Severe Weather Response: A Look Back at Hurricane Sandy

Battery Tunnel entrance after Hurricane Sandy

In recent years, a surge in severe weather events have devastated communities and businesses around the globe. In the United States alone, we have experienced thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars in damage and lost revenue. Just this month, Hurricane Florence devastated the Carolinas and last year was one of the deadliest hurricane seasons ever with Maria directly contributing to nearly 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico.

New York was struck by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. While it wasn’t considered to be a hurricane when it made landfall, the damage left behind was similar, and in some cases, much worse.

In the face of these events, there is only one thing to do: plan for the worst-case scenario. Proper planning allows business leaders to be assured that they can focus on the immediate impact of a weather event and know what once the situation normalizes, business operations are able to resume.

Back in 2012, Valiant was not nearly as prepared as we are today for a severe weather event. At the time, many of our clients relied on in-house email solutions and servers and did not have any type of business continuity plan. Most didn’t even have an internal communications plan to contact their employees in the event of an emergency. In the end, we did not lose any client data and experienced minimal equipment damage. Clients in Manhattan below 34th street experienced downtime for as much as 5 days, and experienced minimal issues once they were able to open their doors again.

Valiant’s team of engineers and technicians set out to achieve minimal interruption to our clients by scrambling to create data backups, test existing backups, and prepare clients for the worst. The biggest problem our team encountered throughout the storm was spotty communications with our clients, at times being unable to update them on system statuses.

Flooded NYC Subway Station

Flooded NYC Subway Station

Once power was restored to the city, we scrambled again to bring systems online. The team, led by Nick Nightingale, did a great job of visiting each client to bring systems online, perform reviews, and resolve any issues that were found. While the end result was not ideal, we learned a lot of valuable lessons that formed the guiding principles on how we protect our clients.

Valiant’s Guiding Principles of Preparedness

  • Backups must be operational at all times and tested regularly as disaster may strike at any time.
  • If data does not exist on 3 or more discreet systems, it is not considered to be protected.
  • Migrate as many systems and applications to the Cloud as possible. The resilient nature of Cloud computing greatly enhances the likelihood that a system will remain available and offers many other benefits during normal conditions.
  • Deploy systems that are simple and easy to repair to reduce potential downtime.
  • Build reliable and easy-to-use remote access solutions for as many job functions as possible. Many roles in a business can be performed from any location.
  • The right time to plan is when operations are normal, not when a threat is near.

We apply all of the above principles to our clients by following The Valiant Way, and I think all managed service providers should follow them as well.

Are you concerned with the safety of your business’s data as the northeast reaches peak hurricane season? Valiant’s approach to network design, business continuity, and remote access solutions will provide you with a plan that not only helps you weather a storm, but improves your network’s overall stability, security, and scalability. Learn more by getting in touch today.

Georg Dauterman is the President of Valiant Technology, a New York-based Managed Service Provider specializing in solutions for creative industries. Early in his career, Georg worked in the IT departments...

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