Sarbanes Oxley Compliance

By Ian

Within the 69 provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, (aka; SOX compliance Canada), and its hundreds of subparagraphs, there is a new requirement to store or retain documents: “… registered public auditing firms must retain the working papers they use during an audit for 5 years”. A corporation must create and document its internal financial control procedures and keep them freely available for employees and auditors. Corporations must store and retain all transactions that go into the financial statements, but there are no new rules on how long these records should be retained, or how they should be stored so corporations may keep them archived.

The unalterable nature of such information has caused the use of “write-once” or “compliance-edition” tape media to gain favor. Due to its record-only capability, another government regulation (SEC Rule 17a-4) requires the use of unalterable WORM (write-once read-many) storage media to retain records for seven years. This regulation applies to securities brokers and dealers, who have incorporated WORM into their storage environment.

It is important that the corporation can both rely on, and show auditors, that their documentation is authentic and up-to-date. This function is handled very well by most electronic document management systems. The use of check-in/check-out procedures creates a new record each time a document is created and subsequently modified, resulting in an acceptable audit trail. By addressing document control and authentication at the application level, companies that are non-SEC regulated can use any tape storage media to store information

Unfortunately, compliance to Sarbanes-Oxley may be an added cost to public corporations, with no major gain to their bottom line. Since all public companies must comply, there is no competitive advantage. Failure to comply is not an option. Therefore, it would be prudent for companies to budget carefully when implementing their compliance strategies to avoid noncompliance. In regard to data storage, the most cost-effective solution for compliance is the same solution as for all fixed and reference content: automated tape.

Categories : Sarbanes Oxley

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