After Hurricane Ivan, when phone service was sketchy, LIME was up and running. The disaster recovery services and products it offers can prepare your business for any natural or man-made disaster.
Reynaldo Ysaguirrie, customer services delivery coordinator at LIME says that employees of the company have a saying: ‘If a person is in trouble, they call 911, if a phone company is in trouble, they call LIME.’
“And, you know, 911 moved into LIME’s One Technology Square building after Hurricane Ivan,” says LIME Regional Product Manager for Managed Voice Services Alfred Bodden.
After Hurricane Ivan struck on 11-12 September, 2004, the main concern for many businesses was how to quickly re-establish communication and restore data.
LIME was prepared for the storm and its customers did not have to worry about being able to communicate in the days and weeks following the disaster.
“The only phones working after Hurricane Ivan were the phones from LIME and obviously that’s a testament to the infrastructure that we have in place,” Ysaguirrie says.
Now, seven years later, the company is continuing to release new products and services that make it possible for any business to be prepared for a natural or man-made disaster.
One of the main products that is a part of LIME’s Managed Voice Services is Virtual Office, a system that allows businesses and their employees to operate from anywhere using the same phone network.
“Basically your office can be anywhere now,” explains Bodden. “Your service is not tied to a physical line that comes in, it’s tied to a virtual line, which can be on a phone, it can be on a PC and we’re going to implement upgrades that will allow you to have it on your smartphone.”
This service eliminates the need for businesses to store large pieces of equipment. All employees need to work from overseas is a phone.
“By the service being hosted by us, if your offices are ruined or damaged there’s no equipment at your location to get damaged besides your phones,” Bodden says. “So if a disaster was to come you could simply save your phones and then move them to a different office, whether it’s here on-island or even in the US, and once you have an Internet connection you simply plug them in and they will work, same number, same features, everything you had in your existing office.”
This service, therefore, makes it easy for businesses to continue to operate when employees are evacuated prior to a disaster.
“If you send your staff off-island, you simply send them with their phones or PC with softclient installed, and you can call them just as if they were sitting in Cayman still,” says Bodden.
Not only is communication between employees uninterrupted, it is also free of charge.
“We don’t charge you anything more to call within your particular group… so you could actually have someone working off-island for you permanently and if you send them with a phone you can call between the phones in your group and although they are sitting in Miami or New York it’s an internal call,” explains Bodden. “It saves you money even if a disaster hasn’t happened.”
Another aspect of this service that makes it extremely easy to maintain communication, even on a daily basis, is the fact that it does not require multiple, separate numbers.
“For example, currently, I don’t give out my mobile phone number, I give out my office phone, but if you call my office it rings here also so I can answer it,” Bodden says. “It’s not forwarding, it’s a simultaneous ring.”
Instead of having to go through three different numbers to reach an employee, corporate bosses can call one number and it can ring several different machines at once.
“The idea is to get people on one number, whether it’s your mobile or your desktop,” says Bodden. “So if you want to be contacted or reached, you can be reached on one single number.”
This service is also helpful to businesses recovering from a disaster as it allows employees to access their company phone network from any device and from anywhere.
“People ring you on the same number, so it’s not like you have to get a different number,” Bodden says. “You could basically move your office into a hotel room if that’s where you end up operating out of.”
In the unlikely event that something should happen to the main server, LIME has two back-up servers to ensure continued phone service.
“We have a server here in Cayman but we also have what we call a geo-redundant server which is located in Barbados, so… should something happen to Cayman, your service would still work,” Bodden says, explaining that there is also another back-up server at High Rock in East End. “We’ve gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that this service will work for people.“
Since the LIME headquarters at One Technology Square are designed to withstand earthquakes, fires and Category 5 hurricanes, they offer one of the most secure facilities on-island for businesses to store their servers.
“Right now we have a number of clients who have all of their IT equipment held in our building here,” says Ysaguirrie. “They have all their phones and their PCs at their location but all the servers, where the data is stored and held, are actually here.”
The servers are housed in a climate-controlled underground storage room that is monitored constantly by the company’s Network Operations Centre. Water sensors, fire suppression systems and video monitoring equipment keep the restricted area secure at all times.
Two standby generators fuelled from a diesel tank on-site and an Uninterruptible Power Supply system are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that power does not go down at LIME.
“And the generators are on the second level, so even if this ground floor was to flood there’s nothing here that could be damaged that would actually affect the performance of our system,” says Ysaguirrie. “All that we would sacrifice is office space.”
When a business stores their servers at LIME, it eliminates the need to focus energy and resources on managing its technological infrastructure and reduces the risk of losing that infrastructure due to a natural disaster.
“Say for instance [a business’] building was destroyed, once they got their phones moved to a new location and moved with their PCs all they would need to do is get a DIA, which is a direct Internet access, or a DPLC, which is a domestic private leased circuit, link back to this building, and they could connect up to their servers and be back up and running just like that,” explains Ysaguirrie.
Although other buildings on-island that are built to withstand Category 5 hurricanes offer to lease space for servers as well, Ysaguirrie says that these businesses all have to link to LIME themselves.
“If your equipment was being hosted by someone else, you would have to have a connection to go to them and they would have to have another one to connect with us,” he says. “If you are hosting with us then there aren’t two points of possible failure, there’s just the one.”
Businesses of all sizes are able to take advantage of LIME’s server storage facilities.
“You can lease a quarter rack, a half rack, a full rack, multiple rack space depending on what you want,” explains Ysaguirrie. “It all depends on how important it is to you.”
Bodden says that LIME is continuing to expand the products and services it has to offer small and medium-sized businesses in the Cayman Islands.
“We are in the process of developing services and products for [small to medium-sized businesses] which are more in the hosted version so they don’t have to buy all the equipment and rent a rack… it will all be in the cloud,” he says. “The economy is changing and people are asking why they have to buy all this stuff to store data when we can just put it in the cloud and… access to it from anywhere.”