Post-Enron paranoia at board level about regulation and transparency is filtering down to IT departments looking at technology that can help with compliance.
Storage firm EMC is targeting that market with a Compliance Edition of its Centera storage appliance that boosts electronic document retention and deletion capabilities.
Used in conjunction with email archiving applications from companies such as Ixos, KVS and Legato, Centera Compliance Edition allows IT managers to set policies for email and other documents, ensuring they are stored for the correct regulatory period.
A 'shredding' feature also ensures that documents are deleted when they have been kept for longer than needed by law, and written over seven times so the data cannot be recovered - a measure that complies with US Department of Defence requirements.
Resellers said they are seeing "huge demand" for this kind of product.
"It is probably the number one area of demand for people looking to save, archive and retrieve documents," said Graham Rowe, marketing director at reseller Positiv. "Regulations are forcing people into having to do it."
Storage value-added reseller Source Consulting has spent £250,000 on a storage set-up that includes the Centera appliance, and said that 60 clients have been to see it in the last two months.
Jason Rabbetts, commercial director at Source, said: "It's not just the compliance issue. Companies are also looking at smarter ways of storing data and we are particularly seeing it in the email space. This is the start of a trend."
Although Compliance Edition focuses mainly on meeting US regulatory requirements, analysts and industry observers say UK companies are increasingly concerned about transparency.
"This is likely to lead to people saying they need more information at the board level, and there are going to be more demands for software that addresses corporate responsibility," said Mike Davis, senior researcher at analyst Butler Group.
Centera Compliance Edition is now available in the UK. The list price begins at $148,000 (£95,000) for a 4TB configuration.
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