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Top Stories Of The YearTop Stories Of The Year

<i>InformationWeek</i> editors have assembled the very best of our year's coverage. We believe this collection of 20 top-notch stories are well worth the read.

InformationWeek Staff

December 27, 2001

5 Min Read

The Year That Was deeply impacted all of us in the InformationWeek community. You may not wish to relive the entire year, but InformationWeek editors have assembled the very best of it for you here, in a collection of 20 top-notch stories we believe are well worth the read. The links below include examples of important breaking news, in-depth features, and research. We covered the Sept. 11 crisis and its aftermath as Regeneration stories; we covered the economy, Internet policy, privacy, security, and the planned merger of two major computing companies. Please let us know what you think were the most important stories of 2001 at the Water CoolerListening Post.

Assessing The Impact After the Sept. 11 attacks, it quickly became clear that there would be far-reaching implications in the way IT is used and managed. The privacy debate may be forever altered: According to a survey of 2,000 business-technology professionals conducted by InformationWeek Research soon after the attacks, 71% were willing to trade more of their privacy for greater protection from terrorist threats. And security is more critical than ever. What other changes will IT face?Bounce Back The images of Sept. 11 are seared into our memories: The World Trade Center burning and collapsing. Family, friends, and even strangers grieving over the inexplicable loss of thousands. But fewer observers saw the behind-the-scenes effort by business to recover, beginning moments after the attack. InformationWeek visited three New York financial-services companies and two trading exchanges to see how they succeeded--and how they're coping. The stories that resulted from those visits compelled InformationWeek to launch a regular weekly section, called Regeneration, devoted to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, with an emphasis on rebuilding and renewal. Ready For Anything? When the towers of the World Trade Center collapsed, the IT assets of many businesses--as well as, tragically, IT professionals themselves--disappeared with them. The magnitude and violence of the attacks caused many companies to re-evaluate their IT contingency plans.IT On High Alert Following the United States' first strikes against sites in Afghanistan, Attorney General John Ashcroft said the FBI and other federal law-enforcement officials had advised thousands of CIOs, chief technology officers, and IT managers that their IT systems may be targeted in retaliatory terrorist attacks--or used to launch them. As companies followed Ashcroft's advice to maintain "the highest state of alert," would the way they do business change?Where Are The Jobs? The growing number of unemployed technology professionals has shifted IT hiring from a seller's to a buyer's market. A year and a half ago, businesses were desperate for talent, and technology professionals could pick and choose from several job offers, usually demanding--and getting--large salaries and generous benefits. Today, businesses get hundreds, sometimes thousands, of resum?s for each opening and are more selective. Unemployed IT workers know the power has shifted, and applicants have turned into supplicants. To find work in today's economy, IT pros have to reassess their lifestyles and skills.Positive Thinking In spite of budget cuts, many business and tech managers were still confident early last spring of IT's ability to bolster the bottom line.You Be The Judge When a South Carolina law forced IT workers to join the fight against child pornography, some wondered whether it was fair. The issued is explored here.California Powers Down As Californians endured rolling blackouts and faced running out of their energy supply, Gov. Gray Davis declared a state of emergency and called on state lawmakers to pass legislation that would change the way California's utility business is run. This story looks at whether the state's energy crisis could be eased through better IT systems and greater use of online trading exchanges.Combined HP, Compaq To Target IBM A combined Compaq and Hewlett-Packard "will have the scope and scale to challenge IBM in the enterprise," HP chairwoman and CEO Carly Fiorina told analysts after revealing that the two companies would join forces in a merger valued at $25 billion. Competing on an even footing with IBM was one of the hopes behind a deal that would create the world's largest provider of IT equipment, PCs, and printing systems.Privacy: Can Businesses Build Trust And Exploit Opportunity? As the opportunities to use personal data for marketing grow, companies are searching for a way to strike the right balance between delivering the service customers want and the privacy they expect.Let's Keep This Private As the economy faltered, IT budgets were put under the microscope like never before, and high-profile electronic marketplaces began closing left and right. But a growing number of businesses started to spend millions of dollars to build or extend private online exchanges.Management Takes Notice High-profile Web attacks and viruses have convinced upper management at many companies to take security seriously.Security Policies: How Much Is Enough? Keeping networks free of unsavory content or activities is a priority for nearly two-thirds of global security professionals, according to an InformationWeek Research survey. Yet, surprisingly few companies are taking advantage of technology to bolster their defenses.Full Disclosure Are security software vendors trying to keep systems safe from threats such as Code Red, or are they more worried about self-promotion?Zeroing In Cyberspies may meet their match in security researchers with bright ideas.We're All In IT Together As technology comes under scrutiny, top business execs are playing a bigger role in IT policy.Facing An IT Future It's no surprise that being tech-savvy is mandatory for today's CFOs. What may be surprising is the growing number of companies in which CFOs have gained significant influence--sometimes outright control--over IT. As companies weave information technology through every aspect of their businesses, and bottom-line concerns exert greater influence on those strategies, the CFO's controlling hand is seen more and more in technology's deployment. IT Leadership Put To The Test With the economy slumping, IT executives are under even more pressure to produce.IT At The Edge Of Science Bioresearch firms are pushing the performance boundaries of supercomputers but grappling with scalability and management issues.The Trust Imperative The competitive advantages of collaboration are driving companies to share previously sacrosanct internal data such as daily sales reports, production schedules, product designs, and logistical details. Trusting that your supply-chain partners will behave responsibly with that information--and agreeing on what constitutes responsible behavior--is absolutely critical to the success of collaborative business.

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