AICPA Unveils 2005 Top Techs List

AICPA Unveils 2005 Top Techs List

America's CPA technologists remain convinced that Information Security is the country's number one technology concern, according to the 2005 Top Technologies survey of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The new list marks the third consecutive year that Information Security captured the top spot.

Interestingly, Spam Technology ' an issue associated with Information Security ' dropped in importance. It made its debut on the 2004 list at number two. On the current list, it falls to number four.

'Because our work and personal lives are now inextricably linked to information systems, security will always be top of mind,' said Roman Kepczyk, CPA.CITP, Chair of the AICPA's Information Technology Executive Committee. Commenting on Spam Technology's lower placement on the list, he said, 'We've seen major improvements to filtering systems, which have allowed us to bring spam under greater control. This most likely is the reason that Spam Technology doesn't command the importance it did in the previous survey.'

A different issue closely allied with Information Security ' Electronic Data Management, or the Paperless Office ' moved up to second place. It was number three last year.

There are two debuts on the 2005 Top Technologies list: Authentication Technologies and Storage Technologies. Another issue, Learning and Training Competency, reappears at number 10 after an absence of three years.
While Disaster Recovery (number five) and Wireless Technologies (number seven) continue to make respectable showings, three issues from 2004 did not make the 2005 list: Data Mining, Virtual Office and Business Exchange Technology.

The following are the 2005 Top 10 Technologies (new issues are indicated):

1. Information Security: The hardware, software, processes and procedures in place to protect an organization's information systems from internal and external threats. This includes firewalls, anti-virus, password management, patches, locked facilities, IP strategy and perimeter control, as well as privacy issues and technologies, intrusion detection systems, security standard setting, IT auditing, social engineering and much more.

2. Electronic Document Management (paperless or less-paper office): The process of capturing, indexing, storing, retrieving, searching and managing documents electronically. Formats include *.PDF, digital and image store database technologies.

3. Data Integration: Formerly called 'Database and Application Integration' on the 2004 list, this is the ability to update one field and have it automatically synchronize between multiple databases, such as the automatic/seamless transfer of client information between all systems. In this instance, only the data flows across systems from platform to platform or application to application. Data integration also involves the application neutral exchange of information. For example, the increased use of XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) by companies worldwide pro-vides for the seamless exchange and aggregation of financial data to meet the needs of different user groups using different applications to read, present and analyze data.

4. Spam Technology: The use of technology to reduce or eliminate unwanted e-mail commonly known as spam. Technologies include perimeter control and confirmation of the sender via ISP lookup, to methods where the recipient of the e-mail only accepts mail from those senders from whom they wish to receive e-mail.

5. Disaster Recovery: The development, monitoring and updating of the process by which organizations plan for continuity of their business in the event of a loss of business information resources. This is due to impairments, including theft, virus/malware infestation, weather damage, accidents or other malicious destruction. Disaster recovery includes business continuation, contin-gency planning and disk recovery technologies and processes ' those for disk imaging, cloning, shadow copy-ing and other ways to easily and quickly maintain duplications of data to ensure fast and easy recovery.

6. Collaboration and Messaging Applications: Applications that allow users to communicate electronically, including e-mail, voicemail, universal messaging, instant messaging, e-mailed voice messages and digital faxing. Examples include a computer conference using the keyboard (a keyboard chat) over the Internet between two or more people. Instant messaging (IM) is not a dial-up system like the telephone; it requires that both parties be online at the same time, unlike voice mail and voice messaging. IM communication can be encrypted and logged to ensure that the communication is private and secure.

7. Wireless Technologies: The transfer of voice or data from one machine to another via the airwaves and without physical connectivity. Examples include cellular, satellite, infrared, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G, 2-way paging, CDMA, Wireless/WiMax and others.

8. Authentication Technologies (new): The hardware, software, processes and procedures to protect a person's privacy and identity from internal and external threats, including digital identity, privacy and biometric authentication.

9. Storage Technologies (new): Storage area networks (SAN) include mass storage, CD-recordable, DVD, data compression, near field recording, electronic document storage and network attached storage (NAS), as well as small personal storage devices like USB drives.

10. Learning and Training Competency (End Users): The methodology and curriculum by which personnel learn to understand and use technology. This includes measuring competency, learning plans to increase the knowledge of individuals, and hiring and retaining qualified personnel with career opportunities that retain the stars.

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