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Meanwhile, as many solution providers and their employees struggle with their own lives, they have to find the time and resources to help customers too, many of whom lost power and access to data because of Sandy.
HorizonTek has Internet service and heat, but its phone provider, Cablevision, lost power, so the company had a single Verizon phone line working as of Nov. 6, HorizonTek's Zammett said.
Because of that single operating phone line, HorizonTek for now is taking customer calls, but not making outgoing calls. "Our outgoing calls guy can't get enough gas for his car to come in anyway," Zammett said. "And even if he makes it in, he can't make calls. And when you're not making outgoing calls, that's affecting tomorrow's business."
As a result, Sandy has pretty much put business on-hold for HorizonTek, Zammett said. The company had been planning to close a huge NetApp order in Pennsylvania but couldn't get the needed signatures in time to close the deal before the end of NetApp's third fiscal quarter.
"I'm not worried about getting the deal," he said. "But you always worry about an opportunity until it closes."
Hanover, Md.-based Alliance Technology Group was a lot more fortunate than its peers in New York or New Jersey, but even so, it lost power for one-and-a-half days, said Hope Hayes, president of the solution provider.
Because it was using a hosted email system, employees who had power could still access emails, Hayes said. "But we couldn't process orders," she said. "If push came to shove, we could pull out our old spreadsheets. But if a vendor sent us an email, it wouldn't go automatically into our accounting system."
Hayes said Alliance's UPS infrastructure worked perfectly, with all systems powering down and then getting back on-line as planned. It was, however a test of the UPS infrastructure under fire.
"We always wanted to test it," she said. "But you can't tell everyone to stop what they're doing to turn everything off. Someone is always working on something 'important.'"
Because of the Maryland Governor's office advisory to stay off the roads, Hayes was unable to visit the office for several days to view the damage, which she said was minimal despite being situated between two wooded areas.
However, Alliance's lowly fax machine provided word that the electricity was back up.
"We would call the main office line and the phone would continue to ring," she said. "The voice mail system had to reboot because the server had gone down. So how would we know when power was up? I called the fax machine and heard that screeching sound and knew it was up."