Google Cloud blamed for UniSuper outage

Systems outage downtime UniSuper

UniSuper has reported a persistent, multi-day outage, with members unable to access their accounts online.

UniSuper members, which number more than 648,000, have reported being unable to access their online accounts, use on-site super calculators, alter their investment allocations, or make withdrawal requests.

As well, UniSuper confirms that payments are unable to be processed from employers.

UniSuper members have claimed that they have been unable to access services since the beginning of this week; however, UniSuper has stated that the outage occurred at the earliest on Wednesday.

In an update to members on the UniSuper website, the superannuation fund confirmed the issue originated from “a third-party service provider”; this has since been identified as Google Cloud.

UniSuper added that it is “actively partnering” with the service provider to resolve the issue.

“We’re working around the clock to get systems back online swiftly, safely and securely,” UniSuper wrote on its website.

UniSuper said that it was informed by Google Cloud that the disruption was not a result of malicious action or cyber-attack, with no member data exposed to unauthorised parties as a result of this issue.

In a follow-up email issued to members on Thursday evening – days after the initial fault was first identified by members – UniSuper said it was “unable to confirm a timeline for restoration”.

It added: “Unfortunately, this has caused disruption across the business.”

“We are in the process of finalising how we are able to process member requests during this time in a way that is fair and equitable for members, as you expect and deserve.”

Peak financial services body, the Financial Services Union (FSU), weighed in on the multi-day service disruption, blasting the super fund’s decision to outsource roles in the delivery and information business unit – “the very unit and people who are now working double time to fix this problem”.

The FSU issued a letter to UniSuper chief executive Peter Chun on 2 May, calling for an urgent briefing on the outage covering impacts on staff and fund members.

UniSuper members took to social media to vent their frustration with the outage and delay in correspondence from the super fund.

“#UniSuper’s app & website has been down for several days with an apologetic message about a temporary [sic] situation that is being fixed. No emails or txts [sic] to members in explanation. Zip on its @UniSuperNews,” posted one prominent user of social media network X, formerly Twitter.

Another user posted: “No update from UniSuper on ‘system outage’ reported to members 9.15 Thurs night. Question is if the fund has nothing to add how bad is the problem?”

On Reddit, prior to the Thursday night email update provided by UniSuper, users posted: “I would expect regular updates at the very least, but they have provided exactly 0 updates or transparency. I understand outages happen, but the extended timeframe and poor communication during it really makes me question staying with them long term given the many other competitive [sic] options out there like REST and Hostplus.”

“The lack of any communication is poor form which has me questioning the cause and how they operate also.”

As of Friday (03/05), 4:45 pm, UniSuper’s online services remain down.