After y2k what now?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
By Jimmy Guterman
February 02, 2000 You made it. Like 99.9 percent of the computers in the world, all your small business technology still works. You did some preventative work on your PC (new virus definitions) and printer (new drivers) that paid off; you crossed your fingers and learned that your photocopier and answering machine welcomed the new century on pleasant terms.
Some small business owners will continue to manage their technology with an eye toward keeping everything up-to-date. For those working in Windows 98, the Windows Update component available via Internet Explorer 5 is a relatively painless way to make sure that crucial components are current and the most egregious security issues have been addressed. But let's face it: too many small business owners won't spend time managing their technology until a problem arises. If you're among those who don't want to "waste" time downloading updated programs, there are basic questions you should ask yourself before you can feel safe that your technology will work for you and not blow up at unexpected moments.
Is your back-up working? Many small business owners are smart about backing up their work regularly, but all but the most obsessive forget that it's a smart idea to test that back-up occasionally. Chances are that within your back-ups you can find one or two rarely changed or never-changed files that you can restore from the back-up media (Zip drive, tape drive, floppy disk) to your hard disk without overwriting anything important. By doing that, you can learn whether your back-up regime will work when you have a genuine data emergency and you need crucial files restored immediately. The best time to make sure that your back-ups are working is when you need them the least. When the crisis comes, you don't want to be unsure.
Is your business really compliant? In the example above, you might find out that there was a Y2K-related problem with your back-up software or hardware and you didn't know it. You might have a Y2K-hostile Excel macros that you use only once or twice a year hidden deep in your hard disk, ready to smash your data into smithereens. Paying attention to all the different hardware and software elements of your systems will make it easier to isolate problems when they occur and make sure you don't lose crucial information -- or time.
Are there any improvements you've been holding off? Were you waiting to buy new memory or pick up a faster printer because you wanted to be sure everything would work? The coast is clear, for the most part.
Did you overprepare? I know of some people who didn't back up their PCs (the shame!) but did worry that something weird might have happened when the calendar turned. Those who still haven't worked off their closet full of bottled water, corn flakes, or cans of tuna by now might want to donate them somewhere.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), February 03, 2000