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Data Center

Manu Bonnassie (Middle East): Delivering Regulation in Real-Time: The Data Center in the Spotlight

Today it is not money, but data that makes the world go around, putting the data center at the forefront of financial organizations’ efforts to remain commercially competitive, while complying with ever more complex regulatory requirement. 

The concept of the data center as a single, physically secure space -full of servers and fans – is fading fast.  International customers, stakeholders and regulators are demanding real-time access to services and audit information, regardless of their location or platform of choice.  This increased real-time regulation means financial services organizations have to evolve their IT infrastructures and data centers to become proactive, versus reactive, in balancing risk management and mitigation with return on investment, and to ensure they are complaint as new regulation comes into force.

The amount of data businesses will have to manage in future will increase exponentially.  The proportion of that data which is governance, risk or compliance (GRC) sensitive will account for more than 30 percent of all data by 2013 (IDL, May 2011).

With regulatory requirements continuing to increase and expand, the proportion of data that will fall under the GRC banner is one reason for this growth. Financial services, in particular, expect the amount of GRC data they collate/manage will become the largest proportion of their data universe. 

Meeting and responding to such regulations and legislation places profound strain on an organization’s IT infrastructure.  The data center is at the heart of this challenge. However, data centers and business units and their applications and data typically exist in silos, making real-time audit and reporting an expensive, complex and often impossible challenge - where reports are often out of date by the time they are generated, or do not contain the necessary data to facilitate decision making and effective risk management. 

Regulators look to the Data Centre for Real-Time Delivery

With consumer and shareholder confidence remaining shaky, the regulatory framework continues to expand and is likely to demand ever more detailed and complex process and reporting requirements. Subsequently, the need to deliver real-time audits of GRC data or self-regulation without incurring massive cost increases.

This complex situation leaves financial services organizations trying to maintain high-levels of GRC data management effectiveness, while being unable to manage the risks inherent from unverified GRC data from external sources involved in the deal or transaction. This has fuelled demand for more sophisticated business intelligence so that risk and compliance policy owners are better able to draw insight from applications and data sources to support decision making and deliver more robust data governance.

While this may help in the interim, financial services data centers must move into a GRC-ready mode that is flexible, secure, available and scalable to avoid future non-compliance, costly processing errors, increased risk, even more costly manual auditing operations, and to continue to cope effectively with the increasing volumes in data that are expected. To remain GRC-reactive is not an option.

“Don’t React, Respond”: An Integrated Data Centre for Reporting Requires an Intelligent Network

Best practice for GRC policy, as supported by auditors, is increasingly based upon an integrated approach rather than a fragmented or silo based model. Integration and consolidation are key elements within a GRC policy: it has been suggested that data centers addressing individual regulatory demands will spend up to 10 times more on the IT solution than those that take a more integrated approach. 

Consequently, data needs to be derived directly and rapidly from the Storage Area Network (SAN), through a highly virtualized Ethernet, Fiber Channel or Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) environment, and converted dynamically into Key Risk Indicator (KRI) measurements.  Emerging technologies such as Ethernet fabrics can also deliver advantages to next generation data centers; by providing simpler, faster and more powerful networks, Ethernet fabrics help organizations improve productivity while drastically reducing operational expenditure.

Ensuring the data center network is able to facilitate this evolution, and support a more virtualized platform and approach is critical. Today, financial institutions need to ensure their networks can support their GRC requirements to be able to engage with the economy of the future – one built on data.

By Manu Bonnassie, Regional Sales Director (Central Europe, Middle East and Africa) at Brocade Communications

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