Nov 26 2014

Telework Tech Helps Buffalo Businesses Weather Storms

Having systems and policies in place preserves productivity, no matter what Mother Nature brings.

When disaster strikes, productivity must go on. Businesses shared their tales of disaster recovery and remote work during Superstorm Sandy last year, and companies in Buffalo, N.Y., shared theirs after 7 feet of mid-November snow was dumped on their doorsteps.

Companies such as environmental services firm Ecology & Environment in Lancaster, N.Y., put their remote-work policies into action during last week’s snowstorm. About 90 to 95 percent of the firm's 250 employees were able to telecommute, human resources director Marty Mazur told The Buffalo News.

Mazur said that employees are able to access documents and resources from home.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago, this would have been crippling,” he said. “Now they have the ability to work on projects for clients from home. That can go on pretty seamlessly, in fact.”

Local outages can be more challenging for IT service providers, which need to keep data centers operational at all times.

Only two of the 32 employees of MVP Network Consulting in Buffalo needed to be in the office to keep the data center running, owner Ikram Massabini told Computer Reseller News. Other employees were able to use Voice over Internet Protocol services to stay in contact with customers, he said.

The online publication CSO spoke with several Buffalo-area businesses and spotlighted some of the tactics used to ensure active operations in the aftermath of the storm.

Algonquin Studios, a software and web development and technology consulting firm, was able to ride out the storm with ease, thanks to its IT preparedness.

“Between our VPN [virtual private network] access and services already migrated to the cloud, most people could reach their full environment from home even without prior notice,” David Thiemecke, Algonquin's co-founder and vice president, told CSO.

Communications preparedness can be as important as technological preparedness, it’s important to communicate clearly and ahead of time within the organization in such situations. Algonquin has a plan in place, according to Thiemecke.

“By 6:30 a.m. each business day, we’d notified all staff that we closed the office. Regardless of the amount of snow outside, it’s important to have everyone work from home and put no greater demand on community safety services,” he said.

Dmitriy Melnikov/Thinkstock

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