Online Document Storage = a Little Peace of Mind in the Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy

Weather-wise, Houston (SmartVault’s hometown headquarters) is enjoying one of the best weeks of the year… it’s 75 degrees and sunny, and we’re loving it. But because we’re used to a hot and sticky subtropical climate, we’re no strangers to the threat of brutal storms like the one that descended on the East Coast earlier this week. Most of us at SmartVault have lived through our share of tropical storms – and most recently Hurricane Ike – so we know first-hand, just how devastating these storms can be.

So as I was watching the news last night, and seeing the dozens of CenterPoint Energy trucks departing from Houston, beating the highway north to support the millions without power, and I, like so many others, found myself wishing for a meaningful way to reach out and help those who are faced with putting their lives, their homes and their businesses back together. In watching all of the personal stories, it moves me to want to help create a way forward, especially when the future may seem so unbearably bleak to so many.

Then it struck me… in a way, I am doing something. I am part of a company whose promise is to provide its customers access to their documents, any time and from anywhere. The words sound simple, but the promise is deep. Many of our customers on the East Coast might not even remember that they have SmartVault – and that if they pulled out their iPhones or iPads right now, they could access any file they might need, on the spot. But when they do realize this, it might provide that small step forward to re-building that is vital to those that have been through a disaster of this magnitude.

Of course, we talk a lot about online document storage here at SmartVault – and the value of having an offsite backup of your business documents as part of any disaster recovery plan. But how many of us actually experience a disaster to fully realize the value? The answer is very few. If you are a mid-to-large-sized business, then you have a business continuity / data protection plan in place because you have an IT staff to help you do this. But as a typical micro/small business, this burden falls most likely on the owner(s), who typically don’t have these skills in their wheelhouse. That’s where the value of cloud applications and services can make a significant difference. Business critical services like cloud accounting, online document storage, and online payment and bill processing can literally keep your business moving forward even when you have to take time out to rebuild.  Being able to set up a computer and work from home or the local coffee shop while your office is being rebuilt, might mean that your business can continue to operate – that you can still service and support your clients, that you can process payments, generate invoices and access files needed to operate your business. It might mean that your business survives and even thrives.

So for the tens of thousands of SmartVault users who have been affected by Superstorm Sandy, our hearts and prayers go out to you and your families; being based here in Houston, we absolutely know and understand well the gravity of the situation, and the magnitude of what is ahead for many of you that have to just start over. We also have one of our own based up in Philadelphia – Susan Guggenheim, one of SmartVault’s customer care reps is a Superstorm Sandy survivor right along with you all.

So while we can’t be there physically to lend a hand as you begin the rebuilding process, what we can give you is the peace of mind that all of your documents are stored securely in our data center – and readily accessible to you whenever you need them. Today from your mobile phone or iPad, or maybe next week from that snazzy new computer you are going to buy to replace the one sacrificed to the storm. So maybe you didn’t realize it before now, but in implementing an online document storage system like SmartVault, you’ve ensured yourself a built-in disaster recovery and business continuity plan – and for any business – that is peace of mind.

I invite all SmartVault users to share their stories of recovery with us – how you’ve been able to rebuild and restore your business – and what value you’ve seen in storing your files online. We’d love to feature your story on our blog and in our newsletter. Email me directly at – I’d love to share it so that we can all learn and benefit from your experiences.