Emergency plans are in place and communities are being evacuated.

Claudia Adrien

September 27, 2022

5 Min Read
Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane before its Florida landfall this week. Officials in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, ordered more than 300,000 residents along its coastal regions to evacuate Monday. They also recommended a voluntary evacuation of an adjoining area.

Hillsborough Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley told a group of reporters that, “this is not a drill.”

For Tampa Bay businesses in the channel, preparations began long ago for the possibility of a major storm. Although Tampa hasn’t experienced a catastrophic hurricane in 100 years, large companies located in Florida are often well equipped for natural disasters.


ReliaQuest’s Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy is CEO and founder of Tampa-based ReliaQuest.

“ReliaQuest closed its Tampa offices Monday at 12 p.m. through Friday of this week,” he said. “Because of our global footprint with five operating centers outside of Tampa, we can operate normally without disruption to our customer base. Our first priority is always the safety of our people, and we continue to focus on that through the storm.” Murphy said.

Murphy added that the company’s architecture is designed to not be dependent on a single geography. This is to protect against natural disasters, power disruptions and other catastrophes to the highest extent possible. Additionally, Murphy said the technology will always matter less than the impact on the people trying to shelter in place or evacuate.

Keeping Businesses Running


TD Synnex’s Bobby Eagle

Bobby Eagle is director, external communications for TD Synnex. He said the company’s Clearwater headquarters’ building will be closed through the duration of the storm. It will remain closed until it is deemed safe by authorities to reopen.

Like ReliaQuest, TD Synnex will depend on its business network to avoid interruptions the hurricane might cause to the company.

“We have in place business continuity plans and teams strategically located across the Americas to ensure minimal impact on our business and the service we provide. We also have backup power for our infrastructure in Clearwater and the ability to transition operations based there from backup locations in other states,” Eagle said.

He added: “The TD Synnex crisis management team continues to closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Ian with the safety of our co-workers and continuity of service to our vendors and customers as our top priorities. We will continue to communicate proactively with our co-workers, vendors and customers as the situation develops.”

Out-of-State Infrastructure


ConnectOn’s Unnar Thor Gardarsson

Unnar Thor Gardarsson is CEO of ConnectOn, a 40-year-old MSP based in Tampa. He said the longevity of his company has meant they have had many years to lay out contingency plans for times of disaster.

For example, the company utilizes out-of-state data centers for computing specifically because of Florida’s risk of hurricanes.

“I suppose the advantage that we have our is that our infrastructure is hosted out of the state,” Gardarsson said. “Obviously, some of our customers have locations outside of Tampa. They’re going to be able to continue business as usual and work with our systems and we’ll be able to monitor and respond to tickets.”

That may not be the case for other MSPs in Tampa who rely on Florida-based data centers. Gardarsson estimates that at least 50% have all their assets located in Tampa.

“There are a lot of MSPs in this area, and a lot of them are smaller. So, they’re not going to have the infrastructure, the ability to pay for the kind of infrastructure, that’s needed to have the type of support that we’re talking about,” Gardarsson said.

ConnectOn sent staff outside of Florida to work in anticipation of the storm. As for those in Tampa, they plan to communicate through SMS and even radio communications if they need to during Hurricane Ian.

Preparedness and Protocols


ConnectWise’s Geoffrey Willison

Geoffrey Willison is COO  of Tampa-based software provider ConnectWise. The company is using its network of global offices to keep partners up and running securely during the storm. Internally, the company has protocols in place to ensure the safety of employees located in the path of the storm.

“Emergency preparedness is a core component of a resilient security posture,” said Willison. “ConnectWise has activated our own backup resources to manage impacts from the storm and ensure our partners feel as little impact to their services as possible. We’ve also increased our product support for partners in the potential path of the storm: granting expanded Help Desk resources and up to 10 free licenses of ConnectWise Control throughout the duration of the storm and recovery period.

“Internally, we always put our colleagues’ safety first. We are regularly communicating with our colleagues to ensure they’re aware of protocols during and after the storm. The beauty of a having a global team is the ability to lean on one another when an issue arises; per usual, ConnectWise colleagues are already doing just that!”


Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Claudia Adrien or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Claudia Adrien

Claudia Adrien is a reporter for Channel Futures where she covers breaking news. Prior to Informa, she wrote about biosecurity and infectious disease for a national publication. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and resides in Tampa.

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