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"Every day we tried to walk back into the building. It took about two weeks then they allowed us in for 20 minutes," he said. "We assembled a whole team and created a plan for how all of us would go into different rooms and pick the most essential stuff. What an operation. It was raining and we had dollies and carts with servers on them," he said. "We had a hard time recovering. We couldn't forward the phones. We lost a lot of business. You think when it hits you, I can recoup from that. But it's not the hit, it's the later on that's hard. It takes a while to realize all the things you've lost."
Ben-Reuven said he learned not to take even the most basic technology requirements for granted after that.
"Today, we run IT from a data center. In the offices, we just have desktops. Anything we need is remote. Redundancy is extremely important. Our niche is the hedge fund industry. It's very highly regulated and business continuity and disaster recover are very important. We now are very extremely well versed an all that and everything that needs to be redundant."
Ben-Reuven says he's tried to learn from the events of September 11 and to make his business stronger.
"Other things we learned are documentation to all the vendors. That disaster was monumental but you're resilient and you pick up things and move on. Many businesses did not. We were lucky, but we almost failed. A year and a half later, we were struggling pretty hard. Somehow we worked out the kinks.
"Am I better prepared today? Yes. If we didn't go through that, disasters wouldn't look the same. We've been here through hurricanes in Florida [Chelsea has an office in Hallandale, Fla.], but terrorist attacks are more harsh than nature. With hurricanes, you see it coming. You know how to move around. Something like this hits you from left field."
Every year on September 11, the events come back fresh in Ben-Reuven's mind.
"During the year, you don't really think about it," he says. "We returned back to the same office. We're in exactly the same location that we were 10 years ago. The same floor, the same room, the same everything. You can see how the new buildings coming up. It's different. But there's always a reminder, hey, you were supposed to be there. You give thanks that you're alive."