With two major MSP toolset vendors forced to implement emergency contingency plans and a major partner conference set to get underway near Miami, Hurricane Irma made her presence felt across Florida’s IT services community.
But by the time the Autotask Community Live 2017 annual partner conference got underway in Hollywood, Fla., this week, there was little sign at the host location of the deadly storm that had just sideswiped South Florida, before turning north and battering the state’s Central Gulf Coast.
“ConnectWise was back to business-as-usual just a couple of days after Hurricane Irma departed the Tampa Bay area,” that company said in an email to MSPmentor.
The storm made landfall in Florida on Sept. 10, leaving 6.7 million residents – about 64 percent of the state’s customers – without power.
As of Tuesday, service had been restored to all but about 100,000 residents, state power officials said.
The Tampa area was close to the eye of the storm and suffered extensive electricity and Internet outages.
However, since Florida had several days warning about the storm’s track, both ConnectWise and Kaseya rerouted key operations to minimize the disruption to customers.
A week after the storm, all but a few ConnectWise employees had seen their power restored and it was business as usual.
“The credit all goes to our colleagues who showed an amazing level of dedication during a time when so many were without electricity,” the ConnectWise statement said. “We want to thank those colleagues for their perseverance despite difficult personal situations and our partners for their concern and patience.”
Kaseya maintains a significant office in Miami’s Brickell financial district, which contains the bulk of its account executives and support operations.
Flooding and other damage in the area forced workers from that office to work remotely for a few days.
Kaseya also has about 30 sales employees based in Tampa.
Most employees at both locations returned to their offices by Thursday, and all employees had largely returned by Monday.
“We are working on several different initiatives to help with the recovery and cleanup efforts for our customers, our employees and for the Miami and Tampa communities where so many 'Kaseyans' live, work and play,” said Taunia Kipp, global senior vice president of marketing at Kaseya. “Firstly, we are working closely with our customers whose businesses were impacted to lend our support in whatever ways we are able, in order to get them back to normal operations.
“We are also planning a corporate community effort to assist with the cleanup in our local communities.”
“We're speaking now with a number of community and relief groups in Miami and in Tampa to determine the best way to support recovery efforts by forming a team of Kaseya employee volunteers who will spend their time helping to get the community back to normal - whether that is cleaning up debris, helping to rebuild damaged structures, volunteering at community centers or senior care facilities, delivering meals, etc.,” Kipp explained.
Business continuity giant Datto deployed for a second time its new Disaster Response Team, which saw its inaugural deployment two weeks earlier in Texas for the landfall of Hurricane Harvey.
The team travels into disaster zones to help partners get back up and running, often times handing out the company’s Data Networking Appliance (DNA), which enables users to establish a network connection from anywhere with electrical power and a 4G LTE signal.
“We were able to resupply through Atlanta (to) bring more devices into the area, and opening our supply lines,” said Matt Richards, vice president of product marketing at Datto.
By the end of last week, Datto had delivered 24 of the DNAs to partners in the Tampa and Orlando areas, and were venturing deeper into the state.
“These devices all have integrated 4G LTE failover and are provided free of charge for the duration,” Richards said of devices.
“We have assisted more than 160 partner help calls from our support team so far, already nearly three times as many as (Harvey) - which gives a sense of scale of the destruction facing local businesses across the entire state,” he went on. “Most of these are VMs running in our cloud, supporting business working in alternate locations until power returns.”
The region is now hoping it can avoid further damage from two additional hurricanes – Jose and Maria – which are currently spinning in the Atlantic Ocean near the southeastern United States.
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