A big problem facing the government of New Zealand -- and every participant in any computer network -- is bad data. This report acknowledges this problem. It is a section of of a
THE Y2K INQUIRY, Report of the Government Administration Committee (April 1998).
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Despite achieving a level of Y2K compliance organisations risk exposure to indirect effects. Not every organisation will be Y2K compliant at the turn of the century. Y2K problems in one organisation's computers will almost certainly be reflected in the operations of another. Organisations should be concerned about external links between their systems and others. An organisation may achieve a high level of Y2K compliance but find that its systems are still affected due to corrupted data and information being sent to it by external organisations. This problem could be particularly acute in the retail, banking, manufacturing and finance industries. The difficulties which EDS suffered in 1997, with the inter-bank transaction system, were an example of the impact a computer problem can have on many organisations.
The Government also has exposure to the corruption of its computer systems by others. Many government departments are linked to hundreds if not thousands of external suppliers of data and information. For example, the Inland Revenue Department has links to thousands of employers. The New Zealand Customs Service has links to importers and exporters. Many other government agencies have numerous links with outside organisations. Most government departments have links with other departments. These organisations would be a good place to start in ensuring that linkages are secure. However, it is important for all public sector organisations to assess the compliance levels of those organisations with which they have system linkages.
That the Government ensure that all critical external linkages and connections between the computer systems of public sector organisations and outside organisations have been identified and assurances of Y2K compliance gained from those outside organisations.