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Increased regulatory oversight that mandates better corporate control of data at the heart of enterprises is forcing some CIOs and IT managers to take a hard look at the consequences of leaving in place systems with inadequate data retention and disaster recovery capabilities.

To help ease that burden, vendors such as IBM and Permabit Inc. are introducing compliance-specific hardware and software aimed at better capturing and retaining business records.

Looming and existing compliance mandates that apply to broad swaths of companies—including such measures as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the USA Patriot Act, SEC Rule 17 a-4, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—are leaving many organizations unsure how to manage large amounts of data.

According to analysts and users, the prolific rise of e-mail and instant messaging over the last decade is one culprit plaguing companies that face requirements to store all correspondence. “The customer is asking for [compliance guidance] because the regulatory environment has forced the customers to ask those questions. They need help,” said Rob Martens, vice president of Strategic Alliance Development for Cleveland-based KeyBank National Association, a unit of KeyCorp.

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