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Super Storm Sandy, which hit our area pretty hard about the end of October, gave a lot of people a wake-up call on their preparedness. I know of at least two businesses we work with who had issues with their systems because of the extended power outages and flooding and one organization that we do business with that was extensively flooded and lost their email system for almost a week because of the storm. I’m sure there are many other companies that had issues because of the storm, but even if you didn’t this time, you should think about the lessons learned and get prepared.
Unfortunately some of these companies lost their email systems at precisely the time they needed them most. One organization had its basement flooded and its power and mechanical systems destroyed so it was going to be closed for several weeks. But because it hosted its email system in the building instead of in a secure data center, the leaders of the organization could not access their email lists to contact volunteers and athletic team members to let them know what was happening and what the alternative plans were.
Another company we work with lost power to their building for a week which meant their website which both supports their existing customers and sells new subscriptions was shut down for that time because the servers that run their website are located in their building rather than in a secure data center.
For one company with a local exchange server, the sudden power shutdown corrupted the server so they could not send, receive or access mai. We migrated them to our secure data center and had them up and running within a day. We even were eventually able to recover their old mailboxes.
While power was out to a lot of our customers, our SureDesk and SureMail solutions didn't miss a beat. As people regained power and internet connectivity they were able to access their systems even if they were still unable to make it to the office. In fact, two of our founders were stuck in England because their flights were cancelled and ran our business from "across the pond" just as if they were in our Princeton offices because they had access to their SureDesk and SureMail accounts.
Now, you may be in an area that doesn’t get flooded and never has power outages, but there are always things that can go wrong with mission critical services hosted in office buildings that are not designed for them - internet connections might get accidentally cut, utility poles get knocked down, a short-circuit causes a fire.
Make one of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 to review your network and server infrastructure and make sure it is designed to allow your business to continue in then event of a natural disaster.