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Get Audit-Ready with Active Archiving

RubyNicholson

Bill Mannel.jpg

Guest blog written by Bill Mannel, VP & GM – HPC, Big Data & IoT Solutions, HPE Servers 

Audit is a dreaded word regardless of a company’s size or industry.

Audits mean lists of probing questions, endless requests for detailed records, and a complete exposure of nearly every internal business process. The growth of Big Data has made responding to regulatory audits even more challenging as companies contend with an ever-increasing volume and variety of critical business data, much of which must be retained for defined periods of time in order to maintain compliance. 

Regulatory bodies conduct audits to ensure manufacturers are adhering to the standards, regulations, and practices that must be complied with in order to produce and market products. Depending on sector, compliance audits could focus on areas like product quality, health, safety, and environment (HSE) management, data security, and export controls.

As manufacturers increasingly globalize operations amid supply chain complexity and expanding regulatory requirements, maintaining compliance has become both an utmost priority and an utmost struggle for manufacturers. Recent research from PwC found executives in the manufacturing sector ranked the evolving regulatory landscape among the top three barriers to growth in the current economy.

The risks of non-compliance for manufacturers include billion-dollar fines, tarnished corporate reputations, and decreased financial performance. Because so much of today’s audits center on company data, compliance officers must constantly ensure that information is kept organized, secure, and easily accessible. Manufacturers can ready themselves for the inevitable regulatory event by adopting improved data governance and archiving strategies.

A key challenge is that many data storage systems simply aren’t capable of handling the tremendous demands of today’s data. Many organizations lack the proper IT infrastructure or personnel to effectively manage, store, categorize, secure, search, and extract insight from their ever-growing volumes of data. However, without a Big Data strategy manufacturers cannot ensure product quality or safety, maintain records for defined periods of time as specified by regulatory bodies, or dispose of aging information in a timely manner.

An active archive is one way manufacturers can confidently manage and preserve their information, as well as ensure the right data will be available at the right time. With active archiving, data that is no longer needed on a frequent basis can be moved from primary storage to the active archive to save costs and brought back again instantly to fulfill compliance demands or respond to an unexpected regulatory event. This method of tiered storage serves to make data more organized and available, while organizations can reap the cost benefits of having older data reside on a less expensive media type.  

The inherent features of most active archives can also aid in compliance initiatives. For example, many active archives can be built to include audit trails, which record activity on a specific file from creation to retirement. Metadata can make it easier to track the location of data within the system, making files easily searchable to help companies respond quickly and efficiently in the event of an audit.

Taking a proactive approach to data storage and management is the most important step in readying the organization for a possible regulatory audit. A hands-on strategy enables manufacturers to fully understand the body of data across the company and make it easily discoverable, compliant, and accessible. With the advancement of storage technologies, it’s no longer acceptable to manage data reactively and in silos.

Manufacturers must find ways to directly manage, control, and improve availability of their enterprise information in order to meet regulatory requirements and reduce risk. Active archives can help manufacturers lower storage costs, comply with evolving regulations, and gain valuable data insights that will contribute to business growth and competitive advantage.

Don’t dread the audit… just take control of your data.

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About the Author

RubyNicholson

I am a Senior Manager managing external content and social media for HPE Servers Awareness. Stay tuned for topics on Mission Critical Solutions, Core Enterprise and SMB Solutions, Next Gen Workload Solutions, Big Data and HPC, Cloudline and HPS Options! Follow me @RubyD_Nich