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IBM launches compliance initiative

Big Blue announces several products and services to help companies comply with new regulations.

IBM on Wednesday announced several new products and services intended to help businesses comply with a growing tangle of federal regulations.

The company's initiative includes hardware, software and services that were developed in response to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the USA Patriot Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and other recently enacted regulations.

"The current environment of regulatory compliance requirements is forcing companies in all industries to rethink the way they manage data and business information transparently across the enterprise," Jim Bramante, a partner in IBM's Business Consulting Services, said in a statement.

Complying with the laws is expected to help reverse the recent decline in IT spending. HIPAA, which sets privacy rules for medical records kept in digital files, is expected to result in $1 billion to $17 billion in spending. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was drafted after the Enron scandal, requires sweeping corporate disclosure and financial reporting reform. According to AMR Research, companies will spend up to $2.5 billion to comply with the law this year.

IBM isn't alone in attempting to tap this market. Storage company EMC, Hewlett-Packard and Check Point Software also have products they say can help companies comply with regulations.

IBM's products include a service for detecting money-laundering that is related to the USA Patriot Act, an e-mail management service that is in response to regulations of the National Association of Securities Dealers and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and data-retention software.