Page 35 - BusinessWest April 28, 2021
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tries were sent home to work remotely, local IT firms saw a huge influx of work. “Almost over- night, we had to set up about 4,000 people to work remotely who weren’t previously set up to do so.”
Sean Hogan, president of Hogan Commu- nications, said the last time businesses experi- enced this much disruption was October 2011, when a surprise snowstorm knocked out power
for thousands across the region. This time, the disruption has had a more pro- found and lasting impact.
“The pandemic woke up a lot of people and forced them to understand they’ve got to change the way they do business,” Hogan said, explaining
that, while the pre- Halloween storm a decade ago encour- aged investments in backup generators, the pandemic has shown many the importance of stor- ing data in a remote
data center, commonly known as the ‘cloud.’ In Bean’s estimation, the idea of a business
keeping a server at its facility to host its network is already a legacy model that was on its way to being phased out in the next five years.
“COVID dumped gasoline on that time- table and made converting to the cloud a much higher priority,” he said. With cloud-based tech- nology, employees can more easily access their company’s network from multiple locations and devices.
Resistance to change comes natural to New England business owners as many prefer to keep their data on a server in their office. Hogan often explains to these reluctant
clients that cloud-based
data centers have spent
millions of dollars to make
sure there is a disaster
recovery set up, as well as
backup systems for power,
internet and HVAC.
employees have been on the cloud and set up to work from anywhere since June 2019.
“So when the pandemic struck, moving our staff remotely was pretty seamless,” Bean said. “About 80% of our people work remotely, and 15% to 20% come into the office on any given day.”
Jeremiah Beaudry, owner of Bloo Solutions, said his employees are working so well from
When the pandemic hit, they had to suddenly
 adopt new technologies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other virtual platforms to keep doing business. Almost overnight, we had to set up about 4,000 people to work remotely who weren’t previously set up to do so.”
     Delcie Bean
“The average business
owner couldn’t afford to
make that type of invest-
ment to keep their data
safe,” Hogan said. “So
when people say they
don’t trust the cloud we
point out how much more reliable it is com- pared to their office.”
BusinessWest spoke with a number of local
IT providers about what several of them called the ‘roller-coaster year’ we’ve just had and what’s on the horizon. As business owners themselves, they, like their clients, have had to figure out how to keep things running during a pandemic and anticipate what that means in the long term.
As an IT-services vendor, Bean believes firms like his should be a little ahead of the curve so they can test new technologies before they rec- ommend them to clients. For example, Paragus
home, it’s not necessary to come into the office. He noted that productivity has not suffered, and employees have less stress.
“I’m looking at the service tickets we’re com- pleting while working remote, and they are right on par with where they were when we were in the office,” Beaudry said. “In fact, we might be a little more efficient.”
One important thing businesses have learned from the pandemic, according to Charlie Chris- tianson, president of CMD Solutions, is that it’s OK to work from home.
“We can do a lot more than we thought we could outside of the office,” he said. “People are
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