Large financial firms that lost employees and office space in Tuesdays disaster in New York were able to carry on business from "mirrored" sites and have ordered new copies of information security software that is used to add customers to proprietary data networks.
Secure Computing, a San Jose security software firm, said many of its customers - financial firms headquartered in lower Manhattan - had to switch to the mirrored sites the firms maintain internally. The switch happened automatically as facilities inside the World Trade Center towers were reduced to rubble: When the buildings went down, with them went many servers tied into proprietary networks handing financial transactions, like wire transfers. Though they refused to identify the firm, Secure Computing execs said one customer runs $70 billion in transactions each day.
Secure Computing helps large financial corporations develop such mirroring scenarios, which include the use of its software application, SafeWord, to generate one-time-use passwords known as tokens. While the technology was developed to maintain business availability in case of a server outage, it seems to be handling the World Trade Center disaster without glitches. Mirror sites reroute the financial traffic to other offices; SafeWord generates the passwords.
But the firms typically keep their token software locked in vaults they cant access because lower Manhattan remains shut down.
"Our production systems are running around the clock getting product to people who set up sites outside of lower Manhattan," said Tom Brady, Secure Computing vice president and director of strategic accounts. "As soon as the FAA closed the airports, we commandeered trucks and drivers, so we are sending thousands of tokens to other locations for these financial institutions."
The first trucks carrying the software left a Secure Computing facility near Minneapolis Wednesday and have delivered more than 2,000 tokens to secure locations outside of New York. More were shipped this morning, and should be delivered in 18 hours or so, Brady said.