Regulatory Compliance and Content Archiving: Strategies for Long-term Preservation of Business Critical Data
“You have to keep almost everything, some of it forever,” an IT manager recently remarked. He made his comment while trying to determine the impact of data retention laws and regulations that are spreading from the United States and the European Community to all over the world.
Businesses have always needed to retain certain types of documents. Now, an increasing number of laws and regulations mandate the preservation of many different kinds of data and impose serious financial penalties for non-compliance. E-mail, for example, is regularly used as evidence in legal proceedings, and may be among the first things requested in the legal discovery process. And, failure to provide records on time may subject the company to fines and may negatively affect the outcome of litigation.
In December 2002, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission fined five brokerage houses a total of US $8.25 million for failing to comply with Rule 17a-4, which governs the preservation of communications records. This was only one of the more visible casualties of recent increased regulatory oversight in certain industries.
In the past five years, a myriad of regulations has taken effect requiring the preservation of so-called "fixed-content digital data." Such data is not intended to change, and derives its value from recording information as it existed at a particular point in time. E-mails, x-rays, and check images are all examples of fixed-content data, which now comprises 80 to 90 percent of all storage capacity.
Companies must find ways to accommodate rapid fixed-content data growth. It's not only the lawit's necessary for any organization that wants to optimize storage utilization and maintain a smoothly functioning enterprise.
Coping with regulations
Historically, organizations kept archives of business records for internal use and accounting purposes. Now such records are necessary also for external auditors and regulators, who may need fast access to very specific types of data. Businesses using tape backups may find themselves entangled in a long, cumbersome, and ultimately fruitless endeavor to find emails relevant to their case. Even if the records eventually surface, it may be at the cost of considerable time and disruption to the business.
What's now required is an archiving solution that meets two basic goals: it must preserve records unchanged, and it must make those records easily accessible.
Plenty of storage solutions can make records accessible on demand, but they tend to be very high-performance systems that aren’t cost-effective for archival storage. On the other hand, traditional forms of offline storage (such as tape backups) offer a more budget-friendly approach, but content retrieval can be slow and labor intensive.
The ideal solution lies somewhere in the middle, providing a reasonable level of performance at an optimal cost. It meets several other requirements as well. It does not demand a unique approach to configuration or management, but instead meets industry standards and supports common storage networking and management tools. It should seamlessly integrate with other tiers of storage, while at the same time remaining sufficiently isolated so that it can reduce the disruptive impact of auditing and litigation-based discovery.
Benefits of the “active archive”
The Hitachi Content Archive Platform establishes an “active archive” environment—a single online repository that enables protection, search, and retrieval across numerous content types. Based on a unique SAIN (SANattached Array of Independent Nodes) architecture, the Content Archive Platform leverages Hitachi storage and archive software capabilities for high availability, performance, and multipetabyte scalability.
An active archive ensures that records can be accessed and retrieved in a timely fashion and enables optimal performance of online relational databases by taking infrequently needed data out of the database. And, because it integrates well into existing storage systems, it can be treated as just another tier of storage within a multitiered environment.
Get the Facts
- Analyst Commentary:
Hitachi's New Generation Active Archive Platform.
- White Paper:
Active Archiving: Hitachi Content Archive Platform.
- In the Blogs:
Storage Performance - 2nd Verse of the Performance TCO Theme, David Merrill, Storage Consultant and Solution Architect, Hitachi Data Systems. More
- In the Blogs:
Unstructured Data Demands New Storage Architectures, Hubert Yoshida, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Hitachi Data Systems. More
Learn how an effective archiving strategy can help you better understand your stored data, reduce risks, and lower costs. More
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