At 3:20 a.m. one morning in March 2014, business as usual stopped for Total Finance, the loan division of Car Outlet, one of Chicago’s fastest growing aftermarket car dealerships and financing groups. Nearly 100 firefighters responded to the fire on West Irving Park Road that had engulfed the company’s offices, causing the entire roof to collapse.
Lance Seamans, CIO for Car Outlet remembers it all vividly, “It was early morning and you’re just watching everything go up in flames. All of it, contract documents, titles, equipment- everything. We had been at this location to better position ourselves for growth and offer better service to our customers”.
Firefighters had gotten the fire under control, and by 5:30 a.m., all that remained of the structure was a lingering haze. That’s when Lance got a call from Gerry Vales at DLS Internet Services (DLS), “As soon as I saw the morning news, I called Lance’s cell phone to find out what he needed, make sure everyone was okay and start working to help them get back up and running”.
It took just minutes to reroute company calls to employee cell phones and, within two days, Car Outlet’s staff was back at work helping customers and rebuilding critical business files, thanks in part to the help from DLS staff and a remotely hosted storage of their phone systems.
This level of attention to customers is nothing new for DLS who has an industry-leading service level with live 24/7 tech support for all customer accounts, not to mention the close rapport Gerry has shared with Lance since Car Outlet became a customer five years ago. Gerry contacted tech support and had Car Outlet’s unified PBX communications service routed to employee mobile phones within minutes, helping the company recover from the loss faster.
Reminded of that unexpected disaster a year ago, Car Outlet is implementing a new hosted Network Access Storage (NAS) solution offered by DLS to protect the rest of the company’s files and provide a secure, private cloud hosted exclusively for Car Outlet that automatically backs up data in real time as files are changed, not on a timed backup schedule. This will ensure business continuity, preserve their data and help keep employees connected no matter where they are.
Few business undertake an assessment of their risk exposure and not many consider the disruption a fire can cause. Car Outlet learned from their experience and plans to ensure that no matter what new threats may come, they will be better prepared to manage them on their terms.