A live tour is the best way to experience all the unique attributes of our data centers first-hand. But we fully realize that sometimes that’s not possible, so we have created 5 short videos that allow you to virtually “go inside” our centers and see for yourself what makes Net Access so special. Click below to go to our new video page, where you can chose from short 2 minute videos about High Density Colocation, Disaster Recovery Seating, Data Center Power Systems, Data Center Cooling Systems, and Physical Security.
Earlier this year Net Access launched FLEXOfficeRecovery, a move-in ready disaster recovery workspace offering. Since then I have met with a few dozen companies of various sizes and from different industries to get an understanding of their business continuity objectives. This has allowed me to ask each customer - whether they found us or we found them- why they are interested in disaster recovery and what aspects of FLEXOfficeRecovery are important to them. Here is what I have learned:
- There is a significant interest in these services within the financial vertical. They typically have budget allocated to DR initiatives, they have compliance mandates to adhere to and they have the most to lose if their day-to-day business is disrupted.
- FINRA is the independent regulator that protects investors by ensuring that the securities industry operates fairly and honestly. Part of FINRA compliance is making sure that all FINRA members have an alternate physical location for their employees to work if their main workplace is inaccessible.
- The amount of money that a financial firm would spend for FLEXOfficeRecovery over the course of a 3 year period is a very small fraction of the money they will lose in 2 days if their operations cannot function properly for any reason.
- Workspace recovery is not only for natural disasters. Over the last few months we have had inquiries from companies whose buildings were inaccessible due to a crane accident and a gas leak, and another who wanted to give their employees the option to work from an alternate location when a decent sized snow storm hits.
- Having employees work from home is not a solution for the serious prospects of this service. Maybe their business demands live face-to-face collaboration and interaction, they need secure access to files and systems that a VPN cannot handle, or they believe that productivity suffers immensely when their employees are not in an atmosphere conducive to doing business.
- We have also seen a great deal of interest from the legal community for this service, mostly from firms that are hired to perform confidential e-discovery and document review for larger cases.
- Prospects have told me that they like the fact that our site is built by a company that builds data centers, as opposed to a location that is built strictly by real estate investors.
- We often have prospects tour our Parsippany II Data Center before or after touring our DR site, and always come away impressed with the innovation and attention to detail that has gone into building that facility. Back-up generators, ATS’s, UPS’s and access to a fiber networkare all very important for these prospects.
- Proximity to mass transit and a hotel is very important to our prospects. With a Marriott across the street and a train station less than 2 miles away we are well positioned for both.
- A few people have commented that they find our rate structure very straightforward as compared to other providers that they have investigated. This is especially true when compared to those who assess high daily activation fees, which makes longer stays very expensive.
- Because we have not yet built out the entire space, prospects appreciate the fact that they can design a dedicated suite that perfectly accommodates their needs. They also like the fact that each suite has its own HVAC controls that operate 24x7.
I am always anxious to receive feedback on any of our services, so please feel free to drop me a note and let me know what you think.
Topics: disaster recovery seating
It’s always beneficial to plan for the worst case scenario. In life and in business there are things you can control, and some things that you can’t. Hurricane season just started, and recent severe weather events in the Northeast, including Hurricane Sandy and the other powerful snowstorms and nor’easters, are prime examples of things that we can’t control. Or more localized events like the recent gas explosion in Manhattan or fire in a nearby building. But what can be controlled is preparation for these events – the ability to proactively have a multi-faceted contingency plan in place to respond to all the “what-if” scenarios.
Most of us pay lip service to disaster recovery planning. The plan looks good on paper and we think we have everything covered, but then when there is an issue – be it a power outage, loss of communications or loss of access to your home or workplace - we realize how insufficient the plan really was. Sandy got the disaster recovery planning conversation started again, but did it really change the behavior of today’s IT leaders?
Third party business continuity centers offer a great solution to this dilemma. They provide move-in ready office space at secure location with backup power and redundant network connectivity. This gives companies a place for their employees to work, even during a disaster which disrupts the power grid and network communications.
But just like data centers, not all business continuity centers are created equal. When evaluating a continuity center, companies owe it to themselves to be thorough and think of every ‘what-if’ scenario.
- Availability – How much control do we have of the office space? Is it truly dedicated, or is it shared among multiple users on a “first come, first serve” basis?
- Accessibility – How convenient is the location? Are there multiple major roadways allowing for alternate routes to the site? Is there ample parking? Is it accessible via public transportation? What is the proximity to a major airport?
- Power – what is the power configuration at the location? Are generators supported by a common shared backup or is the infrastructure completely self-sufficient? What plans are in place for emergency fuel delivery?
- Connectivity – what network providers are available at the facility? Will this impact my ability to access my infrastructure? Is there network redundancy?
- Amenities – Are meeting rooms and kitchen space available at the facility? And if we need to be there for an extended period of time are there hotels and restaurants nearby?
- Support – what type of hands-on support is available at the facility?
If IT Infrastructure is the brain of a company, then employees are the heart. So no DR Plans can be considered complete unless it includes back up plans for employees. It’s always beneficial to plan for the worst case scenario.
- Parsippany II Expansion & Site Improvements – After over a year of hard work and effort, the completion of our 70,000 sq.ft. addition to our Parsippany II datacenter is at hand. We will be moving in our first customer into the expansion in the first week of March. This is a huge event, and the foundation for our growth in the coming years. We plan on having a launch event sometime in late April, for employees, customers and partners to celebrate the opening. We will send out details as we firm up our plans. In addition, when spring comes we will begin work on some large scale outdoor improvements to the site. This will entail installing a 10 ft. anti-climb fence and K rated crash boulders around the property as well as installing security gates and bollards for authorized entry access to the facility. These improvements will allow us to continue to make Parsippany II one of the most advanced datacenters in the New York Metro area.
- New Workspace Recovery Facility – We recently signed a lease for a 32,000 sq. ft. office building near our Cedar Knolls datacenter and plan to convert the space into a Workspace Recovery Center. The location will provide for turn-key, dedicated office seats and suites for disaster recovery planning. The facility will be directly connected to NAC datacenters and provide UPS & Generator backed power. We believe this service dovetails perfectly with our datacenter and managed services offerings that support backup and 100% availability and uptime. We will be starting an initial build-out of the space later this month and hope to have the space available for customers by early June.
- Secondary Datacenter and Managed Services Location– In 2015 we are seeking to establish a secondary location in a geographic market that is at least 500 miles away from our primary NJ locations. We know that many of you maintain back-up or secondary sites at other datacenter locations and we want NAC to be able to provide this capability to you and future customers. In addition, we need a scalable secondary site for our managed hosting offerings. We are evaluating a number of markets and entry strategies. Currently, we are actively looking at options in Chicago, Columbus, Austin, Dallas, Denver and Phoenix. We are excited about expanding to another geography to complement our New Jersey footprint. Feel free to drop us a note if you have a particular need or idea regarding location.
- FlexPlatform 1.0 Launch – Last year we began a major software development project to upgrade our internal OSS/BSS systems and customer facing portal. Our new platform utilizes modern software languages (Python/PHP), service oriented architecture (SOA) and a dynamic user interface (Node.js). You can read more here. We are excited about being able to rollout to you a modern, light-weight customer portal that will have a more attractive look, expanded functionality and incorporate our managed hosting and cloud products. Keep on the lookout for updates and we are targeting end of Q2 for the initial launch.
- Website Re-launch 2.0 – As you might remember, we rolled out a new www.nac.net website in late 2013. In 2014 we spent a significant amount of time working with an outside agency to refine our marketing look and feel and revise our website content to be more informative and easier to use. We also, as mentioned above, expanded and revised our product offerings under the “FlexServices” umbrella. We are now working on refreshing the website and expect to have it in production by the end of Q1. This new website and new Customer Portal will share the same core elements and we aim to create a unified, consistent experience as you interact with NAC.
A few weeks ago was my first anniversary here at Net Access. It’s been a real pleasure to be here, meet many of you and be part of the NAC family. Thank you for a great first year!
Many organizations struggle with how to be best prepared for disasters. With the speed of business moving so quickly, we realize we need to make our technology infrastructure resilient so that our systems continue to operate during disasters. This important measure is only one half of the equation though, the other half is preparing back up plans for our most important asset; people.
Disaster Recovery Seating addresses this challenge by providing office seats at a secure location with backup power and redundant network connectivity. This enables companies to have a place for their employees to work, even during a disaster which disrupts the power grid and network communications.
During Hurricane Sandy in 2012 so many businesses were affected by a lack of power in their offices and in employee's homes that they needed a better solution in order to continue business operations.
In addition to our normal disaster recovery seating rooms, we opened our doors to businesses that used storage rooms, conference rooms, and even hallways to provide a place where their employees could power their laptops and phones and have internet connectivity so they could continue to work.
Not sure if your organization could benefit from this? Here are 3 Ways to Determine if Your Company Needs Disaster Recovery Seating
1. Does your office have backup power and multiple network connections?
If a storm or other event disrupts the power utility in your area, does your office have reliable backup power systems in place so that employees can continue to work as usual? If not, your office is rendered unusable during these disruptions.
Likewise, if you do not have backup network connectivity (multiple Internet connections) and your primary connection goes down, are your employees able to remain productive?
2. Can our employees work effectively from home in the event of a regional disaster?
In some cases, working from home in the event that your office is unusable is an effective course of action. This typically requires having technology in place such as VPN, high speed internet, and ability to access remote systems.
During events that affect an entire region though, this is likely to present some issues because employee's homes may be experiencing the same power disruptions as the office. We saw this during Hurricane Sandy, when several companies planned to have employees work from home if their offices lost power, but most employee's homes were also without power.
3. Can we afford to cease business operations for a few days or weeks in the event of a disaster?
If a disaster strikes and your office is unusable for a period of time, how will that affect your business financially? Some organizations are able to cease operations during a disaster and remain intact, but many cannot afford to be out of service for one day or less.
If you answered "no" to these questions, disaster recovery seating is worth looking into for your business. Most providers of disaster recovery seating offer different options ranging from seats in shared spaces to dedicated private suites.
For information on Net Access' Disaster Recovery Seating options, contact us for a free consultation.