June 2006 Survey: Data Security Receives a Boost from Compliance Efforts

By Allan Alter  |  Posted 2006-06-14 Print this article Print

One in four respondents complying with Sarbanes-Oxley have disclosed material weaknesses or deficiencies in their controls.

Regulations appear to be achieving what the government intended.
Investors, not CIOs, are in a better position to judge whether Sarbanes-Oxley is improving their confidence in the numbers reported by companies. But CIOs do know a fair amount about security, and they believe that regulations are making financial, customer and employee data more secure—just what legislators hoped for. Meanwhile, compliance isn't proving to be a drag on profitability for most companies. In short, there's been gain without universal pain. However, for the second year in a row, 25 percent or more of respondents who comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act say their company has disclosed material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in internal controls. The surprisingly high number indicates that Sarbanes-Oxley is forcing companies to confront problems with their financial reporting and controls—problems that are widespread.

Story Guide:

  • Finding 1: Many more companies report full compliance with recent regulations than did last year.
  • Finding 2: It's not yet clear whether compliance spending has peaked.
  • Finding 3: Compliance is driving spending on consulting, security and document management.
  • Finding 4: Regulations appear to be achieving what the government intended.

    Read our previous surveys on compliance:

  • Compliance 2005: Is Automating Compliance a Waste of Money?
  • Sarbanes-Oxley 2004: Are You Ready to Comply?

    Executive Editor

    Allan Alter has been a specialist on information technology management, strategy and leadership for many years. Most recently, he was editor-in-chief and the director of new content development for the MIT Sloan Management Review. He has been a columnist and department editor at Computerworld, where he won three awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors. Previously he was a special projects editor, senior editor and senior writer for CIO magazine. Earlier, Alter was an associate editor for Mass High Tech. He has edited two books: The Squandered Computer: Evaluating the Business Alignment of Business Technologies and Redesigning the Firm.


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