to take over operations within three hours of any regional incident that would result in the failure of both primary data centres.
Staff will be housed in offices that are not in the same location as the primary data centres.
Euroclear says it would be able to work in its new business contingency environment within the same business day and for up to two years if necessary.
Pierre Francotte, chief executive officer, Euroclear Bank, says: "It is vital for the service providers on which the financial markets rely to take the necessary measures to mitigate risk and to ensure, as much as humanly possible, their business continuity in the aftermath of a major incident."
In addition, Euroclear intends to spread its critical functions across several office locations situated at a sufficient distance from each other to avoid the risk that they could all be impacted by a single local disaster.
Furthermore, each of the firm's four group office locations - Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Paris - will also serve as additional cross-border back-up facilities in the event of a regional disaster.