Solution Providers Hunker Down As Hurricane Sandy Pummels East Coast11:40 AM EST Mon. Oct. 29, 2012
East Coast solution providers are bracing for Hurricane Sandy's impact Monday after spending last week and even the weekend doing their best to prepare their clients for possible power outages or flooding.
Sam Ruggeri, president of Advanced Vision Technology Group, Hauppauge, N.Y., said all his employees were working remotely Monday but staying in touch as they ride out the storm. Advanced Vision offered clients help to properly shut down their IT in advance of the storm but everyone chose to keep IT up and to work remotely, Ruggeri said.
"We're all working until something happens. We started talking to them early on and over the weekend. Obviously, everybody knows what's going on but we're still all on [Long] Island," Ruggeri said. "We did an email to clients this morning. Some of them said they're not sure about tomorrow. We'll see what happens."
As of 10:00 a.m. ET Monday morning, Sandy had left thousands without power and caused coastal flooding in several states.
Several tech events have also been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, including an IBM Influencer Forum in New York and a Google press conference in New York.
Some VARs have taken to Facebook and other social media outlets to keep employees, friends and customers updated on their situation.
Ted Hunter, general manager of Champion Networks, a Brunswick, Maine-based solution provider, wrote a post that said, "Checking on clients prior to storm for backup and power protection. RV is in the yard with plenty of fresh water and propane so even if the power goes out we will have heat, a stove, and hot water ... generator is ready to keep computers on but if our ISP is offline no remote access which is a major issue for anyone in 'the cloud.'"
Pat Grillo, president and CEO of Atrion Communication Resources, a Branchburg, N.J.-based VAR, wrote on his Facebook page Monday morning, "Well, we are starting to feel the effects of Sandy. Hopefully we can get done what we need to and get the employees that came in home safely before it gets really bad. I am not liking the pictures I am seeing from the shore and the storm is still 300 miles away."
NEXT: Tips On How To Prepare For A Hurricane
Arlin Sorensen, CEO of HTG Peer Groups, an organization of VARs that has a program called Hands That Give in which VARs help other VARs recover in times of need said he's got volunteer resources ready to help VARs impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
"We sent out and e-mail alert to everybody. We're standing by," Sorensen said. Hands That Give has about 170 member companies in the program, he added. "The majority are not on the East Coast, so we have a big pool of people to draw on."
HTG's e-mail included a Red Cross disaster preparedness document and offered tips on how to prepare for the hurricane for VARs to pass along to customers and do themselves, including:
- Write down critical cell and landline numbers.
- Use text messages instead of voice calls when possible to use less battery on your phone.
- Back up critical data onto external hard drives or online and evacuate critical equipment or seal it in garbage bags to protect against water damage.
- And lastly, use common sense.
"Evacuate if your local government issues an order, don't drive through flooded streets, stay away from downed wires. If you stay calm, your family will too," Sorensen wrote in the email.
Sorensen hasn't received any calls for help as of Monday morning. "I assume in the next 24 hours things will liven up out there," he said.
Mike Semel, president of Semel Consulting, a Las Vegas-based company that specializes in helping VARs with disaster recovery and business continuity, said at this point any VARs in Sandy's path just need to "settle down, settle in and survive."
Semel is riding out the storm in Elmira, N.Y., where he has stockpiled 30 gallons of gas for his generator and 10 gallons of water for he and his wife.
"We're going to see wires down, flooding. Avoid driving at all. In fact, it could be illegal to drive in your area," Semel said. "Right now, the message is there's no client, no contract, no business, that's worth anybody taking a risk."
PUBLISHED OCT. 29, 2012