The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is a sweeping, complex piece of legislation with an enormous impact upon IMC. It goes to the heart of IMC by affecting the way that organizations must manage and control information. Sarbanes-Oxley is designed to improve the accountability and transparency of public companies. In turn, accountability and transparency depend upon trustworthy business records because trustworthy business records are the bedrock of accounting and financial reporting systems. As a result, compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley relies upon a foundation of Information Management practices designed to ensure the accuracy and trustworthiness of business records. In other words, Information Management Compliance.
Section 802 of Sarbanes-Oxley is one of its more disconcerting sections, as it imposes dramatic criminal penalties for the improper destruction or alteration of business records. Proper disposal of business records is as integral a part of Information Management as retention. However, organizations also have an obligation to suspend normal disposition practices in the face of anticipated or ongoing audits, investigations, litigation or other proceedings—including matters contemplated by Section 802.
The second edition of Information Nation, available from John W. Wiley & Sons, describes how organizations can put into place a mechanism to ensure that their employees properly preserve information when faced with proceedings of these kinds. For more information, see www.informationnationbook.com.
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