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Y2K LESSONS LEARNED: REPORT ON A CONFERENCE Stuart Umpleby The George Washington University.

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Presentation on theme: "Y2K LESSONS LEARNED: REPORT ON A CONFERENCE Stuart Umpleby The George Washington University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Y2K LESSONS LEARNED: REPORT ON A CONFERENCE Stuart Umpleby The George Washington University

2 Overview (1) Who was at the conference Format of most presentations What happened January 1 Was there really a problem? Why was there so little disruption? Why were there no problems in Italy, etc.? Why were there concerns about Russia?

3 Overview (2) Why were Americans not evacuated? Common themes The future

4 Who was at the conference? Sponsors: Center for Global Security Research of Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratory and the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London Heads of y2k projects of several governments, international organizations, and large departments such as DOD Very few “civilians”

5 Format of most presentations Background on the organization and its reporting relationships Goal: business continuity What was done Results: complete success

6 What happened January 1? A world map with many red dots indicating electric power outages Some power outages for several hours Quick fixes and work arounds prevented “reportable failures” Most affected equipment: PCs, servers, mainframes, networks, the internet, security systems, embedded chips

7 Breakdown of failures 80% were insignificant 16% caused brief service interruptions 4% caused significant service interruptions

8 Was there really a problem? (1) Percy Mangoaela, UN, “Some have interpreted success as vindication for earlier cynicism” $500 billion spent worldwide $100 billion spent in the U.S. $10 billion spent by the U.S. government

9 Was there really a problem? (2) Paul Weiss, EPRI, “We did not know whether the electric power system would work” John Boggs, IATA, “We were uncertain until the last moment” HP bought 60 Iridium telephones Command centers were set up by businesses and governments around the world

10 Why was there so little disruption? (1) Only 6 to 8 vendors worldwide of some key embedded systems Many systems had manual backups Early actors found where problems were and released the information and the web were widely used by businesses, governments, and international associations

11 Why was there so little disruption? (2) International corporations acted abroad as they did at home -- fix internal equipment and work with suppliers, including utilities Money required was not large -- less than 1% of operating budgets. Euro conversion is 3 to 6 times more expensive High level management commitment Low IT penetration in many countries

12 Why was there so little disruption? (3) Unprecedented cooperation among all affected organizations Recognition of common threat due to economic interdependencies Worked on critical sectors first -- electric power and telecommunications

13 Why were there no problems in Italy, etc.? Multi-national companies had been working for many months with local agencies Not the local custom to talk with government officials When the government found out about y2k, much work was already done Problems with government services can be expected

14 Why was there concern about Russia, etc.? There were problems with nuclear reactor monitoring systems which would have required that the reactors be shut down The policy was to use fossil fuel plants to provide power to nuclear reactors rather than the public There were problems with the automatic systems of fossil fuel plants, but the plants could be operated manually

15 The evacuation dilemma Spring 1999 Should equipment and supplies be prepositioned? If so, where? Should American dependents be evacuated? If so, there would be significant logistical and political problems

16 Sources of information for the evacuation decision Interagency working group -- defense, state, commerce, AID, etc. International organizations Multi-national companies

17 Why did the good news not get out? “Good news is no news.” The good news blocked doomsday stories in the press but was not itself considered newsworthy Corporations said they were ready, but did not provide sufficient details to resolve doubts Fear of lawsuits blocked claims of complete compliance

18 Common themes (1) and the web were critical Cooperation among businesses and governments Use of international associations Fewer embedded systems problems than expected Fewer virus attacks than expected Less “unusual behavior” than expected

19 Common themes (2) Fewer problems for customers than usual Rise of the IT sector New understanding of vulnerabilities and business processes IT community rose to the challenge

20 The future (1) In aviation Feb. 29 was the most common cause of failure in testing. It will be a normal day, not a lull. Electric companies have always had bad programs re leap years DOE will continue to work with Russian nuclear plants DOD has become aware of its dependencies

21 The future (2) UN will seek to improve the performance of UN agencies via use of IT Harris Miller, ITAA, “We avoided a train wreck and overhauled the train” An extraordinary example of global cooperation Important lessons learned Managers became aware of the importance of IT


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