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Hurricane Dorian Casts Shadow Over Sunshine State Solution Providers

‘The word of the day for all of our clients is backup, backup, backup,” said Michael Goldstein, with LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based solution provider.

As Florida braces for Hurricane Dorian, solution providers are scrambling to make sure their employees are safe, as well as keeping their offices and networks protected from what could be a Category 4 monster.

“The word of the day for all of our clients is backup, backup, backup,” said Michael Goldstein, with LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based solution provider. “We’re not new to this. For us we started last week, verifying everyone’s backed up, making sure that everything is in sync, figuring out our own plan. Earlier in the week we tested our procedures, and we’ve been on top of our clients every single day.”

On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties of the Sunshine State as a result of what he called “the severe threat posed by Hurricane Dorian.” Meanwhile, he asked the White House for a pre-landfall disaster declaration to free up federal funds ahead of a potential catastrophe.

"With Hurricane Dorian strengthening, I have sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that he declare a pre-landfall disaster for all of Florida’s 67 counties," said DeSantis. "The trajectory of this storm remains uncertain, and this declaration will provide us with the necessary resources to ensure the state is fully prepared. I am confident the President will grant my request and show his full support for Florida."

DeSantis has also activated 2,500 members of the Florida National Guard, with an additional 1,500 on standby awaiting orders. According to the National Weather Service, said Dorian has strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane and is expected to make landfall in Florida on Monday or early Tuesday, by which time it could strengthen to a Category 4 storm with wind speeds between 130 and 156 mph.

In Tampa, IT Authorities Chief Operating Officer Tony Sousan said the company first makes sure its employees are taken care of, then begins planning what to do using the latest information from the National Weather Service.

“The leadership team huddles on a daily basis to make judgment calls on do we close the office, do we come in, do we go with a skeleton crew,” he said. “For folks who are able to come into work, we make sure the diesel generator is powered on. When we talk about our systems, we made a concerted effort over the last couple years to make sure all of our core business systems that run and support our internal as well as our customers’ infrastructure are all on Microsoft Azure’s cloud.”

He said the company made it through a hurricane two years ago unscathed, but when some customers and even vendors were not as lucky, IT Authorities -- No. 410 on the CRN 2019 Solution Provider 500 -- lent a helping hand, even handing over a conference room to one vendor.

“We scrambled the morning after to help with customers,” he said. “Some of our customers, they range from five users to 12,000 users, and some of the smaller companies don’t have the staff, so they ask if we can help them get into their building, can you help me make sure our PCs are OK? So we would dispatch people out to make sure that will happen. We’ll do the same thing this year. Its always personal safety first, then we go into help our customers.”

At Acordis International Corp. in Miramar, Fla. -- No. 473 on the 2019 CRN Solution Provider 500 -- senior marketing specialist Alexandra Porben said the firm is telling employees that family comes first and to make sure that they have the essential supplies to weather the storm. Meanwhile, the company is telling customers to power down and unplug computers, cover devices near windows, and move electronics off the floor in the event of flooding.

“Our logistics team is currently installing hurricane shutters on all the windows at our office,” Porben said. “We are also fueling our trucks and vans so we are ready to assist our clients once the storm passes. All of our equipment in inventory is being moved to higher shelves in the warehouse in case flooding occurs.”

She said their operations teams were making sure all servers and computers are backed to their cloud storage. And they are in the process of shutting down computers, un-plugging them and placing them off the ground.

Sousan said at IT Authorities, the firm has done all it can at this point.

“We all have our fingers crossed,” he said. “We’re hoping we just get a little bit of wind and two or three inches of rain. But you never know. Mother Nature is going to do what she wants to do.”

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