Big Brother's watching your e-mail retention records, and hefty fines await if you don't follow the rules and regulations. It's because of this regulatory dilemma that Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC Corp. has revamped its Centera content-addressed storage system to specifically target users that must meet federal retention requirements for electronic documents.
On Tuesday, EMC debuted the Centera Compliance Edition, which, according to the company, was designed to solve the challenges associated with managing and storing fixed content, or unchanging data, like document images, e-mail, X-rays and medical records.
Centera is an object-based storage system that holds objects and their metadata.
The new Centera Compliance Edition lets applications embed retention periods in that metadata, letting Centera prevent any data deletion until the period is up.
Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., said that vendors will either have to figure out the regulatory play or get run over.
"Regulatory and compliance issues will be the biggest driver of storage and storage 'change' in the next 18 months," Duplessie said. "It's a huge deal for EMC and everyone else in the game."
Duplessie believes that within two years, public companies will not be able to alter or delete any e-mail for years.
The Centera Compliance Edition features retention enforcement, which enables compliance officers to set hardened retention periods on electronic records. It also satisfies regulations such as SEC Rule 17a-4, enhanced disposition, with "shredding," which ensures that deleted data cannot be recovered using disk scanning tools. The new product also enables compliance with regulations such as Department of Defense directive 5015.2, and application access security, aimed at satisfying the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
EMC's Roy Sanford said that the issue of corporate governance and compliance has become critically important.
"We found that the corporate challenge of regulatory compliance is really quite complex. There are over 4,000 regulations in the U.S. alone, across every industry you can think of," Sanford said.
Sanford said that the lack of corporate compliance stems from the skyrocketing growth of e-mail use, extended retention periods and deficient record-keeping, combined with a lack of personnel to handle the problem.
"Customers are sometimes confused over complexities of the regulations," he said.
Pricing starts at $64,000 for Centera hardware and $84,000 for Centera software, or $148,000 for a 4-terabyte system configuration.
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