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 November 19, 1999

Checklist gets your company ready for Y2K

Is your small business Y2K OK?

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that 20 to 30 percent of small business owners nationwide have not taken steps to find out if their computer systems are Y2K compliant. Time is running out before the calendar flips over to the new millennium — possibly with effects on cash flow, inventory, taxes, interest calculations or customer relations — and may put your business at risk. If you’ve done nothing else, here’s a checklist of things you need to do:

1. CREATE AWARENESS

Recognize that Y2K is a business issue, not just a technology issue;

Educate and involve all levels of your organization in solving the problem.

2. MAKE A Y2K CHECKLIST

Identify and list everything in your business that contains microchips, including hardware, software and network components;

Record information on equipment such as the manufacturer and model name, date purchased, support contracts and whether it is targeted for replacement or retirement in the near future;

Keep your inventory on a database or spreadsheet to make it easier to sort and track items that are not Y2K ready.

3. ASSESS Y2K READINESS

Determine which items on your list are date-sensitive and could create problems when the date rolls over to 1/1/2000;

Test each item, or contact its manufacturer, to assess its Year 2000 readiness;

Decide whether to repair, replace or retire each item;

Develop an action plan and a schedule based on the item’s importance to your daily business operations.

4. TEST YOUR SYSTEM

Test your repaired or replaced system to make sure that it operates properly when the date changes and that existing business functions continue to operate;

Take precautions, such creating backups for each system, before you begin testing;

Test the system for Y2K readiness as if it were already the year 2000. Test utilities are available from vendors, manufacturers and the Internet;

Perform tests in an environment separate from your day-to-day operations.

5. IMPLEMENT NEW SYSTEM

List all files and programs that need to be moved into production and steps to make your changed system work for day-to-day business operations;

Install your replaced or repaired system.

6. MAKE SURE SUPPLIERS ARE Y2K OK

List every company, utility, service provider or organization your business depends on and prioritize them according to the potential impact on your business;

Investigate their Y2K compliance and take appropriate actions to minimize the risk to your business operations.

7. PREPARE BUSINESS OPERATIONS

List any internal systems such as security, heating or lighting that depend on computers for their operations;

Identify systems that may be date-sensitive and prioritize them according to their importance to your business and the impact of failure;

Decide whether to repair, replace or upgrade internal systems for Year 2000 capability.

8. MINIMIZE RISKS

Identify your key risk areas in the event of a Y2K failure;

Develop an emergency plan to react to actual failures effectively and to ensure safety;

Develop a contingency plan of proactive steps to lessen risks and help to ensure that near normal operations can be maintained.

9. HAVE A BACKUP

Make hard copies of critical business documents.

10. DO IT ALL AGAIN

Repeat steps and retest each item.

Sources: “Y2K Self-Assessment and Checklists for Small Businesses,” U.S. Small Business Administration; “Preparing your Small Business,” Intel Corporation;

“Y2K Checklist Runs Long” by Mary Campbell, ABCNEWS.com.

Is your small business Y2K OK?

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that 20 to 30 percent of small business owners nationwide have not taken steps to find out if their computer systems are Y2K compliant. Time is running out before the calendar flips over to the new millennium — possibly with effects on cash flow, inventory, taxes, interest calculations or customer relations — and may put your business at risk. If you’ve done nothing else, here’s a checklist of things you need to do:

1. CREATE AWARENESS

Recognize that Y2K is a business issue, not just a technology issue;

Educate…

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