No IT Grinch this holiday season

Jeffrey Assarian is actually getting to spend some time with his family this holiday season.

The NOC supervisor at network service provider Genuity, Inc. in Burlington, Mass., is one of thousands of IT workers worldwide who last year saw Year 2000 fears threaten to serve as the Grinch for Christmas plans.

"Everybody was very scared that their equipment would not function over the New Year [last year]. We had 300 [trouble] tickets, and about 200 were people who were scared and unplugged their equipment," said Assarian.

Colin Curwen, chief technology officer for C Me Run, an application service provider (ASP) based in Hudson, Mass., worked at ASP FutureLink last year. He remembers those long hours in the Lake Forest, Calif. office all too well.

"We made the decision in June that nobody was going anywhere from the fifteenth of December to fifteenth of January," Curwen said. "It was viewed as pretty extreme during the time, and obviously later it seemed appropriate."

Working holidays certainly comes with the IT territory. But this year, organizations don't have the same pressing need to call in additional staff.

Assarian said decreased network traffic and the reliability of Genuity's everyday emergency escalation matrix precludes the use of extra precautions during the holidays.

"We have pager info and cell phone info for every person who would be key enough so we'd need [them] in a pinch. That escalation is something we use year round, and we can always get a hold of everybody we need," Assarian said.

He said it is common to see demand for technical support increase during holidays, but most non-emergency issues are placed on hold, so to speak.

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