Colocation offers benefits that include increased flexibility, better redundancy, improved security and cost savings. With widespread adoption of cloud architectures, another colocation benefit is being realized. As organizations move applications to the Public Cloud, latency problems increase for certain workloads. Colocation, because it makes it possible to move workloads closer to end users, can be an effective way to reduce location-based latency problems.

Latency is the measure in milliseconds of the Round Trip Time (RTT) required for a data request to be serviced. Many workloads perform well enough without special accommodations. Though studies indicate more than half will typically abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, most website requests are serviced in less than a second. Research by Google indicates that if a search request takes a half second (500 ms) to yield results there will be a reduction in traffic of about 20%. Amazon estimates every latency increase of 100 ms will result in a 1% reduction in sales.

Though many experience latency below 100 ms, we should not conclude we are in the clear as far as latency is concerned. There are applications where very low latency is essential. Virtual Reality headsets can become disorienting if latency exceeds about 10 ms with some users saying they experience something akin to sea sickness. Multi Player games, Autonomous Vehicles, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, health care monitors, and factory robots all require very low latency with some demanding latency below 10 ms. The trend is an increasing requirement for low latency applications.

Latency is impacted by a number of variables including available bandwidth, network congestion, packet switching quality, network configuration, and the performance of network equipment. The route taken by a particular transmission is especially important. Typically, an internet connection passes through 10 to 12 gateway nodes as packets are processed and forwarded from one router to the next. Delays imposed by these “hops” are a major source of latency and are not mitigated by simply adding more bandwidth.

Public Cloud (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud) users are coming to the realization that latency can pose a significant problem for certain cloud workloads. This is due to the number of hops to be traversed and the geographic location of the various nodes in a transmission. Though packets are sent at the speed of light, the actual distances to be covered can total thousands of kilometers. Packets can be sent across the country and back for delivery to a nearby destination depending on the routing algorithms in use.

If end users are clustered in a particular region then a nearby colocation facility should be considered to address Public Cloud based latency issues. By hosting servers near end users you will dramatically reduce the distance that packets must traverse. You will also likely reduce the number of hops.

Connecticut has many organizations that may benefit from moving some workloads from the Public Cloud to a local colocation facility. This is because these organizations primarily serve data to local end users. The state is home to many universities where students access information from systems that are close to where they live. Hospitals and other health care providers also primarily serve local clients and have increasing demands for low latency to support real-time monitors. Municipalities and state government agencies also have a local footprint and deploy IoT applications that require low latency. Manufacturers and many other companies in Connecticut have low latency requirements and a local focus and thus may be able to improve their data delivery performance.

Please contact CAPS if your organization serves a local end user population here in Connecticut and you are concerned about latency. We can help you determine if colocation and/or our local cloud services can provide better responsiveness to your clients by locating your workloads closer to your end users.

Some companies are vacating their offices for good. Having survived months where their employees were forced to work remotely due to COVID-19, they have decided to Work From Home (WFH) permanently. Of course, this is being done to save the expense of leasing an office. The savings can be significant as office space in Connecticut can cost $5,000 per year per employee or more.

What about the servers? Over the past few years many office applications have migrated to the Cloud. Office 365 and Google Workspace have supplanted word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software that once resided on local servers at the office. There are Software as a Service offerings for accounting (Quickbooks, Freshbooks), CRM (Salesforce, Hubspot CRM), and a myriad of other applications that run on the Cloud.

The challenge remains for servers that are required for those workloads that are not suitable for the Cloud. Proprietary applications, large frequently accessed databases, and workloads that demand a high degree of security are best kept on local servers. These servers must find a new place to call home now that offices are being shuttered.

Some businesses may be considering moving these servers into the home of one of their employees. It could be the home of an IT manager or a senior executive. Though this may be an expedient solution, it is a poor choice for a variety of reasons that can increase the chance of an outage and/or a security breach. It can also lead to compliance problems.

Electrical power is typically less reliable at a residence than at an office. Though a UPS system can be installed at home and some homes even have their own back-up generators, the odds of losing power are greater at a residence than at an office. This is because there are more trees in residential areas. There are more squirrels too! Trees, squirrels, and other creatures are frequently to blame when power is disrupted.

Servers require certain environmental conditions for optimal performance. Temperature and humidity must be kept within prescribed ranges. Adequate air flow and low levels of dust and other airborne contaminants are essential. Typically, residences are not designed with servers in mind. Whereas rooms can be temperature controlled and humidifiers and air purification systems can be installed, it can be very costly to retrofit a home to create a suitable space for servers.

Internet connectivity at home can also be a problem. Most homes are only served by a limited number of Internet Service Providers. Internet connections to the home are more exposed to disruption than at the office (trees and squirrels again). Though anyone contemplating locating their servers at a residence would certainly want to order an additional internet circuit for business use only, the temptation to use the office internet to watch a game while the family binges on Netflix on the residential internet service could be overpowering.

Which brings up the subject of security. Locating company servers at home undoubtedly increases the risk of a data breach. Blurred lines between company and home networks is one problem. Employees accessing the internet via WiFi at home is risky. Compromised home networks can provide an entry point into corporate systems.

Finally, access for other employees is a big problem when company servers are moved to a home. Family life is stressful enough during the Pandemic. Imagine a visit to your home late at night by fellow employees to work on a server problem. Access to the home would also have to be provided whenever the homeowner went on vacation. This is not a good recipe for family harmony.

Fortunately, there is a far better solution – Colocation. Colocation is where IT systems are placed in a secure, highly redundant, and cost-effective data center that has been purpose-built to host a company’s servers. The CAPS’ data center in Shelton has served all of Connecticut and Westchester County for over 20 years. It is the perfect place for your servers if you close your office.

 

 

 

 

 

School may still be out but Tropical Storm Isaias offered teachable moments as it made a quick but destructive visit to Connecticut. As clean-up continues and power is slowly restored across the state there are several important Business Continuity take-aways.

First, you never can predict the timing and impact of a disaster. Isaias, a mid-summer category 1 hurricane at its peak when it landed in the Carolinas, was much weaker when it passed through Connecticut. Though it spawned several small tornados, the storm’s average maximum wind gusts remained below 70 MPH. The amount of rain was modest too. Yet this storm caused more power outages across Connecticut than Super Storm Sandy which turned off the lights for 687,000 Nutmeg state residents in 2012.

Power outages varied dramatically by neighborhood. A fallen tree up the street can take out dozens of homes and businesses while some lucky neighbors look on from the comfort of their central air-conditioning. The same disparities apply at a higher level to towns and cities. For example, Derby had 5.7% of its residences lose power while its immediate neighbor, Shelton, had 59.2% of its homes cut off from electricity. The performance of the two power companies serving Connecticut also varied dramatically. The morning after the storm United Illuminating had 30% of its customers without power. Eversource had a much bigger problem with 48% of its customers still in the dark.

Isaias also calls into question the wisdom of depending on critical operations from home offices. The wide-scale adoption of Work From Home practices precipitated by COVID-19 has led some companies to consider eliminating their offices completely. Many Connecticut employees were working at home when Isaias struck. The storm not only cut power for many but a number of mobile communications and internet service providers were also disconnected. Even those who were able to create a hot spot with their mobile device to circumvent lost internet access often found performance levels severely degraded due to high usage levels in their neighborhood.

The uncomfortable truth for many companies is their Work From Home employees were unproductive and exposed to increased security risks during the storm. Working from a local Starbucks or a library is better than nothing but not that much better. Some work can be done from these venues but the chances of being overheard or hacked are much greater.

CAPS, the secure data center in Shelton, fared better than most even though Shelton, as noted, suffered widespread power outages. Power to CAPS from United Illuminating was continuous throughout the tempest. The company’s clients were able to operate without interruption. Even if utility power had been lost, the company’s redundant UPS systems backed by redundant diesel generators would have powered clients’ critical IT systems without interruption. CAPS also features redundant internet bandwidth to assure connectivity even if a primary carrier goes down. CAPS is also one of the few data centers in Connecticut that offers secure Business Continuity Alternate Work facilities. Clients can reserve affordable Dedicated or Shared seats where their personnel can work productively when a disaster occurs.

Isaias demonstrated it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to predict when a disaster will strike or the potential impact. Though the storm surprised many in Connecticut, CAPS was able to continue its record of not having had an unscheduled power outage affecting clients for over 20 years. Partnering with an infrastructure services company like CAPS can dramatically increase the odds of avoiding an unexpected but devasting service outage.

As companies plan their return to the office after months away due to the COVID-19 shutdown, many are considering moving their IT systems to a local Colocation facility. They want to allocate as much space as possible in their newly re-configured offices for their employees. If they can free up a room (or even a closet) where the company’s IT systems were housed, this will provide more space for safe social distancing. Many office managers are looking for a suitable home for their IT systems and thus are giving serious consideration to Colocation.

Colocation services are where a company’s IT systems are housed at a purpose-built data center. These facilities are specifically designed to provide a safe and secure environment for servers and related equipment. Redundant power, redundant air conditioning systems and redundant internet circuits along with security systems are all specifically designed to deliver high availability and safety for critical IT systems in a cost-effective manner.

Planning an office redesign to maximize employee space and safety is a challenge due to all the variables that must be considered. If a decision is made to free up space via IT system colocation, what is a realistic estimate of the time it will take for the systems to be up and running at the colocation facility?

Once a client’s unique space, power, and internet bandwidth requirements have been specified a proposal for the colocation services will be provided. The colocation agreement is formalized via a Master Services Agreement (MSA) and a Statement of Work (SOW). Once these documents have been executed the installation can be scheduled. At CAPS, the time required from requirements specification until installation can be as little as a week but typically ranges from two to four weeks.

Installation usually goes very quickly once all systems have been received at the colocation data center. Prior to the installation date, power circuits, PDU’s, and cross connects will be installed and the cabinet or cabinets for the client’s systems will be readied. Firewalls will be configured as necessary. The client will receive initial training regarding the safety and security at the data center and will be provided documentation with procedures to follow and key contacts. Employees from the client organization will be provided security passes to enter the data center. Often, CAPS’ system engineers will assist the client during the installation by providing carts to move equipment and helping resolve any outstanding issues.

Internet bandwidth provisioning can be virtually instantaneous as CAPS has multiple high bandwidth circuits from multiple carriers. This eliminates one of the biggest possible delays to a cut-over. Clients ordering internet circuits directly from a carrier often wait months for an installation. In addition, CAPS is able to provide automatic failover to one of its alternate carriers in case the primary internet circuit becomes non-operational.

Though the actual time it takes to redeploy IT systems to CAPS’ data center will vary depending on a client’s unique requirements, it is safe to say most clients experience elapsed time from start to finish in weeks not months. Please contact CAPS to let us know your requirements and we will be happy to provide you with a schedule you can plan on.

One of the direct consequences of COVID-19 has been a dramatic increase in the number of companies considering moving their offices from New York City to Fairfield County, Connecticut. New York City, which until the pandemic and recent social unrest had been enjoying an economic renaissance, is now facing a decline. Companies are looking for more room to spread out to mitigate the risk of disease and to comply with social distancing mandates. More spacious offices, fewer elevator rides, and less mass transit excursions are important ways to reduce exposure to COVID.

For those new to the neighborhood, an important question will be “Where should our critical IT systems be located?” Establishing a computer room in your new office is one option. However, the move to a new office is often a great time to relocate servers and related IT systems to a more secure, more redundant, and often more cost-effective colocation facility. Also, it makes sense to optimize your new office space for people so they can work productively at a safe social distance. Moving your IT systems to a facility where real estate costs are lower frees up space for your employees and saves money. There are several data centers in Fairfield County that offer colocation services. The best choice will depend on a number of variables which are discussed below.

Companies are contemplating several different approaches. Some plan to vacate their New York City office to set up a new office in Fairfield County. Others are keeping their New York office but will add a suburban satellite office where employees can work at least part time. In this case the goal is to reduce the need to work at the New York City office while allowing for occasional work there. A third option is to eliminate all offices and have employees Work From Home. In this case, if many of the employees live in Connecticut, then there will be a need for a facility to host the company’s computer systems. Hosting critical IT systems at someone’s home is not an acceptable option. A colocation facility that is conveniently located for occasional visits by your IT personnel is best.

Those considering a move to Fairfield County should be aware of the differences between lower Fairfield County and the rest of the region. Towns like Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and Norwalk are close enough to Manhattan to make commuting practical. As a result, the cost of real-estate is significantly higher than other parts of the county. For example, the cost of grade A commercial office space in Shelton can be one third the cost of comparable space in Lower Fairfield County.

Traffic is also a much bigger problem the closer you get to “The City”. Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway in lower Fairfield County experience some of the highest levels of road congestion in the U.S. Traffic on Rte 8 and other secondary highways, especially for those who are “reverse commuting”, is much lower; especially during rush hour.

Fairfield County is served by two different public utilities. Whereas Eversource provides electricity to much of lower Fairfield County and most of the rest of the state, United Illuminating serves the northern and eastern portions of Fairfield County. This can be significant when considering a colocation site. Connecticut is impacted by occasional snowstorms, hurricanes, tornados, and floods. The historical performance of these two utilities has varied considerably so the location of a colocation facility should take this into account. In general, United Illuminating has provided more stable services over the years.

For those companies that will be relocating to Fairfield County from New York City we want to welcome you. We believe you will find Fairfield County will support your company’s growth and prosperity while providing a safer work environment and higher quality of life for your employees. Of course, when you have a chance please stop by CAPS to say hello and to tour our secure data center in Shelton.

More than a year before the COVID-19 Pandemic forced many workers to WFH, this leading management consulting company in Connecticut decided to implement a WFH directive in order to streamline costs. Now that the COVID-19 virus has forced almost all organizations to temporarily close their offices in the midst of social distancing, a WFH solution is becoming the ‘new normal’.

Initially, in examining ways to be more efficient, their Management recognized most of its consultants were working routinely at client sites many days during each week. The cost of maintaining a central office that was not used much of the time was significant. Furthermore, their expensive office space did not have room for expansion, specifically to accommodate new associates joining the firm! Moving to a bigger office would be very expensive and require a lot of effort. This, along with the rapid growth of the firm, required a long-term solution, and after exhausting many alternatives, they ultimately decided to adopt a WFH model. This would provide the flexibility they needed to adapt to their developing customer facing requirements, and it would be more cost effective.

From a technology standpoint, relocating employees to work from their homes was straightforward. These management consultants already had laptops and mobile phones to support their field work, so they had the tools needed for a home office. However, there was one significant challenge to be resolved.

Management struggled with where to locate the company’s servers. Though many of the firm’s workloads had been moved to the Cloud for applications like O365, the firm still had several servers that were required to deliver important proprietary financial and database applications. The management of the firm was not comfortable placing these critical workloads in the Public Cloud because of their stringent security requirements. They also believed the cost of moving some of their larger database applications to the Public Cloud would be much more expensive.

An alternative was to move the servers to the home of one of the senior partners, but this option did not have an environment with the required enterprise quality power, air conditioning, and the necessary security measures. They also required accessibility at any time of the day or night.

They realized they needed to find a colocation partner that could provide:

  • Environmental systems to assure proper temperature and humidity at all times
  • A redundant Power Supply backed up by redundant Air Conditioning, UPS, and Generator systems
  • A purpose-built facility with 24/7/365 secure access and continuous video monitoring
  • Remote Hands services to assist with tasks like rebooting servers when necessary
  • A colocation partner with the flexibility to provide a tailored service including a facility for occasional meetings of some the firms’ employees

The firm considered a number of colocation service providers and selected Blue Hill/CAPS for the following reasons:

  • A stellar record of over 20 years without service disruptions caused by unscheduled power outages
  • SSAE 18 (SOC 1 Type 2) secure data center with 24/7/365 access
  • Cost effective colocation solution
  • Tailored solution including Remote Hands services and use of meeting rooms as needed
  • Assistance procuring an IP based telephone system

In the time since the decision was made to partner with Blue Hill/CAPS, this consulting firm has realized the following benefits:

  • Savings of approximately 50% of the cost of its former operation
  • Improved flexibility and ability to add staff as needed
  • More secure servers with more resiliency, better power, internet capabilities, and environmental controls
  • Many of the recurrent IT infrastructure support tasks are now handled seamlessly
  • An upgraded telephone system saved the firm money and improved functionality

As many organizations employ WFH on a much bigger scale in response to COVID-19, planning ahead and especially contingency planning can have very tangible business benefits in working through this time of great change.

Connecticut has big data backup requirements. With a large concentration of financial service, legal, healthcare, education, and government organizations generating many terabytes of valuable data, the state is frequently targeted by cyber criminals. It also experiences a significant number of natural emergencies whether they are caused by snowstorms, hurricanes, floods, fires or any number of totally unexpected circumstances.

Timely data backups are essential so operations can resume as soon as possible after a disruption. But just having a current copy of your data does not guarantee you will be able to successfully recover. Successful restoral, in case of an actual disaster, requires having adopted and successfully managing a dependable data backup and recovery solution.

It also is important to test the process periodically. There are many examples of organizations that were unable to recover their backup successfully when they were under the gun. In fact, a recent survey by Hanover Research of two hundred large and mid-sized companies in the U.S found that 64% were unable to recover their data when they needed to; even though they had a backup system in place.

There are a wide variety of available backup technologies ranging from inexpensive consumer products that backup an individual computer to sophisticated enterprise level solutions that are designed to backup thousands of servers across a large distributed network with the ability to restore one or more Virtual Machines (VMs) or an individual file in minutes.

There are five variables to consider when selecting an appropriate data backup and recovery solution-

  1. Effectiveness
  2. Labor Requirements
  3. Security
  4. Support
  5. Cost

Effectiveness means how likely will it be you recover your required data in a timely manner? In general, the faster the recovery, the more expensive the solution. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) define how much data you are willing to risk and how fast you expect to recover.

Backup solutions vary in the amount of manual effort required. Some systems are very labor intensive. This not only adds expense, it also can impact effectiveness if individuals fail to perform their assigned backup duties. The additional cost of automated solutions is typically justified by higher availability.

Different backup solutions provide different levels of data security. A backup solution that easily can be breached would add insult to injury. Sophisticated systems employ encryption and other technologies to mitigate security risks.

The level of support provided also varies. It is important to understand who will be responsible for functions like training, initial set-up and configuration, ongoing monitoring, periodic testing and recovery during a disaster.

Though cost is listed last on our list, it is probably a much higher priority for most organizations in Connecticut. Data backup and recovery is one of the budget items that is often underfunded. Afterall, what are the chances? Given the dramatic rise in cyber crime and the growing number of horror stories of the dire consequences suffered by organizations unable to recover their data, senior management is starting to recognize the business case for funding an appropriate backup and recovery solution.

There are many different backup options. They all have their pros and cons depending on which of the five variables listed previously is a priority. In all cases, a 3-2-1 backup architecture is recommended by industry professionals. There should be 3 different backups on 2 different storage media with one offsite backup location as part of the solution.

Here are the various options for offsite backup-

Employee Home — A disk or tape copy is made at the office and stored at an employee’s home. This very low-cost solution has below average effectiveness, is labor intensive, provides moderate security, and offers minimal support.

Another Office — Backups are sent or hand carried to another office. This is also a low-cost option. Depending on how the data is backed-up, it can be moderately effective and not very labor intensive. However, most offices are not very secure and lack redundant power and internet services. Security at most offices is acceptable but support may be limited depending on the solution employed.

Consumer Services — Small offices frequently employ services such as Carbonite, Backblaze, or IDrive. These are cost-effective but are typically used to backup individual PCs. They have limited ability to manage multiple servers and VMs and are not recommended for enterprise level requirements.

Public Cloud — Backing-up data to a Public Cloud such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud is initially very cost-effective. However, the initial “Seeding” where the complete backup, often many terabytes in size, is copied can be problematic depending on available bandwidth. It can literally take weeks to upload the original data. As an alternative, a mass data storage device may be loaded with the initial backup and shipped to the Public Cloud facility for the initial seeding. After initial seeding the amount of backup data to be transferred drops significantly. Most backup technologies employ techniques that only send the data changed since the previous backup. Public Cloud solutions are also famous for their exorbitant egress fees. A large data extraction such as would be required in a recovery exercise can be very costly. Finally, Public Cloud providers provide limited support. The responsibility for configuring a secure backup is with the customer. Public Cloud providers do not assist with testing and will not provide help during an emergency.

Local Data Center. — A local data center can provide a very effective and high security off-site data backup that is moderately priced. These facilities have professionals to assist in set-up, testing and recovery thus minimizing labor requirements and providing maximum support. Local data centers can also make the initial data seeding much easier since a large data storage device can be driven to the data center to load the backup on the data center’s storage systems. The personalized support provided by a local data center is very important when implementing a data backup solution; especially during testing and recovery operations.

CAPS has many years’ experience providing customized data backup solutions to its clients. From its secure local data center (SSAE 2018) in Shelton, CAPS’ professionals have helped clients install, configure and test a variety of data backup solutions. The CAPS’ team has supported proprietary data backup solutions in addition to assisting clients to employ advanced technologies from Datto and Veeam. CAPS also partners with its sister company, Blue Hill Data Services, to offer additional off-site data backup and recovery solutions.

Colocation, housing IT systems at third party data centers, is an effective way to increase data security, improve system availability, and save money. It also can improve interoperability, flexibility, and functionality by making available enhanced internet services.

Though most organizations do not choose colocation primarily to improve their internet service, they are frequently surprised to learn the different ways colocation enhances networking. These include-

  • Increased Connectivity
  • Hybrid Cloud Support
  • Improved Availability
  • Faster Circuit Provisioning
  • Flexibility to Adjust Bandwidth
  • Consistent Network Performance
  • Enhanced Security

One networking benefit derives from carrier neutrality. Most colocation service providers include “Meet Me” rooms where multiple internet carriers are connected to their data center. Clients have the flexibility to choose the best internet carrier for their needs. By providing multiple internet carriers from which to choose, the colocation facility is deemed to be carrier neutral. Carrier neutrality increases connectivity options and may also lead to cost savings due to increased competition between the various internet service providers.

Connectivity to Public Cloud providers is another advantage of colocation. Organizations are building hybrid cloud solutions to make sure their workloads are hosted cost-effectively. For example, database applications can be placed at a colocation facility to avoid excessive Public Cloud egress expenses. The colocation facility enables connectivity to those applications that are cost-effective in the Public Cloud while saving a lot of money when the Public Cloud is cost prohibitive.

Colocation providers, because they have multiple internet carriers terminating at their data center, can offer automatic failover in case the primary internet service is disrupted. Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is frequently employed to manage and automate the failover process. The ability to automatically switch to a backup internet service increases network availability.

Ordering a new internet circuit from a carrier can take up to three months. Most colocation service providers order bandwidth in bulk and proactively order additional capacity so they are ready when clients request more service. Clients can get new services up and running faster by taking advantage of readily available internet bandwidth at a colocation facility.

Organizations also benefit from being able to order the amount of bandwidth they need and adjusting up or down to respond to changing requirements. Colocation service providers can usually increase or decrease the contracted amount of bandwidth provided to individual clients in a few hours. The ability to modify bandwidth as needed to meet changing network requirements helps clients react quickly and save money.

Data centers providing colocation services often offer Dedicated Bandwidth. With the Dedicated Bandwidth option (preferred), clients do not share bandwidth with other clients. They are guaranteed contracted levels of internet service.  Clients purchase internet bandwidth, typically in increments of Mbps, for a monthly fee. The dedicated bandwidth approach assures consistent internet performance.

Finally, network security is improved by colocation. Data center professionals at the colocation provider configure and monitor firewalls and security software to provide continuous protection. Physical access to the colocation facility is restricted to minimize opportunities for local breaches. Organizations that use colocation services take advantage of the data security expertise of the colocation professionals to supplement their own security team.

With the New Year, organizations are reviewing their Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans to make sure they are ready to respond to an emergency. There are many different service threats to consider including-

  • Loss of Power
  • Interrupted Internet Service
  • Inability to Gain Physical Access to Offices
  • Cyber Security Breaches

Though many disaster scenarios are easily contemplated, such as disruptions due to storms, floods and fires, we continue to be amazed at the variety of possible problems that can interrupt critical services. In many cases it seems unlikely anyone could predict these calamities.

For example, one client was forced to declare a disaster and relocate its essential staff to CAPS’ alternate workspace when a water main in the street near its office burst. Though the utility company quickly turned the water off, a worker was tragically killed when a manhole collapsed. The ensuing investigation required the water to remain off. Due to OSHA regulations, businesses in the area were denied access to their offices for several days.

In another case, a Connecticut bank was closed for almost two weeks due to a fire that devastated a building next to its branch office. Though the bank did not suffer any physical damage from the fire, it was forced to close by the Health Department for an extended period due to the extent of smoke that entered the branch. Fortunately, the bank had reserved Business Continuity workstations from CAPS. It was able to relocate its Call Center and was back in service about 4 hours after the disaster was declared.

If you Google the most common causes of power and data outages you might be surprised to learn that squirrels are frequently implicated. Here in Connecticut squirrels have caused many power and data outages. Squirrels like to chew on electrical wires and fiber optic cables. During the colder months they crawl into electrical transformers to try to keep warm. A few years ago the University of Connecticut  was forced to cancel classes and send employees home when a squirrel was electrocuted and destroyed a transformer after bridging two high voltage lines. Every year thousands of customers lose power and data services in Connecticut due to squirrels.

Though many businesses plan on having their employees work from home in the case of an emergency, frequently the disruption that closed an office also impacts the employees’ ability to work from home. Power outages are often widespread. Homes rarely have redundant power that can sustain operations for more than a few hours. Typically, home based internet services are also not very resilient.

CAPS has been providing Business Continuity services from its secure data center in Shelton, CT for over 20 years. During this time our facility has never suffered an unplanned power outage even though major storms such as Hurricane Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene, and the October 2011 snowstorm resulted in widescale power outages throughout the state. Our alternate work site enables organizations to relocate essential operations to our facility, typically in a few hours, to minimize service disruptions due to disasters.

We provide both Dedicated and Shared workstations that are configured to replicate our clients’ applications and User Interfaces by deploying Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Internet bandwidth with automatic failover to a secondary provider is also included. Our skilled professionals assist our clients as they perform Business Continuity tests one or more times each year to assure their backup facilities will be available when needed.

Provisioning an alternate workspace at a secure facility such as CAPS is essential to mitigate the impact of a costly service disruption whether or not the cause of a disaster can be predicted.