Y2K memories breed DST complacency

When Y2K came and went without a major upheaval of the world's IT infrastructure, it left a legacy of complacency that may come back to haunt IT departments when changes to daylight-saving time take effect.

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Forrester made the following recommendations:

  • Assess the overall environment for probability and potential impact. Evaluate all combinations and configurations of software, hardware and operating systems. Also determine which business processes require time sensitivity.
  • Develop action plans across the enterprise. Identify tools to be updated and which product changes must be made.
  • Marshal testing and application development resources. Testing pros should run a post-patch regression on custom applications. Keep a few developers on call the week after DST changeover to fix undetected problems.
  • Reach outside IT. Firms lagging behind in updates may find that employees outside IT can update machines or reset time zones if given explicit direction. Businesses should at least communicate with users about the DST issue.
  • Seek changes in future contracts. Seek legal counsel on contract language that protects future investments in equipment and software.

System patches https://www.cio.co.uk/concern/change/news/index.cfm?articleid=725&pagtype=allchantopdate are required for operating systems released prior to early 2006, Forrester reported. "Patches range from automatically applied updates for recent versions of Windows and OS X to installable fix-packs for Unix, Linux , z/OS and i5/OS, to instructions and tools that detail how to manually manipulate time zone tables in older versions of Windows and Java," the researchers said.

Wang added Forrester found 33 packaged application vendors that still don't have a solution for the changes, although some of these vendors may rely on the Microsoft Windows clock, for which there are available patches. A Forrester survey of 11 application vendors found that most clients could fix the DST problem through operating system patches that address time zone change.

The report states that vendors have generally informed clients of the problem and published updates, but Wang said, "vendors haven't been as careful as they should have been".

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