SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Matt Brunk | October 14, 2016 |

 
   

Hurricane Matthew: a Net Manager's Perspective

Hurricane Matthew: a Net Manager's Perspective When a catastrophic storm is on its way, every bit of preparation helps.

When a catastrophic storm is on its way, every bit of preparation helps.

Prognosticators last week had the eye of Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, over the West Palm Beach area near to where I live, and so thoughts of preparedness have been very much on my mind. Fortunately their predictions were off... by a little over 20 miles to the east, and Matthew gained speed and blew through ahead of schedule.

Still, I've gleaned many lessons in preparedness from this storm.

For example, Governor Rick Scott encouraged people in the storm's path to re-locate to the center of Florida or otherwise away from the storm, but he did not say they should leave the state. With a mass coastal exodus, key roads can become jammed, and outrunning a storm isn't always viable. In Matthew's case, the storm picked up speed and by late Wednesday afternoon gasoline was gone or only available in premium grades.

On midday Tuesday, we received notice that Palm Beach County officials ordered schools closed on Thursday and Friday in order to prepare them for use as shelters. This was a signal for network managers to act without delay.

According to the National Hurricane Center, a Category 4 storm has sustained winds of 130 to 156 mph. At such speeds, catastrophic damage will occur -- the wind will snap or uproot trees and knock down utility poles. Power outages can last weeks to possibly months, leaving the area uninhabitable throughout the duration.

Category 4 and 5 hurricanes present significant challenges for utility companies due to the extreme wind conditions. These high winds fall trees and blow out transformers, as they did in Stuart, Fla., Thursday evening in a seemingly domino effect. This is when shutting down the network and unplugging gear from the AC power supply proves best practice. Transformers blow and when they do, surges can easily damage anything down the line.

Another reason for taking down the network is to preserve battery backup systems. Unattended batteries can swell, and having to replace battery packs becomes an unwelcome expense. We also shut down all desktop computers and printers and removed them from the AC power source, and then covered the desktops and equipment cabinets with trash bags in the event of leaky roofs.

Preparedness must take into account more than the physical facility. We also gave key personnel copies of the credentials and contact information for services, providers, and contractors. Fortunately, we could rely on the backup configurations of equipment and systems we already had in place for disaster recovery, with data backup to the cloud. These are the kinds of details you don't want to have to worry about after receiving notice that roads will likely be closed for the next two days and the area is likely to be ravaged.

Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I would recommend MyRadar. This was the app I found most useful during this emergency, as I used it to keep informed about Matthew's location and the storm's path.

In any emergency preparedness plan, action and timing is key -- in this case, Matthew moved faster than predicted, and could have devastated south Florida. Businesses supporting the community were effective in delivering closings and providing information about re-openings. I also noted that carriers were effective in communicating with customers, as were the utility companies.

The other important things to remember are not to develop a false sense of security or rely too heavily on technology. In this case, de-energizing equipment was the practical course of action, in an attempt to save gear and neutralize negative power influence. Category 4 hurricanes can't be managed, but reactions to potential disasters can. The best defense in the arsenal of technology is the cloud, with delivery of key apps, data, email, messaging, and voice services all available from cloud providers.

Along with many others, I am grateful for this storm's passing. Recovering from such a disastrous event is difficult to imagine. Re-assessing any weakness or vulnerability that you discover during an emergency will certainly help during the next response. For most, whether to rebuild or relocate is the heartfelt question that needs answering... and this, again, is where the cloud defense provides the tools to do so.

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter and Google+!
@telecomworx
Matt Brunk on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.