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Firm eases e-mail monitoring issues

Records management company Iron Mountain has a new service that attempts to ease the laborious task of supervision and regulatory compliance.

Records retention company Iron Mountain Inc. will today announce a new feature to its digital archives service that's intended to make the compliance officer's job a little easier.

The service gives compliance officers a single workspace to address the archiving and supervision of electronic communication, and it includes features that make it easier to comply with federal investigations. It will be unveiled at the Securities Industry Association (SIA) Technology Management Conference & Exhibit in New York.

As businesses continue to grapple with stringent archiving and retention regulations, a number of vendors are trying to keep ahead of the curve by introducing products and services to meet the demand. Many of them are introducing tools and services at the conference this week.

Boston-based Iron Mountain has made enhancements to its electronic records management service that include a messaging supervision service that can help customers comply with regulations, as well as new "Discovery Folders" functionality.

New York Stock Exchange regulations stipulate that securities firms establish procedures to monitor electronic communications and keep auditable records of supervisory reviews. Though it's an area largely overlooked by businesses and vendors, "supervision" of electronic documents is becoming more of a hot button among compliance officers.

According to Margaret Rimmler, vice president of marketing, enterprise solutions and services for Iron Mountain, the supervision service for electronic communication will help corporate compliance officers manage risks and reduce liability.

The supervision service enables companies to set extensive review policies dependent on needs and regulations, Rimmler said. The service allows compliance officers to set predetermined policy parameters, including random sampling, lexicon sampling and escalation logic, to monitor specific groups or individual e-mails and instant messages more closely.

Communications that have been flagged because of the preset rules are accessible via a secure Web-based supervision interface that allows reviewers to read and take action. A detailed audit trail is also implemented for every communication at question, so administrators can document all actions taken against the message, as per NYSE and National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) regulations.

The new service also includes Discovery Folders, which help compliance officers save time and resources by providing a better way to sort, manage and analyze the discovery information, Rimmler said.

The folders allow compliance officers to perform searches within Iron Mountain's Digital Archive and organize result sets into relevant folders for future reference. Folders can be easily created, updated and exported to case management software for regulatory investigations or litigation discovery. The folders support any type of information stored in the archive, including e-mails, instant messages, images and computer output.

A growing number of companies are enhancing their supervision features, said Patrick Gordon, a consultant at Compliant Systems Consulting LLC, in Medfield, Mass.

Vendors such as Iron Mountain are under pressure from customers to make good on these demands. But Gordon said there are a lot of issues surrounding what the Securities and Exchange Commission actually wants. "It's a very arcane area that hasn't been well delineated by the financial firms or the vendors," he said. "There are still some very nebulous areas to the rules."

Although Gordon said Iron Mountain's enhancements are addressing demand, as are other vendors products, Gordon said it's unclear whether vendors are winning any sales for supervision tools.

"Surveillance is the big hype right now," Gordon said. "The market is saturated, and all the vendors are trying to differentiate themselves.


Let us know what you think about the story. E-mail Kate Evans-Correia, Senior News Editor

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