Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Repealing SOX and Identity Management

Newt Gingrich and David Kralik wrote an op-ed in today's San Francisco Chronicle about repealing SOX. I've been following the buzz around this for a few months, but it always has a bit more bite when it comes from a former Speaker of the House. Gingrich and Kralik outline a number of convincing reasons to repeal SOX, including its negative impact on the IPO market as well as its failure at "...preventing insolvencies and accounting shortfalls in companies such as Bear Sterns, Lehman Bros., American International Group (AIG) and Merrill Lynch." The last lines of the article are very action oriented,

With a new presidential administration and a Congress convening in less than three months, now is the time to begin thinking through the solutions needed to address our economic challenges. Economic growth in a sound market economy requires smart regulation, not destructive regulation that hurts economic growth. Sarbanes-Oxley fails that test. It should be repealed.

I've written previously on the need to move away from compliance as *the* driver for identity. A legislative act such as this could force our hand as an industry. Being personally involved in the process, I am acutely aware of the impact that compliance has on quickly approving budgets for projects, and the way IT has leveraged SOX in order to push projects of their liking (even if its true ability to demonstrate compliance was suspect). This hyper-compliance environment may have created complacency on our end from the perspective of demonstrating the true value of identity for the business. Anyway you slice it, if SOX gets repealed (or slimmed down, as I expect it will be), we're going to have think a little harder, and I think that's a good thing.

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