Charleston, S.C. (Nov. 6, 2002) - Security has emerged as one of the hottest areas in technology consulting, judging from the tenor of the Information Technology Alliance "Fall Collaborative" conference here.

Four of the 25 training sessions in the first two days of the conference have been dedicated to information technology security issues and comments from speakers and ITA members in the audience emphasized the increased opportunity for security-related consulting.

"Security is definitely pretty hot," Robert Anderson, a research director with the Gartner Group, said in a keynote address that covered IT buying trends among small and midsize business. He said Gartner research has determined that security ranks right below customer relationship management among the key technology issues on the "radar screens" of chief information officers at small and medium-sized businesses.

Matt Camden, chief technology officer for national CPA firm Clifton Gunderson, said the current demand for IT security services, particularly among financial services companies, is similar to the software-buying demand generated by the Year 2000 compliance issue a few years ago. He also noted that overall technology demand among manufacturing companies "is still way down."

IT security topics covered in training sessions include the recently-enacted SAS 94 audit standard, which states that "internal controls," must be considered on audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after June 1, 2001. Speaker/trainer Bruce Nearon, a director with the J.H. Cohn CPA firm in New York said his office has initiated 40 IT audits since it put together a SAS 94 checklist in September.

-- John M. Covaleski

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