The Governance Edge

By eweek  |  Posted 2004-10-18

The parade of indictments of top company execs, from Enrons Ken Lay to CAs Sanjay Kumar, has thrust the oft-neglected topic of corporate governance to the forefront. As companies get their corporate acts in order, IT pros should step forward to take a leading role. Without information management, there can be no corporate governance of any kind, good or bad.

IT people will have to take part in the good governance of their own companies, through helping to implement Sarbanes-Oxley, the Patriot Act, SEC 17a-4 and HIPAA compliance solutions. The tools that vendors are offering IT managers to meet these compliance guidelines give IT managers the power to preserve data and audit

it when need be. IT managers need to harness this technology to make good governance a day-to-day practice within their companies.

But more than mere compliance is at stake. There is a significant opportunity to bend the discipline required for good governance to forge tools and practices for competitive advantage. Intellectual property is the most important asset in any organization. This crucial resource, which can be anything from employee compensation information in an HR database to the blueprints for your companys next product, needs to be controlled and monitored at all times. Many companies are implementing WORM storage solutions such as Network Appliances SnapLock and EMCs Centera for reasons of regulatory compliance, but these products can also protect key intellectual property assets, ensuring that archived business data is not altered by unscrupulous hands.

Many in the IT industry are waking up to the fact that the government wants to be a big part of our daily business lives. Click here to read more.

In addition, communication supervision is becoming a common job requirement for IT managers driven in the securities industry, for example, by regulations such as NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) Conduct Rule 3010. Vendors such as iLumin have created solutions to supervise and audit brokers and corporate insiders. These platforms can be customized to meet more advanced needs of virtually any company if IT managers analyze their business processes and customize the base auditing platform.

When shopping for technology, IT managers should also keep in mind that the products they decide on today will probably be part of their company for many years to come. Archive solutions, in particular, need to be able to survive for dozens of years. Thus, technology standards and vendor viability are critical factors when it comes to data archiving.

It follows that the governance practices of the vendors that would be IT suppliers to your company take on added importance. Software provided by CA, for example, is deeply embedded in the infrastructures of many organizations. That vendors own governance practices, however, leave it under a troubling cloud.

IT pros should not only efficiently implement the governance practices of their companies but look for opportunities for competitive advantage as well—and demand sound governance practices on the part of their technology vendors.

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