For the seventh year in a row, a survey by the American Institute of CPAs has ranked information security management as the most important technology issue for 2009.

A select group of 732 finance, accounting and technology participants ranked 33 technology initiatives they thought would have the most significant impact on their organizations in the next 12 to 18 months.

"The survey showed conclusively that protecting the data an organization is entrusted to manage is of the utmost importance," said David M. Cieslak, co-chairman of the AICPA's Top Technology Initiatives Task Force and principal of Arxis Technology, in a statement. "Much of the data collected is personal information, so it is critical that organizations proactively prevent its loss or misuse."

Privacy management moved up the list from fourth to second place in this year's survey. Increased concern over data protection also led respondents to cite secure data file storage, transmission and exchange as the third most-important issue in the upcoming year, the first time it has appeared on the list.

Training and competency rose from thirteenth to sixth place, as managers seek to train staff in order to fully integrate new technologies into their organizations.

The Top 10 most important technology initiatives for 2009 are:

1. Information security management;
2. Privacy management;
3. Secure data file storage, transmission and exchange;
4. Business process improvement, workflow and process exceptions alerts;
5. Mobile and remote computing;
6. Training and competency;
7. Identity and access management;
8. Improved application and data integration;
9. Document, forms and content knowledge management; and
10. Electronic data retention strategy.

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