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Microsoft for Public Safety & National Security

Business continuity proves critical to small businesses affected by Sandy

19 December 2012 | Jennifer Steele, Senior Marketing Manager, Worldwide Public Sector

Communities have struggled to rebuild since Superstorm Sandy – a combination of hurricane, nor’easter and surging full-moon tides – devastated the U.S. Northeast in October. Millions lost power amid the high winds and surging flood waters that wiped out utilities and damaged the wiring and equipment needed to connect to the local grid. Major weather events around the world, including earthquakes, fires and floods, have also damaged homes and businesses throughout the year – leaving people without access to many critical services and without a workplace to continue supporting their families.

In the midst of this chaos, at least two small businesses were able to weather the storm: they had recently upgraded their operating systems through a Microsoft partner and were therefore running technology designed for business continuity and disaster recovery. Steve Rubin, president of the Brooklyn-based IT services firm WorkITsafe, told his story on Cindy Bates’ SMB blog:

“It used to be that only large enterprises enjoyed the peace of mind provided by disaster recovery solutions, and SMBs had access to no such thing. But small businesses require the same level of business continuity support as large companies—they are either up and running or they are out of business. Conventional wisdom says that if your business is down for more than two days, you’re toast...

(The morning of October 29) Evacuations were ordered, and things got very intense. But businesses still needed to operate, especially for our customers serving their own customers outside the eastern US, so people left their offices and worked from home… During a time when many other businesses failed, they were able to proceed with business as usual.”

Based on the businesses’ recent upgrades to the Windows Server 2012 operating system, WorkITsafe was able to activate Hyper-V Replica, which provides virtual machine replication between sites over a standard broadband connection. An organization sets up a server at a second location and replicates its workloads to this off-site server. Hyper-V Replica then makes copies of changes to those workloads every five minutes so, if a failure disables the primary site, the content in the organization’s replicated virtual machines is never more than five minutes old.

With Hyper-V Replica in place the two companies were able to fail over their systems to a disaster recovery site and continue working with minimal interruptions during extreme weather conditions. In the words of one WorkITsafe client, “Windows Server 2012 literally saved my business.”

Those impacted by Sandy remain in our thoughts as communities continue the long rebuilding process. During such an uncertain time, we are grateful for the technology that can keep people connected safely and small businesses running smoothly so they continue to succeed and supply much-needed jobs.

For more details on the cloud solution that supported these businesses, please read the WorkITsafe case study. For more information on supporting relief efforts for Sandy and other disaster victims, please visit our disaster response page.

Jennifer Steele
Senior Marketing Manager, Worldwide Public Sector

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About the Author

Jennifer Steele | Senior Marketing Manager, Worldwide Public Sector

Jennifer’s focus is on public safety and national security. She joined the Microsoft worldwide team from Avanade, the world’s largest Microsoft consultancy, where she led field marketing for the Americas geography.