Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our Internet is down; Too bad we aren’t using cloud services!


When I got to the office today everything was fine on this Tuesday morning.  Within 15 minutes my phone started ringing off the hook!  THE INTERNET IS DOWN!!!!!  Call after call of users asking if the internet connection was down. Most of those early conversations began something like this, “Is there a problem with the internet because I can’t connect to Gmail/my banks website/Facebook?”  the caller would ask.

Yes.  If you can’t get to the internet there is a problem.  In this case the problem was our ISP (Internet Service Provider.)  They had an outage.  In total we were without internet access from about 8:00 a.m. till 2:45 p.m., six almost seven hours.   That’s a long time.

Our CAD Techs and Engineers were all able to work on their respective projects, but the managers had a difficult time communicating with clients and local municipalities.  The internet outage knocked out our email server.  It couldn’t communicate with the rest of the world so we weren’t receiving nor were we sending emails.  Since we also use a VOIP (Voice Over I.P.) phone system, our phones were down too.



I’m glad we didn’t have our CAD in the cloud!

Even though we had no internet connection we still had deadlines to meet.  Our planning department desperately needed information from a local municipality’s website.  We couldn’t get it.  We couldn’t email them asking for it.  We couldn’t call them either!  I suggested that somebody should consider using their cell phone.  (Call me Captain Obvious!)  That seemed to help.

Once the right people were called work could continue.  Eventually it was determined that we needed a file from said municipality.  Again, we had no way of getting it.  I suggested they use their smart phones with a Gmail (or any cloud based email system) account to send and receive files.    And yes, getting the files from their phones to their computers was another issue.  I mean, who buys a phone without an SDCard? Or who leaves their Micro/Mini USB cable at home? Really?  Do people do that? (Or not do that in this case!)

Lucky for them I’m a nerd (or a geek, whatever) and I have cables, cards, etc. My phone even has an app that allows me to transfer files via wifi (I have one for Bluetooth too.)

Long story short, the Geek saved the day.  Yet again.  Mock us, spit on us, look down upon us as if we were insects but when your tech breaks, you always, always come crying to us like impotent lemmings.

Of course once this dance was done the internet came back on and everyone was bogged down with emails…and Facebook updates.  (OMG!!!  Internet has been down all day at the office!!!)

Now that everyone could do their online banking again and I had time to myself, and my projects, I had the thought.  Too bad we weren’t using a Cloud Based Exchange service!  If that were the case then all we have to do is give everyone a smart phone and keep a mifi handy in the office and we could have kept going.  Get tethering plans for the phones and we could have hooked everyone’s workstations up.  I mean, that’s what I do/did.

This event has me considering leaving Microsoft Exchange and going with an online cloud based exchange system.  Google Docs/Apps only cost $50 (U.S.D.) per year last time I checked.  We are a small company (about 25 employees) so this cost would be $1250 per year.  That’s basically nothing.  It gets rid of one more server to maintain, update, and backup.  The company is already paying for the majority of these phone bills so there would be little additional cost in adding the smart phones.  And be honest, we wouldn’t have to give everyone a full tethering plan either.

So, if we had cloud based email and the internet goes down, we could still communicate.  Interesting thought.  What do you think?

But what if we were using CAD in the Cloud?...
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