Tech Solutions

Out of the ashes: Why one business moved its data to the cloud

Cameron Cooper
Business Journalist

Cameron Cooper is an experienced business journalist from Brisbane, Australia, and chief writer for Coopermedia.

Cameron Cooper
Business Journalist

Cameron Cooper is an experienced business journalist from Brisbane, Australia, and chief writer for Coopermedia.

In this Q&A with Abode New Homes founders Justin and Karinda Gill, they explain how a near-miss with a fire six years ago prompted them to become more innovative with technology and data protection at their Northern Territory home-building business.

Image shows Karinda and Justin Gill from Abode New Homes talking over a tablet with an employee. Karinda and Justin Gill from Abode New Homes were lucky not to lose everything in a fire at their business.

What happened with that fire?

Karinda: “We’d just installed a $30,000 server into our office that day. The IT people left at 5pm 

Territory police saying ‘Your premises are on fire – we need you to attend and in the middle of the night we received a phone call from the immediately’. That was the longest drive we’d ever had to the office.”

It turned out that the adjoining business, a panel beater, suffered the most damage. What was your reaction? 

Karinda: “We were… so grateful that it wasn’t our building. In saying that, we still had about $60,000 worth of smoke damage and the new server had to be taken away and cleaned and serviced.”

Did this event convince you that you needed to get serious about business continuity and data protection?

Justin: “It was a big wake-up call. Our biggest concern immediately after the fire was that all our data backups were on site and whether our staff member had taken home that day’s backup. We were relying too much on the human factor to make sure all our data was protected.”

So what did you do?

Justin: “We looked for better ways. The cloud was a bit of a new word at that stage. So we did offsite backups for a while, but it wasn’t flexible. That’s when we started considering a cloud option.”

Your business has been on the cloud for about three years now. What are the benefits?

Karinda: “Security is the main thing, but it’s also the flexibility to be able to log on from wherever you’ve got the internet and access data and files. The other beauty of the cloud is that we have a number of people who don’t work in the office; they work (on building sites). And they’re able to have the same information that we’ve got at their fingertips. Previously, they’d have to drive back to the office to get a hard copy of building plans, whereas now they all carry a tablet, it’s all synched and they can get information in real time.”

What’s your advice regarding the cloud and how it can assist business continuity for other enterprises?

Justin: “There are always some challenges with technology, but the benefits outweigh those challenges. With any business you’ve got to be innovative and look for opportunities and embrace technology. There are so many tools now that help businesses.”

Your company has won a lot of awards. Has this innovative cloud-based approach helped?

Justin: “It’s been a big part of our success. The building industry has been very slow to adapt, but we have tried to look for better ways of doing things and make life and business easier for us.”

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