SMB 500: Sandy's Effects Linger on Wall Street

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Super storm Sandy flooded lower Manhattan, isolating office towers and displacing scores of businesses. Among the effected firms was Wall Street Network, an MSP and ISV. This Ingram Micro SMB 500 company shares its story of how Sandy impacted its business and the slow road to recovery.

Super storm Sandy exacted a terrible toll on the New York-New Jersey region when it came ashore on Oct. 29. Much of Manhattan, Long Island and the Jersey shore were plunged into darkness. Worse, lower Manhattan, the world’s financial center, was flooded by surging sea water that crested over the battery, turning skyscrapers into pylons jetting from the cold sea.

Tens of thousands of businesses were affected by Sandy, including scores of solution providers. None in the channel got an as upfront view of the destruction and disruption in Manhattan as Lester Pierre and his team at Wall Street Network Inc., a managed service provider and independent software vendor at 110 Wall Street, footsteps way from the New York Stock Exchange trading floor and the East River.

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Pierre, CEO of Wall Street Network, #202 on the Ingram Micro SMB 500, provided this first-person account of what happened in those initial hours of Sandy’s landing, the immediate and ongoing operating disruptions, and how the storm’s aftermath impacted sales:

We first learned the area around our 110 Wall Street office was flooded from the storm surge on Monday, Oct. 29, in the early evening when our data center monitoring equipment issued notification that our backup power supplies were activated.

The loss of power and flooding meant we were not going to be able to use our office, and we had to rely on our teleworker capabilities. We knew we had dozens of SMB clients in the same situation, and they needed our support to deploy their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Our systems engineers in New York and Michigan were equipped with tools to remotely monitor and manage systems, as well as provide live end-user support via the Internet. Of course, without the Internet and cloud capabilities, we would be dead in the water (no pun intended).

Our back up facility was already in place, so we were able to fail-over most of our core operations. The exception was our telephony infrastructure, which relied on Verizon’s trunk lines. Because we were equipped with a VOIP IP PBX, we moved to our DR site and purchased SIP trunks. Verizon lost the ability to provide service to many of the buildings affected by the storm surge in lower Manhattan -- they still can't even reroute our numbers.

As of today, the building management at 110 Wall Street is projecting January 2013 as the realistic return to normalcy. Many of our business partners have extended invitations to use their facilities during our office displacement.

For WSN, there are two sides to the impact of the storm on fourth quarter sales and revenue. As an MSP business, our engineers are in high demand by the affected client base in lower Manhattan. In that regard, this has a positive impact on sales.

The ISV side of the business, we can't determine that yet. We are working hard to stay on track with our road-map goals for our AIIM ACE Award-winning Clearview Enterprise Content Management software, our KM World trendsetting knowledge management software WSN Insight for SharePoint and soon-to-be-released GIS software applications for Esri ArcGIS online.

The lessons learned from Sandy are the unexpected benefits of cloud and mobile technology for business continuity. In our managed services practice, we leveraged cloud and mobile technologies to deploy, manage and implement client solutions. The solutions include backup, network management, security, email and more.

On the ISV side we have a hybrid model (on-premises and cloud) to manage the development teams and source code. We did not implement these solutions with BC/DR as the primary objective, so it was an unexpected benefit for the firm.  

The SMB 500 list was compiled by distributor Ingram Micro Inc. and The 2112 Group, parent company of Channelnomics.

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