The world is bracing for the Year 2000 computer bug. Here's how to
keep it from hurting you
The Year 2000 computer bug suddenly has small businesses scrambling.
Programmed in many computers manufactured before 1997, the Y2K bug ignores
the change in date prefix from "19" to "20" at the turn
of the century. If not corrected, date-sensitive computer equipment won't
work properly after this Dec. 31.
The Small Business Administration predicts 80% of small businesses will
be unprepared when Y2K strikes, and even more will be affected by vendors'
system failures. Bottom line: warding off Y2K is in your hands. Here's a
checklist to get you started.
- Inventory all computer-based systems you own (PC and related hardware,
cash registers, credit card machines, telephones, fax machines, automatic
lighting, climate control systems, alarms, doors, safes, bench and lab
equipment, CAM systems). Record all vendors' names and release numbers.
- Determine which equipment calculates date or time, then test it. You
may be able to operate some equipment under Year 2000 conditions. (This
could be risky, so don't change the date unless you know the effects.)
A safer option is to ask vendors if their products are Y2K-ready. You can
test your PC with programs such as NSTL Year 2000 Testing Program, available
- If you find out your equipment is "bugged," ask the vendor
if it has an action plan or replace the equipment. If the vendor has no
plan, hire a computer or Y2K consultant (check www.year2000.com).
Prioritize the money you spend on repairs, concentrating on problems that
will disrupt business. Deal with problems now to avoid rising prices.
- Survey your vendors on Y2K compliance. Ask about backup plans or guarantees
in case equipment fails. Keep copies of all correspondence.
- Some towns are ensuring utilities and emergency services will be Y2K-compliant
by Jan. 1, 2000. You can join or form a Year 2000 User Group to raise awareness
and initiate action (see User Groups at http://www.year2000.com/y2kusergroups.html).
- Make sure any equipment you buy is guaranteed to be Y2K-compliant.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.