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Preparing for the Millennium - From NetAction News

NetAction was contacted recently by the technology manager for a large statewide nonprofit organization in California, who has been researching this issue for the past six months, and is worried that non-profit organizations aren't taking the "Year 2000 Problem" seriously

"I am stunned at the lack of awareness of the problem among non-profits, and think our organizations will suffer if we don't do at least the most basic audit to ensure our critical technology systems and vendors are compliant," the technology manager said in a recent communication with NetAction. "The potential 'suffering' is not just for system failure (oh, that) but for legal liability of our officers as well; note the changes being made in the terms of D&O insurance."

Here are some relevant facts:

Vulnerabilities of non-profits to "Y2K" failures or malfunction include:

--> Desktop computers (47% of computers purchased in 1997 failed a basic year 2000 test).

--> Local area networks (some require upgrades, some are fine, others have no guarantee).

--> Lap-tops (same as desk-tops).

--> Automated faxing systems.

--> Phone systems.

--> Voice mail systems.

--> Other office equipment.

--> Banks, insurance companies, payroll companies, and other vendors and suppliers.


You can at least inventory your systems and decide what critical systems you have to deal with, or what vendors you need a paper trail with. You can decide not to spend a lot of time on it. You might

determine, for example, that it doesn't matter to the computer programs on most of your PCs if the system date and day of week is wrong come the new millennium. But you might find out that accurate dates are essential to your accounting or payroll program. The point is, if you don't look, you'll never know how you're vulnerable: until your system fails. Then what?

RESOURCES to help non-profit organizations prepare:

--> "Year 2000 Solutions for Dummies," by IDG books. Like the other 'dummies' books, it's written clearly, simply, and with practical step-by-steps. Deals with everything from desktop PCs to mainframes.

--> The San Francisco Bay Area Year 2000 users' group. Composed mostly of technology managers in large companies, this group nonetheless provides product guidance, speakers, and opportunities to network and learn from others. See .

For those who want more background on this issue, NetAction's webmaster, Judi Clark, recommends two articles by David Isenberg, which are on the web at:




One final word of advice: