Hurricane Irma: Florida Solution Providers Batten Down The Hatches As Massive Storm Approaches

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Florida solution providers are working with clients on helping them avoid IT disasters as a new massive hurricane rips through the Caribbean and could hit landfall in U.S. this weekend.

While Hurricane Irma, which is responsible for three deaths so far in St. Bartholomew and St. Martin, could veer northward in time to save Florida from what will likely be a Category 4 hurricane, but solution providers are not taking chances with IT infrastructure.

Hurricane Irma is following closely on the heels of Hurricane Harvey which in the last couple weeks has devastated the Houston area with up to 50 inches of rain and a huge storm surge. Combined, the rain and storm surge resulted in massive flooding that damaged hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in Texas and triggered disaster preparation and disaster recovery plans throughout the area.

[Related: Hurricane Harvey: Solution Providers Aid Customers With Proactive Services]

It's already starting to get crazy in Florida with all the attention being paid to Hurricane Irma, said Hugo Perez, managing director of cloud at United Data Technologies, a Doral, Fla.-based managed services provider and cloud services provider.

"Florida, like the other 49 states, put our energy behind helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey," Perez told CRN. "Now Irma is coming, and we're looking to how it will impact Florida. We're short of water, gas, and propane."

United Data Technologies made a good living from selling on-premises IT infrastructure, but is now heavily focused on using the Microsoft Azure cloud for disaster recovery and business continuity, especially for smaller businesses that have trouble managing their own IT environments, he said.

The company, one of only 100 Tier 1 Microsoft cloud solution providers in the U.S., has been busy providing customers with hotlines and hurricane alerts to help prepare for the storm, as well as making sure customers are ready when it comes to disaster recovery, Perez said.

Preparation work is of particular importance for smaller businesses like law firms, accounting firms, non-profits and anyone with less than 200 people, he said.

"For these small companies, people probably won't show up to work because of the hurricane," he said. "So we make sure they are safe. The most important thing to these companies outside of their people is their data. A loss of data can completely close one of these businesses."

Communication with clients during the run up to Hurricane Irma has been the top priority for LAN Infotech, a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based solution provider, wrote company President Michael Goldstein in an email to CRN.

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