SOURCE: Atrion

March 15, 2007 09:48 ET

Daylight Saving Time Has Companies Still Scrambling to Fix System Glitches

Some Software Patches Caused Nasty Side Effects, But Workarounds Were Trouble Free, Atrion Networking Corp. Says

WARWICK, RI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 15, 2007 -- Daylight saving time threw many organizations' computer and phone systems for a big loop -- and some companies are still trying to fix ongoing glitches.

"Many top software and hardware manufacturers published DST patches and upgrades whose side effects caused at least as many problems as they solved," said Chris Poe, technology director at Atrion Networking Corp., which serves about 450 client organizations in New England and nationally.

"Some technology-services providers told their clients to simply install the software and/or manufacturer vendors' patches. Many of their clients did just that and these providers are still being deluged with calls from organizations whose systems are still misfiring," Poe said.

Atrion took a conservative approach, using only patches its engineers had thoroughly tested, and only employed safe manual workarounds as needed.

Atrion's Operation Center staffed extensively for "the day after." On Monday, March 12th, "we did not receive one single DST support call," Poe said.

"We recognized early on that this was a situation that would most definitely impact our client community, if not due to direct effect on their systems, certainly by forcing them to spend much time researching and understanding their exposure to risk. We quickly assembled a team and set out to address both aspects of that impact for our clients," Poe said.

Atrion analyzed all of the technologies it provides to understand what, if any, risk existed. These risks were then communicated to clients to provide a simple way for them to determine if they should be concerned and, if so, to what degree. For each technology, the manufacturer recommendations were scrutinized by the Atrion team to help clients formulate the Atrion-suggested approach.

Phone systems that perform time-based routing of calls, conference-calling software and security systems that must be time synchronized at both ends to verify there's been no tampering all had to be 100 percent DST-compliant, he said.

The firm created the Atrion Concern Index, a quick reference that lets its clients cut through the confusion. The index rated each technology's propensity to be effected by the DST change. Atrion also held several Webinars to provide live interaction on this issue.

"It was a huge effort, but it paid off for our clients," Poe said.

Problems Loom in April

Many computer and phone systems will automatically re-adjust for the old daylight saving time on April 8. "Organizations will have to make sure that their systems won't override the work that's already been done," Poe said.

In some cases Atrion applied patches that permanently fixed the problem. Where manual workarounds were used, they'll have to be used again in April, which should be a fairly simple job, he said.

What about the DST change coming up next November? By then vendors will have produced stable, tested patches, and there shouldn't be any problems, Poe predicted. Atrion Networking Corporation is a network-integration firm in Warwick, R.I., that serves clients ranging from small organizations with a few dozen users to huge companies with thousands of users on their networks.


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