September 16, 2005
During Hurricane Katrina, business in the New Orleans CBD came to a standstill. One company, however, continued to operate. Data Protection Services, an online backup service provider, operated the entire time backing up and restoring client data. Jeff Danos, President of Data Protection Services, said, “Our business is about data security and reliability. We planned for the worst case scenario, and our plan worked as designed. We had a few unexpected problems pop up, but nothing we were not able to solve with a little ingenuity and a dedicated staff who performed under the most difficult circumstances. We are already at work developing our new disaster plan based on what we have learned.”
The company’s primary data center is located on the 10th floor of a 28-story building in downtown New Orleans in a protected windowless concrete and steel reinforced area. Buildings in New Orleans are required by code to withstand hurricane force winds, and the integrity of the building was never in doubt. The windows in buildings throughout the downtown area were smashed by flying debris during the storm. “It was exciting, without a doubt,” said Susan Klees, Vice President of DPS, who rode out the storm at the data center. “When electrical power was lost, we switched seamlessly to generated power. Although our office telephone and computer systems continued to work, air conditioning ceased except in the data center, and we had no water.”
On Tuesday, August 30th, the day after the storm, it appeared that regaining electricity and water was all that was required for DPS to be running normally. Then a levee broke, and water started rising throughout the city. Looters began pillaging the city, and a decision was made to switch administrative operations to the alternate facility in Mandeville, Louisiana. “Our building was secure, but access in and out of the city was restricted,” said Danos, “Once access was established, we started ferrying staff and fuel on a regular basis. Refueling was a major undertaking. We had a fuel supplier, but needed secure transportation in and out. We purchased an H1 Hummer over the Internet and took delivery the next day. The Hummer enabled us to travel through every area of the city and also enabled us to assist our staff in retrieving belongings from homes destroyed by the hurricane.”
The company said their clients have been wonderful throughout the ordeal. Those unaffected by the storm have expressed amazement that service continued uninterrupted during the worst natural disaster to ever hit the United States. The clients whose facilities were destroyed are grateful their business data is safe. “Our priority at the present time is restoring data for our clients,” said Danos, “After all, that is the reason we are in business.”
Data Protection Services has provided automatic remote backup to businesses throughout the United States and Canada since 1996.