Government & Industry Regulations Have an Impact

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Business leaders have been hit from many different directions with new regulations, which has presented or will present a multitude of opportunities for IT professionals as they assist with compliance initiatives, according to a new study published by IDC.


The 10 regulations IDC profiled were selected based on their overall impact, opportunities for the IT industry, level of hype or all of these. Here they are, in no particular order:



  • Container Security Initiative (CSI): A program initiated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security, CSI is designed to enhance security for cargo shipped to the United States in containers.
  • Do-Not-Call Registry: This is the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s national list to curb unsolicited telemarketing.
  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): Disseminated by the Department of Health and Human Services, HIPAA is a set of national standards that pertain largely to privacy and security for health records.
  • No Child Left Behind (NCBL): A bill that deals with elementary education, NCBL requires annual assessments of students’ progress in math and reading.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley: The result of Enron, Adelphia and a few other recent corporate scandals, SOX was passed to establish more thorough standards for corporate financial record-keeping.
  • SEC rule 17a-3 & 4: This is similar to SOX, but specifically relates to brokers and dealers in stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Title 21 CFR Part 11: This instituted standards for electronic signatures and record-keeping for all industries regulated by the Food & Drug Administration.
  • TREAD Act: Passed by Congress in fall of 2000, the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act focuses on four key issues: tires, rollover, child passenger safety, and defects and recalls.
  • USA PATRIOT Act: The controversial USA PATRIOT Act, which was designed to deter global terrorism, put regulations for investment accounts in place to prevent funneling funds to terrorists through money laundering.
  • WalMart’s RFID Mandate: The retail giant is requiring its 100 largest suppliers to place RFID tags on incoming product shipments this year, causing the number of these identifiers to increase by an estimated 1 billion.


All of these new measures can be traced back to three major trends that have developed over the past few years: the rising terrorist threat, the economic effects of illegal and unethical business dealings, and the enormous increase in the capacity for data to be stored and transferred electronically. For better or worse, these movements have led to a swell in regulations and scrutiny by government agencies. IDC believes it will be the former for IT professionals, as they will benefit from job creation brought about by these compliance issues.


A few other conclusions of the report included:



  • Compliance and implementation is a constant, nearly unending process, and opportunities for IT professionals will not disappear once a deadline passes.
  • Of all these regulations, Sarbanes-Oxley has caused both the greatest amount of hype and the most industry impact. Because it compels sweeping reforms of business processes, SOX presents a significant IT opportunity.
  • Specific IT opportunities created by regulations may change over time. Standards and requirements can be amended and/or repealed. Also, regulations can sometimes bring about substantial changes in industries, but may take years to produce innovative opportunities.


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