Jeff Wargo, general manager at the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass., didn't count on the unthinkable to happen when he considered some IT changes for his business last summer.
In August 2013, Wargo contracted with Pete Peterson, co-founder and vice president of sales for the managed services provider Internet and Telephone, based a few towns over in Methuen. In an effort to make some upgrades, Peterson encouraged Wargo to back up all of his company's data to a private cloud through Intronis, to ensure the venue's bookings and membership information would be kept safe.
"We have a holistic approach. We helped them with a five-year road map and … showed them where they should be five years from now," Peterson explained. "The cloud is an integral part of that. And, as we say, 'It's not a matter of 'if.' It's a matter of 'when.'"
Wargo told CRN he was convinced to make the switch when the alternative was explained to him -- the "worst-case scenario."
Then about 10 months later, disaster struck at the historic site.
A three-alarm fire ripped through the yacht club's walls in the middle of the night on June 12, 2014, severely damaging the 150-year-old business located on Marblehead's picturesque coastal harbor.
Internet and Telephone received a notice around 1 a.m. the following morning that the club's web connection had gone down. A technician was working on fixing the situation at about 3 a.m. on June 13, Peterson said, but then he received word from Wargo there had been a fire. Investigators later determined the cause of the blaze was electrical in nature.
Peterson said he knew they would have to provide services instantly to get the local business up and running again. He double-checked with Intronis, a backup-and-disaster-recovery vendor, to be sure all of the club's pertinent information had been properly backed up the night before. In the coming days, while Wargo worked to get his crew set up with a command center in a trailer at the location, Peterson got busy with getting a Verizon and Comcast connection to the double-wide unit for phone and Internet services.
Wargo said the incident was a devastating blow, but it would have been even worse had the company's IT files not been backed up. Once the trailer was put into place, about seven employees housed inside could all access files and crucial pieces of information from a digital system, all saved in the cloud provided by Intronis, based in Chelmsford, Mass.
"When we were shown some of the deficiencies we had [last year], that really prompted us to move a little quicker than what the budget would have otherwise allowed [to secure our information],” Wargo said. "We were grateful we made the switch. …We're pretty happy with how it all worked out in the end."
The Eastern Yacht Club is now looking forward to the end of its season this summer, so it can close down and focus on rebuilding. The company hopes to be fully back in business sometime next spring, and it will be sure to continue backing up its files.
Peterson said he stresses to all of his many locally based clients the importance of keeping crucial digital information preserved in an off-premises destination. The Eastern Yacht Club incident is a cautionary tale for his customers. He said the story shows how a secure cloud connection can be a lifesaver for an organization.
"All of the financial information for a club that's more than 100 years old ... all of their client-resource management software and their accounting packages, all of the planning notices, restaurant menus, and points-of-sale cash register information ... all of that data was potentially lost if it weren’t for our engineers and Intronis," Peterson said.
"It reinforces why we tell everyone: 'It’s not a matter of, 'If this will happen.' It's a matter of 'when' and 'how.' You don't want to put everything only in the cloud, but you certainly want to have some [there]."
PUBLISHED SEPT. 3, 2014