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Staying Dry With Office 365: How the Cloud Beat Sandy

Office 365 is much more reliable than a traditional on-premise server environment

We have a saying here at ‘wichcraft: Make people happy while being proud of what you do.

We’re in the retail food business. Our job is to feed our customers, and our customers are at the core of everything we do. As Director of Technology for a sandwich company spanning 15 locations and three states, it can be easy to forget this simple fact. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the daily grind of maintaining servers and networks just so we can keep our business humming along.

When we made the jump to Office 365 earlier this year, we were able to take our existing on-premise servers and move them to the cloud. As a result, we eliminated layers of complexity, and I no longer needed to spend valuable time and resources administering legacy systems. This has allowed me to shift my focus toward new and exciting ways to better serve our guests, like launching a new loyalty platform and implementing tools to help us engage customers through social media.

In addition to being easy to manage, Office 365 is much more reliable than a traditional on-premise server environment. This was really put to the test when Hurricane Sandy struck New York City in late October.

Our corporate offices are in downtown Manhattan. After Sandy, these facilities were without power for several days. Prior to migrating to Office 365, our data center would have been under water, and our business would have ground to a halt. Not only would our corporate team members have been unable to do their jobs, but our stores would not have had access to the tools and systems necessary to process payroll, fulfill catering orders, and perform other tasks critical to our operations.

Instead, we unplugged our laptops, set up shop in one of our stores in Midtown Manhattan, plugged in, and picked up right where we left off. We created a temporary base camp where we used Office 365 to organize our recovery efforts, keeping an open line of communication with our more than 400 employees. With the public transportation system crippled, we began orchestrating the huge feat of getting our employees safely to work and keeping our doors open for our customers.

In the end, Office 365 helped us resume business as usual far more quickly than other restaurants and, most importantly, rallied our team in order to provide some much-needed relief and refreshment for our fellow New Yorkers.

(This content was originally posted on Office.com.)

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.