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WebEx Banks on Compliance Demand

Web meeting specialist WebEx Communications has a newly minted service to help financial firms comply with data-archiving rules.

WebEx Retention Solution allows banks, brokerages and investment houses to securely record all their online meeting content: chat, presentations, audio and video.

It also optimizes the information so it can be stored, and easily located, in a company's write-once read-many (WORM) storage network.

"[The new offering] is meant to enhance usability and protect our position in the industry," Douglas Louie, WebEx senior industry manager for financial services, told internetnews.com.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company said it counts 23 of the top 30 financial services companies as users. The industry is mindful of new laws and regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, that are aimed at preventing fraud. Failure to comply with the rules can lead to hefty fines.

Louie, who joined WebEx two years ago after a decade of experience with Smith Barney and E*Trade, said the company's customers have been asking for tools to archive electronic meeting content. He anticipates that the offering will be attractive to any public company.

The offering has been in use by an undisclosed company for three months and is generally available today. WebEx will charge companies the cost of one extra meeting participant, Louie said.

WebEx Retention Solution is released as companies are earmarking a higher portion of their IT budgets on systems and technologies that enable them to achieve regulatory compliance.

AMR Research recently found that technology spending on compliance will reach $1.62 billion this year, a 43 percent increase from 2004.

Andy Nilssen, a senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research, said in a statement that "WebEx new compliance solution allows firms to continue to grow their use of Web meetings and simultaneously satisfy new regulatory requirements."

For more information on Sarbanes-Oxley, please see Taking The Sarbox Challenge.