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EU Compliance Looms for Stateside IT

Storage managers in the U.S. may have finally come to grips with Sarbanes Oxley, but if their firms want to do business in Europe they should brace themselves for even more compliance headaches over the next few years. (See AMR Sees $6B in SOX Spending and IDC: 'Users, Do Your Homework'.)

Like the U.S., countries within the European Union have been hard at work tightening their own financial and homeland security regulations, bringing yet more complexity to the lives of already pressured IT pros.

"If U.S. companies aren't paying attention to this, then they need to, if they want to operate within the E.U.," says Dave Shearer of the U.K.-based Sun User Group. "It's a legal minefield."

In the financial services sector, for example, U.S. firms will come up against the Markets In Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), a new set of regulations for reporting financial transactions. The E.U.-wide directive will come into force early next year, and is expected to prompt some major changes in users' storage systems.

A report released last year by Bob Fuller, director of IT at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, and co-chair of the MiFID Working Group, warned that even in Europe, most financial firms are not ready for the Directive. With the typical firm using as many as 10 separate storage systems, users will need to either deploy middleware or consolidate their storage if they are to share all this transaction data, he explained.

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