Snowed-in took on a whole new meaning last week for countless people in Buffalo, New York. And for TxMQ, an IT services company based in Buffalo, the 7+ feet of snow meant it was time to practice what it preaches.
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“Half the staff wasn’t able to get here (to TxMQs offices) yet none of our traditional functionality got affected,” says Chuck Fried, president and chief executive of TxMQ.
“Everything stayed up and running, even though the physical office had a skeleton crew in terms of staffing.”
For some years now small business owners have been hearing about the virtues of cloud computing. The appeal is you don’t have to worry about housing computing hardware on site, nor do your employees have to come into the office to access key software or data. In the past, small businesses looked at cloud computing as a novelty or something extra to have, but with the severe weather of the past few years it’s becoming a must have, if you want your business to continue operating with no interruptions.
Hand-in-hand with housing your applications, hardware and data outside of your office is having a plan to deal with any emergencies or natural disasters.
“Our people were able to be nearly 100% productive,” says Fried. “It’s one of those things where it all worked out and we didn’t miss a beat.”
According to Fried, a key component of an emergency plan is communications. His employees already knew how to access company data online and because there wasn’t a power outage, they could work from the comfort of their snowy homes. They weren’t scrambling to get in touch with clients, the boss or other co-workers. TxMQ uses Skype for real-time communications with its staff, and Fried says it worked well considering the magnitude of the storm.
“Don’t wait until something scary happens,” says Fried of disaster planning. “You’ve got to make sure you have plan in place.”