Surviving Hurricane Irma
Thanks To Cloud Workspace Solutions

Stuart Crawford

Editor’s note: Stuart Crawford, the president of Ulistic and a trusted MSP Marketing strategic partner of CloudJumper is our guest blogger for this week.  We thank Stuart for sharing his success in navigating the Irma the Cat 2 hurricane which brought destruction to so many in Florida earlier this year. 

What do you do when a CAT2 Hurricane hits your business? Trust in your virtual desktop in the cloud to keep your data secure and your business running.

10:52 pm ET on Sunday, September 10, 2017 –  Hurricane Irma paid Sebring, FL a visit. The Ulistic staff and I didn’t expect her to drop by uninvited, but she did so all the same.

One of Ulistic’s offices is based in Sebring, Florida – we relocated there just a few weeks before Hurricane Irma hit. We had barely settled in when we had to evacuate to Mobile, Alabama for more than a week. The eye of the hurricane went right over Sebring, so clearly, we made the right call in evacuating — thanks to our experience in IT business continuity and disaster planning, we were able to stay up and running.

Our ability to remain operating as a business while Irma wreaked havoc across Florida is largely due to one simple fact – Ulistic doesn’t host any systems on-premise. We have always relied on cloud services to keep our data and our work accessible and secure, no matter what happens on the ground.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s start at the beginning

I woke up early on September 7th, days after Irma had developed near the Cape Verde Islands, but still long before she had reached us in Sebring. I still knew we had to prepare for the possibility that we’d get hit, so I put the Ulistic business continuity strategy into play.  If you don’t have a business continuity plan, you will find yourself managing a disaster, and recovery without a plan is perilous at best.

Here’s what I did:

  1. We relocated to Mobile. Alabama to get out of range of Irma.
  2. We set up an SMS group to keep all our staff connected while we relocated. SMS ended up being very reliable in an emergency like this, which is why it’s important to ensure your business continuity plan has all the cell numbers of all your staff members.
  3. We regularly updated each other on an hourly basis to ensure everyone was safe.

Once everyone was safely relocated — which we confirmed over SMS — we were ready to enter into our recovery mode. Here are the key takeaways I have from my experience in keeping a business running during a hurricane:

  1. Cloud Solutions vs. On-Premise
    No matter what anyone else tells you — your IT guy, your spouse, or anyone else — there is NO REASON for any business operating in the modern world to use on-premise systems. Don’t run a server on your premise. Don’t use an on-premise, hard-lined phone system. All of that goes out the window the minute you have to evacuate because a hurricane is about to roll over your office. There is zero reason for you to run a server on premise. Companies like CloudJumperhave robust systems that allow you to do virtually any type of work in the cloud — all of which is hosted off-site, safe and secure from any type of emergency. It’s because of the cloud solutions Ulistic uses for our work that we were able to stay up and running.
  2. Keep Your Staff Safe
    With all our valuable data and vital capabilities taken care of in the cloud, the other concern was to ensure that our staff was clear of the storm. We fled to Mobile, Alabama, and thanks to that, we’re still in business today. Sure, it took a while for a few of our staff members to get back online, but we’re still here – that’s what counts.
  3. Accept What You Can’t Control No matter how much you plan, there are some things you can’t foresee, especially if it’s the first time you put your business continuity plan into action. Internet outages, gasoline shortages, etc. – all of this affected us, but it’s the reality of the situation – you can’t predict everything that will go wrong. However, now that I have that first-hand experience, Ulistic has invested in a backup generator, emergency reserves of gasoline to keep it running, and backup satellite Internet service.

On top of those key recommendations, I have one more point I have to share with you: data backup IS NOT the be-all-end-all of business continuity planning. It’s what every MSP in the country will lead with, but they ARE NOT one and the same.

Data backup is a part of business continuity, but there’s so much more to it, such as implementing the right cloud solutions. Having Ulistic’s data backed up wouldn’t have kept our staff members in touch while we evacuated Sebring, right? Don’t let your business continuity strategies begin and end with data backup.

For more information about how CloudJumper’s WaaS Solution, nWorkSpace solution can be part the DR/business continuity solution you help your clients create, get in touch with CloudJumper today hello@cloudjumper.com or (844) 645-6789. Follow us on social media: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

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