Small Business-Owner's Year 2000 Readiness
Electronics engineer Harlan Smith has created
a checklist for small businesses whose only computers are personal computers.
This is the majority of businesses in most places. Citizens who want to
help prepare their communities for the Year 2000 can pass this questionnaire
on to their local retailers and other small businesses. I have written new
introductory material and edited some of Harlan Smith's introductory material
to make his checklist into a handout. -- Tom Atlee
Small Business-Owner's Year 2000 Readiness Checklist
In the year 2000 -- and even before that -- there is a real danger that
many computers (and also "embedded systems" -- microchips embedded
in machinery) will fail to operate properly. This is because many of them
were programmed to work with only two-digit dates: When 99 turns into 00,
these computers will think that they've gone back to 1900 instead of 2000.
This "Year 2000 Computer Bug" will cause problems. This situation,
which is often referred to as Y2K (Y=year, 2K=2000), could cause problems
for your business. Since your business and other businesses are part of
a community, it could cause problems for the community, as well. The more
businesses prepare themselves for the Year 2000, the less of this sort of
problem will occur.
This Year 2000 Readiness Checklist will help you understand how prepared
your business is for the Year 2000. It is made up of 14 statements. If you
can answer YES to all of these statements, then you are truly prepared for
the Year 2000. You can proudly tell this to your customers and to your community.
This is good citizenship for a business, and it is a smart business investment.
Over the coming months, the public will become increasingly concerned about
this issue. Any business that has taken responsibility for its Year 2000
preparedness will not only gain a good reputation, but will avoid some real
problems in the Year 2000.
If you answer NO to any of these questions, then you need to work on that
area or risk having your business activities interrupted by Year 2000 computer
failures. To educate yourself about what to do, visit the Small Business
Administration web site at http://www.sba.gov/y2k/.
For "Countdown to Tomorrow" -- a free video aimed at businesses
-- go to http://www.corp.unisys.com/unisys/y2k.nsf/1d796103111979130725639000788f32/1e7aebc9575c10008525665e004a500d?OpenDocument
You may also wish to take a look at the Y2K preparedness guide made in New
Zealand, available at http://www.year2000.co.nz/y2Kart03.htm.
If you want to better understand the whole problem, check out http://www.computerpro.com/~phystad/csy2kfaq.html.
You may find that you can't deal with some areas confidently without actions
being taken by other businesses or by the government. Realize that their
inaction endangers your business and your community. Bring the situation
to their attention. If a business doesn't act, take your business elsewhere.
If you want to know what governments should do, consult http://www.scotsystems.com/harlany2k.html
When you're ready to tell the government what they should do, go to http://www.angelfire.com/mn/inforest/smpc1.html.
So here's the checklist. How many can you honestly answer YES to?
___ Myself and my employees are active in a local community preparedness
group and we have all taken the minimum precautions to make sure the we
will have water, food, necessary heat, etc., should delivery of these essentials
be temporarily interrupted. (Needless to say, serious disruption of the
lives of personnel will disrupt the business they work for.)
___ Similar precautions have been taken at my place of business.
___ All of our PCs have been tested for the year 2000 rollover and will
function appropriately in year 2000 and beyond.
___ All of my PC software applications have been checked for Y2K readiness,
including any staff generated spreadsheets or databases.
___ All embedded systems critical to the operation of my business and place
of business have been tested for Y2K readiness.
___ All critical computer data will be backed up and stored at a place separate
from my place of business.
___ All computer equipment will be turned off prior to rollover and restored
to operation after the 2000 rollover in a methodical manner.
___ I have contacted all electric power, water, gas, sewage, food, heat,
security, telecommunications providers and am convinced that they have robust
Y2K remediation (fixing their Y2K computer bugs) and contingency planning
underway and will be ready to support my employees at home and my place
of business after 2000 rollover.
___ I have similarly contacted all my critical suppliers and am convinced
that they are Y2K ready to provide critical supplies after rollover.
___ I have contacted all critical customers and am convinced that they are
Y2K ready to continue as customers after year 2000 rollover.
___ The viability of my business does not rely on the viability of foreign
suppliers or customers nor communication or transportation between my company
___ All EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) interfaces with customers and
suppliers (if any) have been remediated for Y2K readiness and tested.
___ In the event of communications interruption or short term business interruption
for whatever cause, I will be available to assist customers via the following
backup communications paths ....
___ A business continuity contingency plan has been prepared and contingency
preparations are in process.
To see how one business
completed this questionnaire,
Harlan Smith is a retired electronics engineer with some
36 years experience of working on complex radar systems in the military,
General Electric and Texas Instruments. Harlan has a systems engineering
background and has written several articles on the year 2000 problem including an
introduction to the embedded systems problem and a plan for achieving global
Y2K readiness called "Synergistic Mitigation and Contingency Preparation."
[Go to top of page]
To contact Harlan Smith, or for more information on his work:
Harlan Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Synergistic Mitigation & Contingency Preparation -- "Austere Infrastructure"
Embedded Systems Remediation