Why 2K?

January 1999

Managing:Technology

Why 2K?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 at http://www.nstl.com/html/nstl_ymark2000.html
  3. 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.
  4. Survey your vendors on Y2K compliance. Ask about backup plans or guarantees in case equipment fails. Keep copies of all correspondence.
  5. 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).
  6. Make sure any equipment you buy is guaranteed to be Y2K-compliant.

– Stacey King



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


 

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