Hurricane Sandy appears to be heading toward a major area for Private Equity, Hedge Fund and VC’s, the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The big storm could bring power outages and flooding along with other damage the beginning of this week.
For those alternative assets firms still relying on on-premise equipment, they have the weekend to work on business continuance issues. We hope that they have data backed up to a remote site with some provision for employees to work from home by dialing into a remote server using encryption. If they don’t have a remotely backed site, they need to plan for power issues, lost telephone service and potential damage to the closet or data center that houses their equipment.
We expect the storm to be less of an issue for firms that are using Cloud computing. For example, in the case of Navatar private equity, hedge fund, M&A along with Corporate M&A and VCclients, their data is stored in more than one location (salesforce.com servers mirrored and backed up across data centers). They can expect to face the loss of power but fortunately battery powered laptops, iPads, iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android devices can bridge the gap until power comes back up. Because of a couple of storms last year, many of the people I know in Connecticut now have generators at their homes that will not only save the food in their freezers but will allow them to work without interruption. By the way, the Navatar Support Team is geographically dispersed so they will not be affected and available to support customers.
The biggest vulnerability for the Cloud clients is losing access to the Internet. It just takes one tree to take out cable delivered broad band service. Fortunately, there is cellular data coverage as an alternative. Most people have access to more than one smart phone. It might make sense to forgo the family plan and put one of your phones on AT&T and have another member of the family use Verizon or some other service. If you do lose service you still have the option of driving to another location (unless that tree that knocked the wires down happens to be blocking your way).
One situation that’s a challenge for both those with either the on-premise or Cloud model is having the schools closed for week with the kids home. As a private equity executive told me today, that scenario really makes it hard to get work done!