Sarbanes-Oxley: Ready—or Not?

With the deadline for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act looming, companies such as EMC and HP are developing technologies to aid enterprises' compliance efforts.

As they brace for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to kick in next week, U.S. enterprises are keeping tabs on escalating data management requirements associated with e-mail, messaging and recovery processes.

To aid their compliance efforts, companies such as EMC Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. are developing new technologies and upgrades to existing ones that boost records management capabilities.

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Beginning next week, companies that have public float, or publicly owned shares, exceeding $75 million and that have fiscal years ending on or after Nov. 15 must comply with internal control reporting and disclosure requirements per Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Companies with less than $75 million in public float have until July 15 to comply with Section 404.

For companies such as The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, IT is playing an increasing role in their compliance efforts. Bob Mathers, second vice president of IT operations for the New York company, relies on EMCs Centera platform to ensure the companys images are unchanged and integrity maintained.

"We do get quite a few requests where people would like to see e-mails from John Doe from the last three months. Access is easy and readily available, and we know [the data] has not been altered," said Mathers.

This week, EMC will announce the availability of the EMC Documentum ApplicationXtender 5.2 product, which combines a separately priced EMC Documentum Records Manager module and a new Web-based workflow client that integrates with the existing document management suite. Optimized for Windows and .Net, the module will provide simplified fixed-content retention management.

According to officials in Hopkinton, Mass., EMC is also considering adding AXs imaging capabilities to Documentums core platform. Integration with Documentums eRoom collaboration technology is also on tap.

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HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., is working with database companies and third-party software developers to build tools that extend its HP StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System to active-archive unstructured data within Oracle Corp.s database, Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server and Sybase Inc.s database applications. Up until now, RISS has managed data from e-mail, messaging and office documents only.

The products will be available by early next year.

Also stepping up development is Permabit Inc. and CommVault Systems Inc. Permabit will introduce later this quarter new storage configurations for its Permeon Compliance Vault product that allow for greater amounts of capacity to be collocated, said officials in Cambridge, Mass.

CommVault, of Oceanport, N.J., this week will upgrade its QiNetix software with new features including Recovery Director and integration with Network Appliance Inc.s SnapVault product.

For most administrators, Sarbanes-Oxley is ushering in a whole new era of IT.

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"We went down this road 18 months ago, and its still an upwards climb," said Vincent Cottone, vice president of Infrastructure Services for Boston-based Eaton Vance Corp., which runs Veritas Software Corp.s KVS Enterprise Vault Discovery Accelerator for e-mail record retention and Enterprise Vault Compliance Acceleration. "I believe everybody is going to have to keep going through refinement to find better ways of handling of the [internal] controls and testing of those controls."

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