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Changes in Daylight Saving Time Put IT Systems at Risk


In 2007, the United States adds four weeks to its Daylight Saving Time—a change that can significantly impact IT systems set to automatically update during the traditional intervals. Microsoft's Stephen Tong and Joseph Williams offer risk assessment and remediation strategies.

Los Alamitos, CA, February 01, 2007 --(PR.com)-- Beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time in the United States will begin three weeks earlier and end one week later than in previous years, thanks to a provision in the US Energy Policy Act of 2005. As harmless as this change might seem, it can cost you more than an hour’s worth of sleep if you haven’t considered the possible impact on your IT systems.

In the January-February issue of IT Professional magazine, Microsoft’s Stephen Tong and Joseph Williams discuss the risks (both apparent and not-so-apparent) and ways to assess different effects on your computing environment. “Consider how many applications in your portfolio are time sensitive,” they advise. “The obvious ones involve calendaring and scheduling, but the potential exposure can go much deeper. Many transaction logs (for example, ATMs) serve as the legal record of the transactions they record; being off by an hour may have legal consequences.”

The start of US Daylight Saving Time will move from the first Sunday of April to the second Sunday of March (11 March 2007), and the end will move from the last Sunday of October to the first Sunday of November (4 November 2007). But will this change affect only US users? Tong and Williams say, no. “To stay in sync with the US, Canada and many Caribbean countries will extend their DST calendars,” they point out. Moreover, multinational organizations that have not only locations but also customers and users in these regions might need to take corrective action.

According to Tong and Williams, the corrective action is a familiar one. “All the lessons (and documentation) from Y2K come to bear here,” they say. “Essentially, it’s a matter of patching and testing applications to ensure they behave appropriately.”

Although they believe the fixes should be simple and the consequences of failing to act will be largely inconvenient, they suggest erring on the side of caution. “[T]he actual economic exposure to back-office systems is largely unknown, and IT professionals should exercise due diligence as quickly as possible.”

For the full report, “Are You Prepared for Daylight Saving Time 2007?” including additional scenarios for consideration as well as a list of links to vendor-specific resources for managing the transition, see http://www.computer.org/portal/pages/itpro/content/Daylight_Saving_Time_2007.html.

IT Professional, a bimonthly publication of the IEEE Computer Society, offers technology solutions for developers and managers of enterprise information systems. The magazine covers topics from emerging technologies, Web services, Internet security, and data management to enterprise architectures and infrastructures, software development, systems integration, and wireless networks. For more information, visit http://www.computer.org/itpro.

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IEEE IT Professional
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