Post-Enron worries at board level about meeting financial regulatory requirements are filtering down to IT departments, which are looking at technology that can help with compliance.
Storage firm EMC is targeting the market with a Compliance Edition of its Centera storage appliance which boosts electronic document retention and deletion capabilities.
Used in conjunction with email archiving applications from companies such as Ixos, KVS and Legato, IT managers are able to set policies for email and other documents, ensuring that they are stored for the correct regulatory period.
A 'shredding' feature also ensures that documents which no longer need to be kept are deleted. In accordance with US Department of Defense requirements, the data is written over seven times making it effectively impossible to recover.
Although Centera Compliance Edition focuses mainly on meeting US regulatory requirements set by the Securities and Exchange Commission, analysts and industry observers point out that UK companies are increasingly worried about transparency.
"The whole issue of corporate responsibility has really shot up in the mindset of directors," said Mike Davis, senior researcher at analyst Butler Group.
"This is likely to lead to people saying that they need more information at board level, and there are going to be more demands for software that addresses corporate responsibility."
Lars Davies, senior visiting fellow at the Institute of Computer and Communications Law at Queen Mary University of London, explained that features such as data deletion allow companies to comply with existing UK laws.
"Deletion is very important from the point of the Data Protection Act in the UK," he said. "If companies have records with personal data, once their use has expired that data must be deleted."
Mike Killian, senior technologist at EMC, argued that UK firms would need the extra features, especially if they operate in the US or trade on the US Stock Exchange.
"It really requires the additional features of retention, in spirit at least. It is a fundamental feature," he warned.
Centera Compliance Edition is now available in the UK. Prices begin at $148,000 (£95,200) for a 4TB configuration.
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