Y2K expert advises unprepared businesses to back up files

With only two days left before the millennium bug hits, businesses with last minute problems or sudden panic attacks are advised to back up critical files to minimise loss.

"At the very least, you should go into the office today or tomorrow and back up or make copies of any critical files - if anything goes wrong, get everything fixed before touching these. That's the best assurance," Graham Inchley, CEO of the Y2K Industry Program said.

Inchley said he is "feeling pretty confident and optismistic" about the outcome of the date change.

"Naturally there is a little bit of apprehension . . . it's a bit like going to the Grand Prix or a big tennis final.

"The major parts of what had to be done I'm confident have been done. I don't expect anything dramatic on the night," he said.

Heavily involved in Y2K remediation projects in the business community, Inchley said he is more interested in how businesses perform as they go back online in early January rather than the performance of major infrastructure, such as energy, gas and water.

"I think there is a responsibility of government to have made that assurance [for infrastructure to be compliant]," he said.

Inchley said he will be enjoying New Year's Eve with friends, but will be in contact with the federal government's National Coordination Centre and various businesses in the morning.

"I'm not expecting anything but it is important to get an idea of what happened."

Meanwhile, a Gartner Group analyst has said the rollover would be "an event, not a nonevent, but not a catastrophic event."

There will be isolated problems, including "minor infrastructure interruptions," Matthew Hotle, vice president of Gartner Group's year 2000 research group said. However, he noted that fewer than 10 percent of all year 2000-related failures would occur within a few days of the rollover, while 55 percent of the year 2000-related failures would be spread out through the year.

"This is not a single catastrophic event that is going to happen on January 1, 2000. This is an event that has to be managed throughout the year, and most of our clients realise this," Hotle said.

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