IT Versus the Hurricane
Although the general population has been ordered to evacuate the city of New Orleans after the powerful Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast last week, one IT firm is staying put, for now. Web-hosting company directNIC.com, located in a downtown New Orleans skyscraper, is excused from the edict, according to the day-by-day blog (http://mgno.com/) chronicling the organization’s operations amid the disaster.
DirectNIC.com’s offices remained intact following the hurricane, and its staff—some are on-site and some are remote—has since been working round-the-clock hours to continue serving their customers. According to the company’s Web site, it has three weeks of backup power, and more resources are en route at present. Additionally, directNIC.com employees have found time to take some pretty amazing snapshots of the aftermath. (You can see them at http://sigmund.biz and http://crisiskatrina.com.)
Many in the media have wondered aloud about who exactly dropped the ball in terms of rescue and recovery efforts. Fortunately, we’ve also seen an outpouring of support from compassionate individuals and organizations. One company that’s trying to help out is WebEx, which is offering free services to help organizations improve coordination of their relief efforts and businesses replace lost IT infrastructure capabilities. In addition, the company is making a donation to the American Red Cross and will match contributions from its employees through the end of the year. Small companies impacted by the hurricane that want to use WebEx’s collaboration services for free in their rebuilding efforts can go to http://www.intranets.com/katrina. Relief agencies that want to use WebEx services to coordinate their efforts can go to http://www.webex.com/webex/katrina-contact.html.
Readers interested in making a donation to support the victims can go to sites of nonprofits like the American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/), the Salvation Army (http://katrina.salvationarmy.org) and the United Way (http://national.unitedway.org), as well as state-run sites for Louisiana (http://www.louisianahelp.org), Mississippi (http://www.mississippirecovery.com) and Alabama (http://www.servealabama.gov).