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Score One For The Cloud, Thanks Sandy


Despite the amount of time I’ve spent covering new technologies, I’ve never come out on one side or the other when it comes to the cloud; it has its clear advantages and yet is also still in its early days from a business process perspective. However, in light of the recent hurricane that hit the east coast, and my home city in particular, I can say that were it not for cloud-based processes and technologies this website, newsletter and any of the Accounting Today properties – as well as our December print edition – could not have been produced.

The course of events went like this (and perhaps some of you had or have had similar experiences and even made some decisions to move your own processes to the cloud): On the evening October 29, the full force of Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and the greater New York area with full force, knocking out power to millions including our own offices in lower Manhattan.

Myself, and many of my colleagues were at the time attending our Growth and Profitability conference in Boca Raton, Fla. The editorial staff continued to work from the hotel there until we were able to find flights back to New York, all amid notices that power remained out in lower Manhattan and much of New York and that the lobby of our building had been flooded out as well.

When the power went out, our company was able to switch to our disaster planning servers, which not only allowed our daily newsletters and websites to remain functional and be updated but email correspondence continued as well, thanks to the Web-based Outlook we all used.

As the days went on it was not seeming likely we were going to return to our offices anytime soon and with our daily, weekly and monthly publishing obligations our sales, editorial, and production team needed to rely on cloud systems and applications to get the job done.  To complicate matters, it still took several days for many of us to even have access to power or Internet source – essential of course to the cloud actually being of any use. We all seemed to make do and once we were able to regularly access these sources, the work continued.

It took nearly three weeks for us to be able to return to our offices, where our primary servers and thin desktop devices reside. Within that time no deadlines were missed, no ads were unserved or unlisted, no emails were missed: all without use of a primary office.

So, score one for the cloud.

This isn’t to say business applications do not still have some work to do to be everything a firm or business needs them to be, some of you or your clients may even be comfortable waiting until everything is 100 percent cloud or mobile just as some waited until they practically had to perform all of their work functions on a PC.

But evidence of this kind only points towards eventuality, and to a key question: how comfortable are you waiting until there is a natural disaster, security breach, or other situation out of your control to move key processes to the cloud? For our company, and the sake of our loyal readers and advertisers, I’m glad we didn’t wait.

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