'Top 10 Technologies’ Confirms Interest in Information Security, Spam Control

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The AICPA recently announced its list of the Top 10 Technologies that will most affect the accounting profession in 2004. Seven new issues debut on the list. Information security held the top spot for the second year in a row. Spam technology, a new issue, came in at number two. Some older issues remain relevant, although their importance has shifted slightly.

1. Information security. The hardware, software, processes, and procedures in place to protect an organization’s information systems. It includes firewalls, antivirus, password management, patches, and secure facilities.
2. Spam technology (new). The use of technology to reduce or eliminate unwanted e-mail. Technologies range from confirmation of the sender via ISP lookup to methods where the recipient accepts e-mail only from specific senders.
3. Digital optimization (new). Also known as “the paperless office.” The process of capturing and managing documents electronically, in .pdf and other formats.
4. Database and application integration (new). The ability to update data in one place and have it automatically synchronized between multiple systems.
5. Wireless technologies. The transfer of voice or data from one machine to another via the airwaves.
6. Disaster recovery. The development, monitoring, and updating of the process by which organizations plan for continuity in the event of a loss of business information resources due to theft, severe weather, accidents, or malicious destruction.
7. Data mining (new). The methods by which a user can sift through volumes of data to find new connections and relationships.
8. Virtual office (new). The technologies, processes, and procedures that allow personnel to work effectively, individually or with others, regardless of physical location.
9. Business exchange technology (new). The natural evolution from electronic data interchange (EDI) to greater business transaction and data exchange via the Internet. It uses datasets that are transported easily between programs and databases (e.g., extensible business reporting language, or XBRL).
10. Messaging applications (new). Applications that permit users to communicate electronically, including e-mail, voicemail, and instant messaging.

The survey also noted five emerging technologies that may not have current commercial impact but are likely to affect businesses and individuals in the next two or three years:

1. ID/authentication. Verifying the identity of a user who is logging onto a computer system or the integrity of a transmitted message.
2. Radio frequency identification (RFID). RFID tags, which consist of silicon chips and an antenna that can transmit data to a wireless receiver, could one day be used to track every product and inventory item. Unlike barcodes, radio tags do not require line-of-sight for reading.
3. Third-generation (3G) wireless. Designed for high-speed multimedia data and voice communications.
4. Simple object access protocol (SOAP). A message-based protocol based on extensible markup language (XML) for accessing services on the Internet.
5. Autonomic computers. Tools and strategies to manage and maintain all systems across an enterprise, including system maintenance, upgrades, automatic patching, and self-healing. This is an approach toward self-managed computing systems with a minimum of human interference. (The term derives from the human body’s autonomic nervous system, which controls key functions without conscious awareness.)

More information on the Top 10 Technologies is available online at the Information Technology Center on CPA2Biz (www.cpa2biz.com).




















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