The data headache

Financial institutions need to ensure their IT networks can support their legal GRC requirements. Brocade’s regional sales director Manu Bonnassie discusses how they can.

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The data headache
By  Manu Bonnassie Published  January 19, 2012

Financial institutions need to ensure their IT networks can support their legal GRC requirements. Brocade’s regional sales director Manu Bonnassie discusses how they can.

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

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 per cent of all data by 2013.

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. The ongoing challenge of how to meet demands for real-time, on-the-spot audit trails from regulators, while protecting and securing data and meeting privacy and legislative requirements related to money laundering, share dealing and insider trading — to name but a few — will only get more complex.

Meeting and responding such regulations and legislation places profound strain on an organisation’s IT infrastructure.  The datacentre is at the heart of this challenge; at a time when the industry is under scrutiny and pressure to reduce operational expenditure, deliver efficiency benefits, and provide better customer services and information sharing systems.

With data forming the lifeblood of most if not all financial systems today, the datacentre is no longer under the remit of the IT department alone. Business divisions need to know that the datacentre can enable and deliver on their GRC policies to ensure they meet and manage regulatory requirements.

This complex situation leaves financial services organisations 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 datacentres 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.

The successful and sustained management of GRC policy risks can influence financial institution’s share price, customer loyalty, competitive advantage and cashflow; with further potential to influence reputational risk as was clearly demonstrated during the recent financial crisis.

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.

Ensuring the datacentre network is able to facilitate this evolution, and support a more virtualised platform and approach is critical if financial services organisations are to deliver the real-time audit functions, while maintaining access and uptime, application availability and still balance the cost implications and protect current IT investments.

Today it is not money, but data that makes the world go around; 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.

Manu Bonnassie is regional sales director for CEMEA at Brocade Communications.

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