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When Disaster Strikes, the Cloud Holds Answers – Part 3 of 3: Cloud Keeps Productivity at Peak Levels

5 out of 10 people in the cloud have experienced the benefit of disaster avoidance / recovery. Learn more in our survey of 1,257 cloud decision makers.

In last week’s blog, we explored the rise of both disaster recovery (DR) concern and cloud adoption. In this third and final installment, we are going to look at another situation where the cloud helped an Evolve IP customer during a natural disaster.

The cloud can help organizations rise above natural disasters, a realization that became clear to executives at Apria Healthcare following Hurricane Katrina. As the devastating hurricane hit New Orleans and storm waters knocked out telephone service, Apria, a national deliverer of home health care services, could not take calls from customers, many of whom had made hurried departures from the area and were now in need of extra oxygen tanks, among other supplies. Following Katrina, executives at Apria sought a new communication solution that would provide cost savings, simplification and a good customer experience, as well as a DR and Business Continuity capability.

With more than 500 offices nationwide, using a major phone carrier to upgrade to SIP trunkline services would have cost upward of $2 million. Alternatively, Apria investigated lower-cost solutions that carry enterprise voice and data over IP networks. The company selected Evolve IP’s hosted PBX solution that is hosted in a geographically redundant, active-active data centers. Through this deployment, phone systems could be accessible from any branch and call forwarding capability would direct calls away from any branch that was compromised due to a storm or other weather event.

The new infrastructure was tested as twenty of Apria’s offices were directly in Sandy’s path. In preparation, the company programmed the system to forward calls to the backup center should the primary hub lose power. The result was that the company successfully avoided downtime even as both phone and data connectivity were lost in the primary center.

Cloud hosting affords businesses access to resources, servers and software, virtually eliminating any concern that a disaster, or even a simple outage, will affect productivity. Moving applications and infrastructure to a cloud – be it private, public or hybrid – ensures that applications are available from any location regardless of what’s happening at the physical site.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina became the seventh most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Atlantic coast affecting 8 million people, and causing billions of dollars in damage. The primary concern following a severe weather event is, undoubtedly, for the safety and well-being of the people and communities that were hit. Secondarily, businesses must think about the potential impact on business operations, revenue and the bottom line.

A solid IT shift toward cloud computing might have saved some of the companies affected by these hurricanes from the devastating lack of business continuity during and revenue loss during this time. Cloud is a proven strategy to circumvent many of the problems inherent to surviving a disaster of any kind.

For more information on cloud adaption, click here to download our recent survey of over 1,000 executives and IT professionals.

Also be sure to download our free Disaster Recovery Checklist.

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More Stories By Scott Kinka

Scott Kinka is Chief Technology Officer for Evolve IP. He has spent almost his entire career devising new and simpler ways for companies to acquire and integrate technology. While all of the tech talk these days is about the cloud, he was doing this when it was called ASP (application service provider) or on-demand. Before Scott joined Evolve IP as Chief Technology Officer, he served as Vice President of Network Services for Broadview Networks and ATX Communications. He has been involved in application development, hosting, messaging, networking, unified communications, contact centers, and security. His mission (and specialty) is acting as a translator between technology and business needs.