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When it comes to compliance, labeling is key

As evidenced by the creation of the Volcker Rule, buy-side financial institutions, now more than ever, are under the microscope when it comes to adhering to regulations. This makes compliance a key component of business operation and data management.

All too often, however, financial institutions fail to achieve full compliance, mainly because they didn’t do a sufficient job with labeling.

Based on expert analysis of audit reviews, as many as 90 percent of audits that fail do so because of improper labeling of data center components, according to industry news source Data Center Knowledge. This even includes fairly standard things that are easily identifiable but still need to be labeled, such as cables, servers, storage components power panels and wiring.

“Lack of professional, standards-based labeling directly ties into a DC’s configuration management and record-keeping capabilities, especially its ability to reconfigure assets in the event of a catastrophic failure, such as fire, flood, or earthquake,” an audit review executive told DCK. “If you can’t identify the 100,000 or so components and their exact location, you can put the enterprise at operational risk.”

Though there are many different labeling systems that can be used, perhaps the best one involves creating a permanent record, basically the equivalent of a legend that one might find on a map. In addition to showing where each item is located, there should be a chart that helps demonstrate what instruments are attached so that if reconnections need to be made, it can be done with relative ease.

Update legend on an ongoing basis
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that labeling is not a one-time deal. In other words, because data warehousing is almost constantly being updated in order to accommodate additional information, the legend, or permanent record, should be updated accordingly, getting rid of labels that no longer apply.

“The purpose of implementing and maintaining a durable, end-to-end labeling scheme throughout the DC infrastructure is to accelerate tracing and initiate problem-solving measures as quickly as possible to avoid costly downtime,” DCK indicated.

Neatness is paramount when it comes to labeling as well, which is why DCK recommended using a computer to print out labels rather than using a pen or some other writing implement.

An effective labeling system can help maximize compliance in a heightened regulatory environment. Dealing with these changes is one of the biggest concerns for business owners in numerous different industries, according to a recent poll performed by researchers at North Carolina State University.

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