Sarbanes-Oxley sparks forensic apps interest

Most companies working on Sarbanes-Oxley projects are focused on documenting their internal financial controls to meet the...

Most companies working on Sarbanes-Oxley projects are focused on documenting their internal financial controls to meet the compliance deadlines that take effect late this year.

But the law's requirements are also beginning to generate interest in computer forensics tools that could be used to help identify potential cases of financial fraud. 

For example, Avery Dennison is piloting software announced this week by Oversight Technologies which can be used to monitor finance systems for irregular transactions.

Mark Van Holsbeck, director of enterprise security at Avery Dennison, said the software should cut the time workers spend poring over printouts of financial data to determine whether any information has been altered or corrupted. 

Avery Dennison's use of the Oversight tool, which is being tested on a combination of Wintel and HP-UX platforms, was not driven by the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Van Holsbeck said. But the technology should help the company satisfy components of the financial reporting law. 

Other users are expected to come to the same conclusion about computer forensics technology, which can track how data is used and modified. 

Meta Group analyst John Van Decker said he expected to see an uptick in forensics technology investments related to Sarbanes-Oxley starting this summer.

Michael Rasmussen, an analyst at Forrester Research, estimated that about a third of the clients he works with have put an investigative response plan in place, including the use of business intelligence tools and other technologies to help monitor ERP and e-mail systems for evidence of potential wrongdoing. 

Pricing for Oversight's monitoring tools starts at $85,000 and can go up to about $200,000, based on the number of end users, said chief executive officer Patrick Taylor. 

Other suppliers of forensics tools include Guidance Software, Consul Risk Management and Addamark Technologies which will announce upgraded software for storing and tracking system log data. 

Thomas Hoffman writes for Computerworld


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