The information revolution has not only introduced new technologies, but has also changed the way business is conducted. Economic transactions increasingly take place via digital networks, and a critical part of this interconnectivity is the way organizations have integrated accounting and financial management systems with Internet-based applications. In order to help form the debate concerning the relations among financial systems, cyber security, and public policy, the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy initiated the first forum on the topic, "Financial Systems and Cyber Security: A Public Policy Perspective." The forum was hosted by the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, in cooperation with the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise (from the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs), on May 28, 2004 and drew over 30 academicians and subject matter experts from universities across the globe.
During the program, speakers presented research papers concerning various related topics including Extensible Markup Language's (XML) role in information security on the Internet, the feasibility of cyber security in Japanese e-local government, and increased cyber security for national market systems. Scheduled discussants offered comments in response to the research that both supported and challenged the results, while providing useful insight on how to improve the papers. Lawrence A. Gordon, Ernst & Young Alumni Professor of Managerial Accounting and Information Assurance, forum co-chair, and Smith's PhD program director, states, "This forum leverages the Smith School's leadership in research related to the digital economy by bringing together leading scholars working on issues related to financial systems and cyber security."
Other conference organizers included Professor Martin Loeb, Deloitte & Touche LLP Faculty Fellow at Smith, and William Lucyshyn, a director at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a Visiting Senior Research Scholar at Maryland's Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise.
Dean Howard Frank kicked off the forum with some welcoming remarks, which highlighted the importance of the forum's research focus and Smith School's role as a leader in the field. The Honorable Jacques Gansler, former Under Secretary of Defense, and now acting Dean of the School of Public Affairs and incoming VP for Research at the University, gave a talk during the luncheon on improving the security of financial management systems. Kim Smith, currently the visiting academic fellow at the SEC, and professor at the College of William and Mary, spoke at the Ira Shapiro Dinner talk on the topic of security through disclosure.
Featured speakers at the daytime sessions included Hideyuki Tanaka and Kanta Matsuura, who traveled from Japan's premier institute of higher learning, the University of Tokyo. Their research, entitled "Vulnerability and Information Security Investment: An Empirical Analysis of E-Local Government of Japan," provided useful support for Gordon and Loeb's earlier theoretical model regarding the relation between optimal information security investment levels and the vulnerability of information.
"The one-day forum was a big success and our plan is to make it an annual event here at Smith," says Gordon.
For more information about the forum, visit: www.cpppe.umd.edu/Calendar/Conferences/FSC/index.html.