Business Continuity When Disaster Strikes

What is the cost of being down for hours, days or even weeks? How a conversation about risk and business continuity saved one company from shutting down during a disaster.

 

 


The Challenge

What is the risk of a disaster occurring? And if that were to become reality, what would it cost to be down for hours, days or even weeks? 

When Andy Jordan, President of Total Tool Supply, started asking these questions about his company, he didn't particularly care for the answers he was getting. If the company's IT systems were to go offline, they would have to restore their systems from backup. Jordan knew Total Tool had a quality data backup system in place. They backed up their data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. But it wasn’t designed to get them up and running quickly in the event of a disaster. 

“It came to my attention that we were told it would be two weeks before we would be functional if something really bad happened,” Jordan said. “And that was not an acceptable answer.” 

Total Tool Supply provides hand tools and midsize equipment to mechanical, electrical and general contractors. They also rent and repair equipment and manufacture overhead rigging products. Total Tool has been around since 1977 and has steadily added locations throughout the United States. They now have 12 stores in eight states. Most of what Total Tool needs to run their business is dependent on their computers and their network, including their inventory, orders, email and phone systems. If their systems failed, they wouldn’t be able to provide products, receive products or ship anything to customers. 

The Solution

"We basically bought a redundant system and located it in an offsite data center. If something were to happen to our primary data center we would be able to fail over all of our systems to the offsite location in minutes, not days."

Andy Jordan
President
Total Tool Supply

Total Tool began looking at business continuity and disaster recovery options that would give them a recovery time between two and four hours, rather than two weeks, along with accurate replacement of data. They wanted to make sure that they could remain functioning in the event of a disaster, specifically if one were to occur at their headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

A disaster could be anything from a roof caving in, to a fire, a flood, a robbery or a ransomware attack. Jordan wanted to ensure his business would be able to function if it was faced with a worst-case scenario. 

Loffler’s senior engineers worked closely with the IT department at Total Tool who ultimately decided to go with  Zerto, a business continuity and disaster recovery solution, which would allow them to fail over to another location seamlessly and have everything back up and running in minutes instead of days. 

We basically bought a redundant system and located it in an offsite data center," Jordan said. "If something were to happen to our primary data center we would be able to fail over all of our systems to the offsite location in minutes, not days."

Total Tool’s Zerto system came online in mid-2019, and they used it when disaster struck their business one year later. 

The Results

“When you sit at home and watch the news and you see buildings on fire and smoke coming across the highway right where your building is located... Yeah. It was a night of uncertainty to say the least.” 

Andy Jordan
President
Total Tool Supply

Total Tool’s headquarters is in St. Paul, Minnesota, which experienced a large display of civil unrest in the spring and summer of 2020. Jordan recalled a concerning night as he watched local news coverage of buildings burning near his business.  

“When you sit at home and watch the news and you see buildings on fire and smoke coming across the highway right where your building is located... Yeah. It was a night of uncertainty to say the least,” Jordan said. 

On one of those nights, Jordan received a call from his alarm company informing him that his building had been broken into. Jordan drove to see for himself and saw that while the building was thankfully not on fire, glass was shattered in the exterior doors. He would later learn that people were in the building, which serves as their main office, IT datacenter and warehouse, for over three-and-a-half hours. A considerable amount of damage was done to the interior of the building, and a large amount of inventory stored in their warehouse was stollen 

Jordan called his IT manager the night of the break-in to discuss options and how to guarantee they’d be open in the morning for his other locations around the country. They started walking through the process with Loffler to implement their Zerto solution. Jordan was in contact with his IT director and he was working directly with a Loffler senior engineer. 

“By about four o'clock in the morning, we had everything switched over and everything running in our backup location,” Jordan said. “So when our stores started opening, no one knew any difference, that they weren't running on our main system. We had routed all our calls to different stores. So when people came into our St. Paul location, we could just focus on cleaning up, getting it back and in order to where we could serve customers again the following week.” 

Despite the worry of that night, Jordan knew he was prepared with the Zerto business continuity and disaster recovery solution from Loffler.

“I knew even if something happened to our main location" Jordan said, "all the other locations will be able to operate and not experience any service interruption. Our goal is to also ensure our customers never experience any service interruptions while doing business with us.”

Jordan says he now has a sense of security, that going down in a disaster is one less thing to worry about.  

“I mean, it's all that of knowing we have a solution in place,” Jordan said, “if a natural disaster hits or who knows at this point what hits, but we have a capability of keeping all our locations running.” 

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