Isn't That Special?
Well beyond dashboards and monitoring programs, a curious cottage industry of more specialized compliance-related software has emerged in the wake of Sarbanes-Oxleyand many of these programs are likely to end up as part of the applications mix in the post-Sarbanes era. For example, Boardroom Software Inc.'s Equity Manager manages the administration of company stock, stock options, debt and warrants, and provides automated audit trails and up-to-the-minute reports about every transaction. Management can avoid, or quickly be alerted to, unwanted transactions such as restricted trades, insider activity and issuances of stock or options above board-authorized levels. Without a program like Equity Manager, most companies track purchases and sales of equity by insiders and other high-stake shareholders with spreadsheets and manual filesand too often lose control of the data. "That is no longer acceptable now that we have to certify quarterly financials, which requires knowing exactly where we stand on every bit of stock activity," says Rich Connelly, chief financial officer at Citadel Security Software Inc., a maker of network protection software and an Equity Manager purchaser. "We have about 200 stakeholders to monitor, representing more than 25 percent of our fully diluted outstanding shares."
E-mail protection is another potential hot-growth area propelled by Sarbanes-Oxley. Many companies already protect inbound e-mails and instant messages from spam, viruses, obscene language and other irritations, but programs such as MessageGate, from Boeing spin-off MessageGate Inc., and Frontbridge Technologies Inc.'s TrueProtect stress extensive outbound e-mail security. To guard against fraud and monitor suspicious behavior, for instance, rules can be written that say if "internal use only" appears in a message or an attachment, then the e-mail should be blocked or traced to see if it's a symptom of illicit activity.