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Banking on Data Storage for Operational Resilience in Finance

Scott Sinclair

Dan McConnell

Senior Vice President, Product Management, Digital Infrastructure, Hitachi Vantara

Dan leads Product Management and Enablement for Hitachi Vantara’s industry-leading portfolio of Infrastructure Products that are used by more than 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies.  Dan and his team are responsible for delivering Hitachi Vantara’s award-winning portfolio and for driving strategic direction to accelerate its success. He is passionate about working with complex technologies and comprehending market trends and emerging technologies to meet the needs of global customers now and in the future. He joined the company in 2019.

Prior to joining Hitachi Vantara, Dan spent 20 years at Dell Technologies where he held a variety of senior leadership roles leading Engineering, Product Management and Product Marketing organizations for Dell’s large storage and HCI portfolios. During his tenure he also led several storage-related acquisitions and was a part of the leadership team for the integration office responsible for the Dell and EMC merger. 

Dan holds a Bachelor of Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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The growing complexities of financial services IT systems during this time of rapid change is creating a perfect storm of risk – shining a spotlight on the need for operational resilience like never before. With multiple agents at play and often simultaneously, businesses emerging from COVID-19 understand deeply how adaptability factors into their survival.

The stakes have never been higher for financial service institutions, dependent on the ability to maintain connectivity within IT systems to keep money flowing to businesses and the consumers. The risks associated with a lack of reliability and agility—especially with regards to data storage – are simply no longer acceptable.

Operational resilience is an organization’s ability to prepare for, withstand and recover from disruptions and to continue operations. Disruptions may come from any type of internal or external operational risk and include technology-based failures, cyberattacks, pandemics and natural disasters. On October 30, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation first issued guidance on sound practices for US banking organizations to strengthen their operational resilience. Also in 2020, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision first published their Principles for Operational Resilience. Both organizations committed to meeting regularly to focus on strengthening a framework of recommendations.

Accordingly, financial institutions of all sizes need to start thinking about how their data storage may potentially help or harm their operational resilience, especially during times of stress. Financial institutions need to move beyond rigid systems and traditional business operations in order to create a more adaptable way of doing business—one that enables them to be prepared to react and recover quickly from the types of change that threaten continuity of data access, storage availability, service and security.

Financial service institutions reliant storage, either on premise or cloud, along with third party solutions can be prone to operational failure. Financial institutions undertaking new technology implementations without effective backup can create unacceptable down-time circumstances. The inability to take a holistic view across on-prem and cloud storage to assure performance and security can create untold risk when it comes to failures, IT outages and cyberattacks. Over-reliance on single-site architectures along with the inability to rapidly shift storage within a hybrid model leaves operations and access vulnerable to disruptions. In addition, as a transforming business world drives faster toward cloud and hybrid models, complexities are intensifying, and all at a time of a major skills shortage.

Adapt and Thrive

With these increased threats to business continuity, financial institutions should take steps to evaluate their storage architectures and systems. Three immediate actions recommended in the guidance include:

1. Break down siloes

Move away from data storage siloes to develop end-to-end views and access across systems—both on-prem and cloud—to improve information security and cyber resilience.

2. Build in flexibility

Develop storage structures and management capabilities that enable swift action during rapidly changing situations. Retire and replace obsolete systems and bolster data management.

3. Monitor and report

Preparing for current and possible future regulatory requirements though the ability to easily monitor, report and stress test across your entire storage eco-system. Strengthen due diligence with third-party vendors.

How Storage as a Service Can Help

STaaS features a service delivery model that automates many of the more complex tasks associated with deploying traditional arrays. As a result, time to deploy is radically reduced and skills and resource gaps create less of an issue. STaaS creates an infrastructure safety net, enabling the ability to leverage third-party assets, adding resilience to existing infrastructure by providing remote facilities necessary for disaster recovery, backup, and archive.

With its ability to increase or decrease capacity as needed, STaaS allows businesses to plan for capacity bursting on demand, reducing the operational risk associated with long-term capacity planning. STaaS also enables the ability to quickly apply data services, automate storage to adapt to shifting workloads and easily migrate across on-prem and cloud. Cloud management and easy dashboard-focused monitoring and reporting also help financial services prepare for skills gaps, resource shortages and upcoming reporting needs.

These features, along with non-disruptive updates prioritize operational continuity. STaaS, because of its unique model of services delivery around uptime, availability and security creates a dynamic of symbiosis that goes beyond typical capex third-party relationships.


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