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Compliance Costs Increasing, Study Says

Despite progress in compliance projects, most companies spent more in the past year than they did the year before

Now that most organizations are fairly deep into their compliance efforts, you'd think that the heavy lifting was over and the cost of compliance would be dropping off. Unfortunately, according to a new study, you'd be wrong.

According to an independent study on compliance costs released today by CA, almost half of the companies surveyed reported an increase in their compliance project spending, rather than a decrease.

In a study of some 575 enterprises worldwide, nearly 45 percent of respondents reported an increase in the time and monetary resources required to ensure compliance with 13 regulations and industry standards found in countries around the world.

In North America, 41 percent of organizations reported the introduction of new regulations as a reason for increasing compliance expenses. In Asia Pacific, where J-SOX was recently enacted, this number was significantly higher at 55 percent, the report states. Europe and Central/South America reported 40 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Changes to existing regulations also were reported as a cost-raising factor by 49 percent of North American and Central/South American organizations, by 39 percent of Asia Pacific businesses, and by 34 percent of European organizations, CA says.

The study also showed that most of the respondents rely on manual processes to achieve compliance, although manual processes and a lack of centralized control are "a recipe for spiraling costs," the report says. More than two thirds of the respondents said they maintain information about the status of their IT compliance controls in multiple spreadsheets, and often within different organizational units.

“This survey verifies what we regularly hear from customers -- that compliance remains a big challenge for them in both direct cost and impact to business processes, and that the issue grows with every regulatory change or addition,” said Lina Liberti, vice president for CA Security Management.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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