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Florida Hurricane Watch: Hermine Flooding vs. Cloud Business Continuity

Tropical Storm Hermine, which could become a hurricane, is expected to reach Florida late Thursday or early Friday morning before potentially moving through Georgia and the Carolinas. Hermine could dump 10 inches of rain in some areas, triggering flooding across the region, forecasters predicted.

Hermine has already triggered a State of Emergency across numerous Florida counties and mandatory evacuations in some areas. A range of well-known technology companies, MSPs and IT services providers could be in or near the storm’s path — ranging from ConnectWise and Tech Data in Tampa, Fla. to BrightGauge — a Miami, Fla.-based business intelligence software provider to MSPs.

Updated Sept 1., 7:40 a.m. ET: The storm track now appears to be heading north of those businesses, though heavy rain is still expected in the Tampa area. Miami will be spared the brunt of the storm.

Still, businesses across Florida aren’t taking any chances. “The storms down here in Miami can create a lot of commotion but so far we have been lucky to be spared in previous storms (knock on wood),” said BrightGauge CEO Eric Dosal. “For BrightGauge there is limited prep work except protecting our office in the event of rain water damage. Everything we have is 100 percent in the cloud so as long as we have Internet we are good to go and can just focus on our personal property.”

Fortunately, BrightGauge appears located just below the storm’s track. Thousands of additional businesses may not be so fortunate. It’s a safe bet MSPs across the region have double-checking customer backups and moving data off-premises to a range of public clouds, private clouds, co-location centers and business continuity services.

A key example: In anticipation of the storm, AppRiver has once again activated its free Digital Disaster Preparedness Service (DDPS). First made available in 2005, DDPS is a service designed to prevent businesses from losing email in the event of a mail server outage. Th company, which works closely with MSPs, is offering DDPS at no charge to those that may be in the path of Tropical Storm Hermine.

Lessons From Louisiana Flooding 2016

While tropical storms and hurricanes can knock out electricity for days and sometimes longer, the bigger danger typically involves flood damage that destroys or washes away local networks.

Indeed, business owners in Tropical Storm Hermine’s path would be wise to heed key lessons from the recent Louisiana floods, which were triggered by extended heavy rains rather than a “named” storm. More than 7,000 businesses were impacted by the Louisiana flooding.

Several MSPs serving the Louisiana area moved customer data out of the flood’s path and onto cloud platforms. Some of those cloud-based recoveries could last several weeks, since customers’ local networks were washed away and/or destroyed in the floods. Federal and state officials opened six small business recovery centers across Louisiana to help entrepreneurs and business owners get their companies back on their feet.

Flooding’s Impact On Louisiana Employees

In some cases, IT service providers have seen their employees directly impacted by the Louisiana floods. Verma Systems has eight employees who were badly affected — and seven of those employees lost all of their  possessions. The company, which is an Ingram Micro Trust X Alliance Member, has launched a GoFundMe page to help those employees pay for:

  • The cleanup and restoration of homes;
  • furniture and clothing replacement;
  • food and vehicle expenses/replacement; and
  • other monthly expense assistance.

Overall, the Louisiana Floods are now considered the worst U.S. natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy, according to the Red Cross. And now comes Hermine, which continues to threaten the Southeastern United States.

Tropical Storm Hermine’s Overall Impact

Stay tuned to ChannelE2E for ongoing updates on Tropical Storm Hermine. We’re reaching out to sources across the storm’s potential track for their updates.

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