Lawyers, not law makers, scare IT managers most

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Lawyers, not law makers, scare IT managers most

Litigation protection rather than government regulation driving technology

Despite the increasing amount of legislation governing the security of company information, it is lawyers, not law makers, that are scaring IT managers most, according to new research.

A survey of almost 500 senior CIOs worldwide found that, while compliance is one of the major issues of concern, legal archiving is the biggest concern.

Over half of IT managers said that legal archiving is their 'chief' concern compared to barely a third for government regulations.

"It is attorneys that are realising the IT threats first, then government," Daniel Drucker, executive vice president at security firm Postini, said.

"They have realised that 90 percent of office communication is electronic and that this kind of evidence is crucial. It is emails on trial. Attorneys are much more aware of this than IT departments and are using this in court."

Drucker cited a Morgan Stanley case two years ago in which the company was unable to produce files that had been incorrectly backed up five years previously.

The judge instructed the jury to assume that, as the files could not be produced, the company was hiding something.

Legal authorities are also increasingly tech-savvy and know the difference between deleted and backed up data, and are cross-examining both for discrepancies.

The current investigation into the cash for honours scandal is proving just how effective this technique can be.

This concern is strongest in the US, which has a "brutal" legal system with high numbers of lawsuits for each company. Britain is leading the EU, but overall the legal load on businesses is rising.

For example, the latest additions to the Financial Services Authority rules and regulations state that computer evidence for trials has to be produced within 48 hours from archives up to five years old.
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