Companies must prepare in advance for new legislation governing how information is stored on corporate systems, according to analyst IDC.
With the EU predicted to adopt many of the recommendations on corporate governance set out by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US, UK firms are likely to be handed explicit guidelines on how to store email and other documents on their IT systems.
Speaking ahead of the IDC Storage Connections event this week in London, IDC analyst Claus Egge said IT and storage professionals should consider the necessary procedures and technologies needed for compliance now, in order to give themselves a head start when legislation is introduced.
"It is ultimately about creating a checklist for any given company in the UK, saying 'this is what we need to do'. But specific industries such as finance, pharmaceuticals and telecoms will all have different sets of requirements that they have to comply with," said Egge.
Andy Stubley, director of storage specialist EMC's Centera division, said that many firms are already putting the necessary measures in place for their own peace of mind.
"Regulations [on data storage] at the moment are fairly lax, but there will be a huge increase in the amount of data than must be held over the next 18 months to two years," he said.
Egge highlighted email archiving, the increased use of write-once read-many media, information lifecycle management and content-aware storage as a few of the technologies which firms should consider for the future, though in some cases companies will simply need to improve the way they manage existing systems.
"The storage vendors all hope that demand for new infrastructure will filter through, but this is essentially a management exercise," he said.
Ulf Zetterberg, EMC vice president of EMEA marketing for Legato, added: "It is actually a mixture of both; firms must first of all clean up what systems they already have, but in many cases they will have to build up completely new infrastructure."
It is anticipated that new legislation will demand that firms' archiving solutions must guarantee that the information they hold has not been changed, and keep it for a specific period of time before automatically deleting it.
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