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IBM Delivers New Data Governance Service to Help Companies Protect Sensitive Information


New Assessment Service Evaluates Data Governance Maturity

ARMONK, NY - 13 Dec 2006: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a first-of-its-kind consulting service designed to measure the way businesses govern data -- such as sensitive customer information or financial details -- across an organization. IBM consultants evaluate the gaps between current company-wide practices and the client’s desired position to identify opportunities and specific activities for improving the way data is governed, valued and protected.

As more companies do business online, it becomes difficult to manage and control the mountains of data that reside within different parts of the organization. It also becomes hard for businesses to measure the value of their data, and calculate the risks around data loss. As a result, many businesses protect all information in the same way. For instance, a bank might over-protect low quality data, and under-protect high value information like customer account details or employee social security numbers. Data governance addresses this need, providing processes to help companies govern their critical data, by assessing value, measuring risk and mitigating security and operational exposures associated with access to data.

The new service, called the IBM Data Governance Maturity Model Assessment, measures data governance competencies of organizations based on 11 disciplines of data governance maturity, such as organizational awareness, risk lifecycle management, compliance, and auditing and reporting. IBM consultants provide recommendations based on the company’s unique stage of data governance in order to match the needs of the businesses, avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Often times companies don’t know how to examine their data governance practices, which teams should be involved, and what kind of structure it takes to govern effectively,” said Chris Deger, Risk Data Governance Program Manager, at Wachovia, a Data Governance Council member. “There is an industry need for services, like the one announced today, to help companies be more pro-active and gain insight on where important information resides within their company so they can govern its use appropriately.”

In addition to safeguarding corporate information from exposure or theft, improved data governance practices can help businesses satisfy auditors and regulators by using technology and processes to ensure specific guidelines are followed. Data governance policies can also help drive new business opportunities and retain existing customers by improving data quality.

“Effective data security requires broad organizational buy-in,” said Ed Keck, Assistant Vice President and Lead Security Strategist, at Key Bank, a Data Governance Council member. “Today’s challenges require organizational awareness and support in areas that never participated in data security before. The Data Governance Assessment is an important step forward because it helps to educate other stakeholders on how they can help make the strategy more effective.”

The IBM Data Governance Assessment was developed based on input from Data Governance Council members. The Council, formed by IBM in 2004, today consists of nearly 50 leading companies, institutions and technology solution providers dedicated to developing technologies and methods to help the industry better protect critical data. The insight of the Council members, combined with IBM Global Services methodology provides a common assessment benchmark and a new approach to measuring data governance.

“Data Governance is a strategic priority for companies and governments throughout the world. One of the first activities any company has to do when developing a Data Governance program is assess where you are today and where you want to go tomorrow,” said Steve Adler, program director of Data Governance Solutions for IBM. “The IBM Data Governance Assessment is a benchmark developed with input from 47 organizations, and that makes it the perfect tool to evaluate the strength of a client’s Data Governance program in comparison to many others.”

The Data Governance Council continues to grow with recent additions such as Abbot Pharmaceuticals, Bucerius Law School, Discover Financial, Wachovia and Washington Mutual.

The Data Governance Maturity Model Assessment offering will be available in the first quarter of 2007.

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