Year 2000: a network problem too?

When the network you've pieced together comes crashing down on January 1, 2000, who do you think is going to get the blame?

Users need to be aware that the networks they have been selling are just as susceptible to the year 2000 bug as any Cobol application, according to officials from Citadel Security Management Systems, which last week launched a solution - NetSuite - for the problem.

Because many network functions depend on time-stamps and timing sequences, non-year 2000 compliance may cause routers to shut down or erase their routing tables, computers may not boot up and network management systems could be swamped with false alarms, officials said.

NetSuite Audit is a management tool that sends probes out onto the network, retrieving information about what devices are attached, a Citadel official said. Once NetSuite has retrieved that information it compares it with the NetSuite device database, which contains information on the year 2000 compliance relating to around 12,000 devices from 3,000 vendors.

The tool is then able to tell which part of the network is compliant or not compliant and if, and where, patches can be found to fix the problem. The report even includes links to the appropriate Web page.

Resellers can either resell NetSuite or use the product to offer a year 2000 checking service for their customers, officials said.

Part of the full NetSuite tool is a design package. All the information that the NetSuite probes return is used by this package to automatically compile detailed network diagrams. It also does network validation and can be used as a preplanning tool, officials said.

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