Hurricane Harvey: Solution Providers Vow Resilience, Emphasize Value Of Disaster Recovery Plans

As Houston-based solution providers fight to recover from the historic flooding and destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, they continue to weigh in with stories of triumph and toughness in the face of disaster.

The offices of PCPC Direct, No. 206 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, are "pretty much high and dry," CTO Eric Collins told CRN Tuesday. Because the surrounding area remains inundated by floodwaters, however, the entire Houston staff has been working remotely this week, including the PCPC accounting, administrative and help desk teams. Collins said some of the company's employees have experienced flooding in their homes, too.

Beyond the inconvenience of working remotely, PCPC services have remained largely uninterrupted. The solution provider enacted a business continuity plan that has been working effectively, Collins said, with email, applications and terminal services already in place for off-site employees. Customers that rely on PCPC for hosting and data protection have been running on its platform since late last week, as well.

[Related: Solution Providers, Vendors Help Customers, Each Other As Harvey Soaks Houston ]

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A disaster recovery plan that is properly tested and easily executed, Collins noted, is critical for businesses to have in place no matter the circumstances.

"We joke for years when we talk about business continuity, disaster recovery plans that nobody really cares about it or spends any money on it until there's a storm in the Gulf [of Mexico]," Collins said. "This is why you spend money on it when there's not a storm in the Gulf. You have to have a plan, execute against the plan, test the plan. And it works fine. If you don't, you're going to be in some trouble here the next week. That's just the way it is."

Harvey has hammered Texas with an estimated 11 trillion gallons in recent days, according to CNN, forcing roughly 3,400 water rescues as of Tuesday morning. The record-setting hurricane, now classified as a tropical storm, has moved out of Texas and into Louisiana as of Wednesday.

But with two major Houston reservoirs currently at capacity, the overflow has been funneled into the city's already-flooded bayous, where forecasters expect water levels to continue rising until later this week. In the meantime, PCPC has urged its team to stay off the roads and continue working remotely.

"The waters will start to recede, but it will probably be a full seven days from now until they get low enough," Collins said. "People get out into this stuff, they get into water over their head. It's always deceptive how deep it is or how fast it's moving."

Kurt Nordquist, director of business development at Netsync Network Solutions, No. 113 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, told CRN via email that the company's teams have been deemed safe "for the most part," although many have also suffered property damage. Netsync facilities are secure and unaffected by the flooding, he wrote, and leadership's priority moving forward is ensuring the safety of families, friends and employees.

"We certainly want to convey our deepest thanks and respect to the first responders -- the area police and fire departments, Coast Guard, National Guard and citizen volunteers, including those from neighboring states that have shown tremendous sympathy and character to come to Houston's aid in our time of need," Nordquist wrote. "They are true heroes."

"We're Texans and we're hard-working, resilient people," said Netsync's Nordquist. "I have absolute faith we'll be back on our collective feet soon serving our customers and contributing back to the community that we call home."

Nordquist will provide CRN with further details as they become available.

PCPC's Collins urged anyone with the means to consider donating to the Gulf Coast Red Cross, which he said has done an excellent job of keeping victims safe and comfortable despite the circumstances. Much of the PCPC team was scheduled to attend VMworld in Las Vegas this week, but with Harvey derailing those plans, Collins said they can't do much more than wait for water levels to recede.

"We're just trying to keep our heads down, stay safe and get ready for next week. Start getting things back to normal," Collins said. "This week is definitely a 'snow week.'"

READ MORE: Solution Providers Aid Customers Affected By Hurricane Harvey With Proactive Services