How Did You Weather The Bomb Cyclone?

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The following article was published in todays Foster’s and Seacoast Sunday.

BombCyclone2By the time you read this, you will have hopefully survived the “Bomb Cyclone” that rolled through on Thursday. I got a kick out of all the reports in various media about the storm’s “wicked cold” and “polar vortex.” It’s winter in New England. You never know what’s coming and when.

Storms like this provide a stark reminder that businesses don’t stop due to weather. Successful companies need to be able to operate through storms like this and ensure their staffs are able to work wherever and whenever they need to.

Successful companies today, employ a range of strategies to remain functional throughout any event that could impact their offices or staff. This is mostly done by leveraging Cloud or data center services to disperse the organization’s business systems across geographies in order to insulate the business from a catastrophic event in any one geography.

To put this in layman’s terms, this means not relying on a computing infrastructure that is solely located in the company’s sole office location. That’s how it used to be done, but not today. In the past, especially for smaller businesses, but for much medium- and larger-sized organization as well, a single location would be where you would find one or more servers that run all of the business systems. Email servers, file systems, printing, databases, accounting applications, any proprietary software would all be on these servers. If the office was not accessible, neither were the systems unless the business invested in power infrastructure, like generators, to keep the servers running the event of a power outage. This would also require robust remote access infrastructures, so that employees would be able to access these resources.

Today, this is accomplished very differently and quite cost effectively. Smart businesses have servers and systems offsite, in the Cloud, a private or public data center or a combination of these. Many companies have moved to Office 365 or Google G Suite, mostly for email, but potentially other productivity applications and services as well. With email moved offsite and into a data center infrastructure managed by industry giants Microsoft and Google, you can be assured you will not lose your ability to electronically communicate when a storm runs through your local regions. Email has become a primary form of communication for both internal and external contacts. Ensuring this capability is “always on” is more critical than it has ever been.

Having critical business systems offsite also ensures availability. When your applications are running in the Cloud or a data center, your systems will be more accessible than they would be if they were only located within your office. Hardly any business that considers itself a small- or medium-sized could afford to maintain the highly available and redundant infrastructure that exists in the Cloud and other data centers. The power and connectivity capabilities within these sites are truly impressive. They are all designed to ensure uptime and availability, regardless what may be happening.

While the above addresses the systems your teams use every day to accomplish their goals, telecommunication requirements are often overlooked. It’s equally important to make sure callers are able to call your organization and get through to someone throughout an extreme event, be it weather, natural disaster or other. Having a redundant telecommunications infrastructure will further ensure your customer experience is consistent through any event that might otherwise negatively impact the business.

If you or your teams experienced any issues during this last storm that should be a clear sign you need to review how your company is structured to ensure employees, customers and business partners are able to continue to work together and support one another, regardless of environmental or other events that would otherwise interrupt this. Make 2018 the year that your business embraces truly high availability and redundancy.