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Refuge In the Cloud: How Channel Partners and Telcos Survived Sandy

By Kate Kunkel
December 11, 2012 - Article
Continued from page 1

Setting customers up with multiple carriers was a crucial focus for McGraw when dealing with the storm, said Frank Wassenbergh, the company's director of sales. Wassenbergh explained that using alternative technologies helped customers who could not get into their offices.

McGraw's cloud-services strategy centers around using multiple clouds rather than one because of what happens when clouds "get wet." "Everyone looks at the cloud as this magical place where unicorns are going to take care of your data and it's never going to go down," Wassenbergh said. " ... What happened is that this storm got the cloud wet, and the cloud went down."

Just as a customer should not use only one Internet provider, Wassenbergh said that people need to understand where their clouds are, how they might be impacted during disasters like Sandy, and how to diversify in different clouds.

"They shouldn't look at the cloud as this magical place that is going to solve all their problems," he added.

Preparation Is Key

Another company in the thick of the storm was prepared for power outages and system shutdowns with its cloud-based infrastructure.

Grudi Associates, a channel partner based in Palmyra, Penn., reached out to its clients before the storm to make sure redundancy was in place.

The company's president, Walt Grudi, said that employees were able to take client calls, look up circuit IDs and forward premise-based clients' phone calls to other locations as needed. As the hurricane approached, the company closed its physical offices, but employees worked remotely using virtual desktop infrastructure.

"Having that infrastructure in the cloud was critical for us to be able to respond to our clients and do what we do," Grudi said.

Migrating to the Cloud: A Wise Choice

Evolve IP, a cloud-services provider in Wayne, Penn., did not experience negative effects to its core operations, but the customer side was greatly impacted by power and access outages.

Scott Kinka, the company's CTO, told Channel Partners that the storm validated customers' decisions to move to the cloud.

"Many customers who had been considering proposals to move to the cloud, or who already had some services with us but not others, were forced into situations where they immediately needed to move some services to the cloud," Kinka said.

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