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PC World

Weekend forecast: No major Y2K storms on horizon

December 29, 1999
Web posted at: 11:33 a.m. EST (1633 GMT)

by Eileen Smith

(IDG) -- Will the Y2K weekend forecast deliver clear and sunny skies to businesses, or hurricanes and locusts?

Analysts for the Gartner Group provided a cautionary forecast at their final year-2000 press conference for 1999 on Tuesday, but they seemed more optimistic than your average weatherman. "This weekend won't be anything near calamity, but we also don't think it will be a nonevent," says Matt Hotle, vice president of the Y2K research group for Gartner.

He adds that minor infrastructure problems that can be solved in a matter of hours could be the biggest headache.
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Not a One-Night Event

The major concern is that businesses and the general public, perhaps due to media hype, consider the Y2K phenomenon a one-night-only event, not something that should be monitored throughout the new year.

In fact, according to Gartner Group research, more than half of all computer and system-related defects will be discovered later in the year, possibly in the form of Trojan horses.

The (Quiet) Fix Is In

Many organizations have developed event-management centers. The centers have been set up as seamlessly, and as quietly, as possible to discourage any hacking or viruses.

"Only a small percentage of computer failure will be visible to the general public," predicts Lou Marcoccio, research director for the Y2K research group. "This will be isolated and relatively minor in nature."

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Spending Big Bucks

"Since 1997 we all thought this was a calamity in the making," Hotle says. "People were thinking good thoughts about what to do, but not doing good deeds. But we actually saw some progress in 1998."

That progress was mostly measured in resources invested by major companies over the past two years. "This isn't any less of a problem than we thought it was in the mid-1990s, but the amount of work that's been done has been substantial," Hotle says.

"Most corporations have spent a very large percentage of overall income on fixing this problem," Marcoccio says. "Back in 1995 and 1996, most companies were resisting any year-2000 effort.... That resistance was overcome because of people raising a flag."

The flag will probably stay up through the year. According to Gartner research, approximately 30,000 Y2K virus and hacker threats have been made worldwide.

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