The central bank has launched a Data Centre and Disaster Recovery Site in Kumasi, the Ashanti Region capital, to create a robust business continuity system that will deal disruptions in operations and possible reputational damages.
Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, said the centre will serve as a backup to deal with IT-related disruptions.
Bank of Ghana’s information systems are central to the successful delivery of its mandate. Almost all operations of the Bank require the use of one IT facility or the other.
According to Dr Addison, this backup data centre in Kumasi mirrors a similar system at the central bank head office in Accra.
In the event that the head office data centre is not functional, the backup system in Kumasi will be activated and the Bank’s network would resume ensuring seamless operations.
In recognition of the criticality of the IT assets, the Bank of Ghana has developed an Information Security Management System (ISMS) strategy which among others emphasises preventive as well as corrective measures to deal with IT-related disruptions.
“Such preventive measures are aimed at building resilience into the IT system to reduce the probability and impact of disruptions to the system,” the Governor explains. The centre is very critical because where there is a disruption; the Bank’s IT Disaster Recovery Plans are to be invoked to ensure that the Bank delivers time-critical business functions,” said Dr Addison.
Current ICT efforts
Starting from 2005, the Bank launched the computerisation project dubbed IMPACT 05 which stands for Improving and Modernizing Processes to Achieve Continuous Transformation, a project that resulted in technology-driven operations at the central bank.
This was followed by another computerisation project which established the Bank’s first data centre by converting three offices at the Head office into a single open space.
Another room at the Kumasi office was converted to serve as the data recovery site for the Bank.
As the Bank’s data and ICT needs grew over time, space became a challenge and a plan was developed to build a new and modern data centre.
Dr Ernest Addison indicates that as a central bank, business continuity is one of the key tenets of its operations.
“Our mandate to formulate monetary policy to ensure price stability and our role as a banker to government is such that the Bank cannot afford an operational shutdown under whatever circumstance. This, therefore, calls for the need to construct a state of the art data centre and disaster recovery sites which meet international standards to deal with unexpected events that may lead to a total shutdown of the Bank’s operations,” he explained further.
Consequently, the Bank’s Business Continuity Plan envisaged the establishment of a high-end and cost-effective Emergency Operating Centre (EOC).
The first construction was the primary EOC at the Bank of Ghana Complex in Accra.
On completion, the need arose for the Bank to have a second data centre of the same rating at a different geographical area to comply with the Bank’s ISO27001 and Business Continuity standards.
Dr. Addison says due to space constraints at the Kumasi office, a proposal was made to Management for the use of a parcel of land owned by the Bank at Ahinsan for the purpose.
This was intended to act as a backup in case of an emergency or disaster where the Bank may not be able to relocate to the primary EOC in Accra, and rather operate from Kumasi.
The two-year project was constructed by the construction firm, Messrs SuperTech Limited (STL) on May 30, 2016, for the design and build of the Ahinsan Data Centre.
The structure composition
The Disaster Recovery Site is a three-storey structure with a gross floor area of approximately 2,890 square meters.
Provisions have been made for Business Continuity Offices, General Office Spaces, Executive Offices, Meeting Rooms and most critically, the Data Centre.
The building is also disability friendly and fitted with state-of-the-art security installations. The deployment of a Building Management System also ensures the efficient use of energy.
“Taking into account how hard infrastructure enhances economic activity in the local communities, we intend to make the roads that surround us as motorable as possible,” Dr Addison said.
He said the bank intends to build the bridge over the Susuan Stream to connect the neighbouring community as part of our corporate social responsibility.
“Our facilities management team is hereby tasked to ensure the functionality and maintenance of the various components of this structure at all times. The launch of the Ahinsan Data Centre and Disaster Recovery Site marks a significant milestone in the Bank’s operations and gives, “we comfort that our IT systems and data backups are fully secured,” he said.