SWIFT to upgrade global financial messaging platform

Group calls version 7.0 of SWIFTNet the 'equivalent of an upgrade to global finance's OS'

The Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), the financial messaging provider for more than 9,500 financial firms in 209 countries, will release the 7.0 version of its platform that will affect both messaging and connectivity.

Version 7.0 of its messaging platform, SWIFTNet, will be available in December, and will include an upgrade in security as well as moving from a file format for storing messaging information to an Oracle database.

SWIFT said the upgrade also supports disaster recovery by allowing firms to mirror messaging data between data centers.

"These new Oracle databases are quite resilient and you can have ... facilities to [mirror] the databases. The databases have higher performance than the old file system," said said Victor Abbeloos, product director at SWIFT. "A customer can use their own Oracle infrastructure to store the data ... and that reduces their cost."

Financial firms using SWIFT's platform will have 15 months to upgrade their messaging servers to use the upgraded platform, Abbeloos said. The new software will be shipped to customers, or users can download a patch.

SWIFT's platform, which leverages industry standard data formats such as ISO 20022 XML, provides both e-mail type communication (known as FIN), a file transfer service (FileAct) and an instant messaging format (InterAct) for financial institutions such as brokerages, banks and clearing houses.

"In 2007, we introduced a new security scheme on our main FIN service, and that's now becoming available on FileAct and InterAct," Abbeloos said.

SWIFT said the changes will affect both messaging on its SWIFTNet and alliance and third-party network interfaces, Abbeloos said. SWIFT is upgrading security on FileAct by adding RMA (Relationship Management Application) support for FileAct and InterAct messages.

"So before I get a message, the system checks to see if I've already established a relationship. You could compare this to a spam filter," Abbeloos said.

Fabien Vandenreydt, SWIFT's head of product management, said in a statement, "This update is the equivalent of an upgrade to global finance's OS. Underlying the whole project is our commitment to reduce the total cost of ownership for SWIFT users and deliver improved interoperability."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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