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Legal Requirements for Critical Infrastructure - Part 3

Posted by Andrea Short on Apr 24, 2014 2:27:14 PM

 

Avoid becoming Baxendale: Assessing the actual risk.

In my last two blogs, I presented the 19th Century Hadley vs. Baxendale case and its potential consequences for businesses today. To recap, an enterprise that does not deliver goods or services as promised/expected can be liable for damages.  The inability to deliver can result from willful neglect or from an accident of some sort.  In today’s IT-intensive operations, that could range from a major disaster to a minor firmware glitch in a single blade server – basically anything that can cause unplanned downtime.  The “agreement” between the parties can be a formal, legal contract.  But it can also be the result of:
  1. A statutory requirement, such as a law or regulation (e.g., HIPAA, SOX, etc.)
  2. Common law
What it comes down to is that if you wonder about being liable in situations where you can’t deliver goods or services as reasonably expected, you probably are.

Finding a way to reduce the liability    

You know where you stand on a disaster recovery plan.  You either have one or you don’t.  But the “minor” firmware glitch I mentioned above can be the cause of extremely costly unplanned downtime as well.  How well are you prepared to deal with that?  Are your IT assets covered by:

A. No Support at all?

B. Warranty-only support that covers only manufacturing defects in the server itself?

C. Reactive hardware-only support -- or combo hardware/software support - that will fix things when they break?

D. Proactive support that will identify and resolves issues before they impact your operations

E. All of the above?

If you are like most companies, the answer is probably “E.”  The first step in reducing your potential liability is to sort out which IT assets are covered and by what.  But that can be a major challenge.

A great approach for sorting it all out

With hundreds, or perhaps thousands of IT assets purchased at different times, it may be difficult and time-consuming to figure out exactly which assets fall into categories A through D.  It’s important to sort all that out, however, to prevent you from:
  • Overspending for support you may already have, thereby wasting $$$ that could be spent elsewhere
  • Under-buying support for assets that are critical to your business operations
  • Losing coverage as support agreements expire
That’s where HP Infrastructure Asset & Service Assessment can really help.
This inventory solution delivers a single consolidated view of your entire hardware infrastructure.  Its three-phased approach:
  1. Captures current hardware attached to your network
  2. Provides a service entitlement look-up of all the collected serial numbers
  3. Creates a comprehensive report that will assist your IT support planning
In addition to the support status, HP Infrastructure Asset & Service Assessment can also provide you with a breakdown of assets by device type, SLA and vendor – all valuable information to have.

A better view of the road ahead

Now that you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you can make informed decisions about adopting an IT support strategy that will allow you to better reach your business goals AND reduce your potential liability from unplanned downtime.  If you decide that you’d rather prevent most downtime issues from ever occurring rather than dealing with them after they do, there are a number of excellent proactive support plans now available.  I’ll discuss what is probably the best one for x86 environments - HP Proactive Care - in my next blog.  If you still believe that “proactive support” is another term for “high-priced support,” this is one service that will definitely make you think again.
If you’d like to schedule an HP Infrastructure Asset & Service Assessment to find out exactly where you stand – or want to know more about HP Proactive Care right now - contact your Avnet representative.

Tags: Business, common law, data center consolidation, Data Center Solutions, hardware, HIPAA, HP, hpe, infrastructure, IT, software, solutions, sox, supplier, technology, Avnet Technology Solutions, B2B, legal, sales, security, services, Suppliers, support

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