As the initial shock of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks slowly wears away, the rippling effects on the already sluggish U.S. economy, including the beleaguered IT sector, continue to spread.
Articles from CNET's News.com have offered a bird's-eye view of the attacks' economic impact from varying tech-related angles, while TechRepublic's coverage has been a little closer to "ground zero." We've gathered links and descriptions of pertinent articles on the effects of the attacks—most offering a business perspective, some with a more personal view—to help you gauge how these events might affect you and your organization.
When Wall Street reopened after the attacks, investors couldn't wait to shed their online travel stock. The industry's leading companies' market values were slashed by about a third. With online sales representing only 10 percent of total tickets sold, can entities like Expedia survive? Find out what the experts think in this CNET article: "Net travel firms feeling airline-industry woes."
In addition to his discussion of the effects on the travel and tourism industries, Jeremy Siegel, professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, also provides an analysis of the damage done to the insurance industry and consumer spending in "Did terrorists blow up the recovery?," which is also on CNET.
TechRepublic columnist Tim Landgrave, who travels frequently, said he is relying on teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and e-mail more frequently since the attacks. He offered his take on the industry's plight in "Will the Internet's ability to bring people together save the New Economy?"
Test of the technology
In another CNET article “Commentary: The Internet's greatest test,” META Group examined the Internet’s performance during the Sept. 11 attacks, its ability to handle heavy traffic during times of crisis, and businesses’ readiness to deal with massive disruptions.
META Group concluded that businesses could take steps to protect themselves from future disruptions by suggesting that IT organizations “develop a portfolio of communication options, including traditional voice, cell phone, VPN, and Internet-based services. By exploiting each properly, the IT group can provide optimal communications to the business during normal times and maximize the chance that some of those channels will survive to play a vital role during emergencies.”
The attacks may also alter organizations’ approach to privacy on the Internet. According to another CNET article “Companies rethink Net privacy after attacks,” several companies, in an effort to cooperate with the investigation into the attacks, have essentially handed over entire databases to law enforcement agencies without requiring a court order or subpoena.
Wireless thwarts worry
TechRepublic columnist Mike Talon and TechRepublic member Jim Reilly each offered accounts of how wireless devices allowed them to communicate in the aftermath of the attacks. Read their stories in "IT pro's BlackBerry saved anguish during NYC attack" and "A member's e-mails offer a glimpse of World Trade Center tragedy."
Stories like these provide some explanation for the boost in market value that wireless technology companies enjoyed when the stock market reopened after the terrorist attacks. Consumers seemed to have a new attitude toward wireless devices as a means of self-defense. Analysts are skeptical, however, about the ability of the wireless market to sustain the increase. Find out the reasons for the rise and fall of wireless stock in CNET's "Investor euphoria for wireless may wane."
Are you reevaluating your business plan due to the terrorist attacks?
As the effects of the events of Sept. 11 permeate the IT industry, many companies are reconsidering their growth potential for the coming year. How are you adjusting your budget or business plan to sustain you through the coming months? Send us an e-mail with your comments or start a discussion below.