How to implement a cost-effective disaster

How to implement a cost-effective disaster
recovery plan for any size business.
Prepare for disruption without going over budget.
by Sarah Gould & Carmen P. Fleischauer
Citrix ShareFile
In today’s business climate, information ranks among
our most valuable resources. With the rise of big data
and continuous improvements to computer and network
capacities, companies are collecting and curating more
data every day. But large amounts of data are difficult to
manage in even the best of cases—consider how much
more difficult such a task becomes in the face of a disaster or emergency.
To survive unexpected conditions, companies must create disaster recovery plans that can be employed during
interruptions to normal operations. Far from pessimistic
or exorbitant, a well-designed disaster recovery plan is
essential for maintaining the integrity of the business and
can minimize the effect an outage could inflict on the
bottom line.
Preparing a business for potential disaster is not only
important for large, multinational corporations; small
businesses can be affected just as intensely. Fortunately,
with the increase in flexible work arrangements across all
types of companies, there are more affordable ways for
small businesses to stay organized and functional during
these times. As more companies turn to Internet-based
technology and paperless record systems, information
can easily move when necessary. This decreases the
downtime companies face when operating under
exceptional conditions.
For effective planning, specific scenarios must be
considered to determine what the real consequences
of a disruption could entail. For example, in case of a
natural disaster:
++ How would disruption affect your facilities and
physical assets?
++ Would temporary loss of a facility cause further
financial damage by preventing employees
from working?
++ Are there assets that could not be easily replaced, such as client files, records and other data necessary to the business?
++ Is sensitive information likely to be misplaced in
an evacuation?
While these issues are difficult and sometimes uncomfortable to consider, an honest, thorough audit of
potential weaknesses in your organization can help
prevent worst-case scenarios.
Implementing a plan
An article published in showed
that 57 percent of small and midsize businesses (SMBs)
have no recovery plan to address a network outage, data
Disaster recovery plan
loss or unexpected disaster. This is unfortunate, because
creating a disaster recovery plan doesn’t have to be an
unwieldy task. Being prepared for a disaster, large or
small, can make a significant difference for your company. Every day is important to the business, and even a
few days of disruption can produce a negative outcome.
Incorporating a disaster preparedness plan alongside
existing company policies is an easy way to educate
employees and prepare for a worst-case scenario.
An aggressive disaster recovery program may include
an infrastructure update with virtualization and remote
server backups, but most companies don’t have the
resources to take on an extensive overhaul. The hassle
of implementing a time-consuming and costly plan is
a major deterrent, and as a result, many companies go
without one. However, by simply taking an inventory of
your current infrastructure, you’ll be able to see where
you can afford to implement changes. The addition of a
few critical software programs can prepare your business
and reduce disruption in the event of a disaster.
Begin by looking at your infrastructure
Data Storage & Discovery
What systems do you already have in place? One of the
most important things to consider is where you store
company data. Do you use local servers or individual
employee computers? Where employees store data is
important, not only for disaster recovery, but also for
protecting the privacy of the company and its clients.
Storing crucial data offsite is an important step to maintaining business continuity during an unexpected event.
While there are myriad options for offsite data storage,
many small businesses use a cloud-based provider to
secure data. Cloud storage protects company data by
allowing employees access through a single entry point.
In the event of a disaster, employees are able to log into
a web portal from any computer with Internet access and
retrieve files pertinent to running the business. A business-grade cloud storage solution like Citrix ShareFile
ensures data integrity and security. The business remains
protected in the event of disaster.
In addition to the question of where data is stored, be
sure to check that you have readily available the data
that will be most relevant in the case of an outage. You
will want to have an up-to-date employee contact list
with multiple ways to get in touch with each person.
Employee Devices
While it is typical to supply each employee with a
computer, many companies have begun issuing laptops
in place of, or in addition to, more traditional desktop
computers. Fortunately, companies have begun adopting flexible work environments. Workshifting (working
remotely at least one day per week) can benefit companies facing disaster; employees who are used to working
away from the office will adapt more quickly to disruption.
Take an inventory of company devices if there is not
already a record. For small companies, this may be as
simple as asking everyone in the office which devices
they use. If your office is larger or you have multiple
locations, use an online survey for discovery. Once you
obtain information, you will be able to better understand
who could be most affected by a disaster. Make sure
that key personnel have access to the devices they need.
Employees may also use personal devices as necessary.
Clients or other offices may not be affected in the same
way as your own office, so it may be essential to continue business as usual. Like workshifting, if you already use
a tool to meet virtually, your transition will be smoother.
GoToMeeting offers businesses an easy way to conduct
meetings from wherever you are, no matter the situation.
Disaster recovery plan
Whatever tool you use, make sure it can support both
mobile devices and tablets for those who do not have
access to a computer.
Eliminate the need for decision making
An emergency can quickly turn into pure chaos if a
company has not properly prepared for that possibility. After finishing the inventory of company resources,
identify critical functions like setting up communication
to employees, clients and vendors, and submitting insurance claims. Decide who will be responsible for executing specific functions and who should serve as the main
point of contact for the company. This important step will
help limit decision making to only designated persons
and reduce uncertainty during troubling times.
Once it has been formulated, make a copy of the plan
available to employees at all times. Upload it to your
new cloud-based storage system for easy access. Be
sure to review the plan with employees on a regular
basis. You may even consider doing a run-though of
the plan, as you would do with a fire drill. Implementing
a workshifting program will help employees feel comfortable completing tasks away from the office and using
any new tools the company has adopted.
Trusted, dependable file storage
Whether you are facing an unexpected disruption or
simply adapting company culture, Citrix ShareFile gives
you the flexibility you need. ShareFile enables companies to work anywhere by providing secure access to
online folders through the web interface, ShareFile Sync
and mobile applications.
Enabling transfers up to 10 GB at one time, your
ShareFile account makes it easy to transfer all essential
business data into your online account so you can
work from home or anywhere you wish as efficiently
as from the office. Match your ShareFile account with
GoToMeeting by Citrix, and your office can function
anywhere. Employees are able to meet virtually in order
to plan to get business back to full capacity or collaborate over the same resources they would have in the
normal office.
One of the most important things to keep in mind in
creating a disaster recovery plan is that the confidentiality of business data must be maintained, even as normal
protections may be compromised. ShareFile brings
industry-leading, business-friendly security to the transfer
and storage of your data so that you don’t have to worry
about a security breach, no matter where you need to
access your data.
With up to 256-bit AES encryption and Secure Socket
Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption
protocols for file transfer, as well as 256-bit AES encrypted file storage, your files are always protected with
ShareFile. Business-ready mobile applications ensure
that all access to information stored with ShareFile from
a mobile device is easily managed by administrators,
protecting against accidental distribution in the case of
a lost or stolen mobile device.
ShareFile has provided secure, flexible file transfer to
businesses since 2005. By providing easy, anytime access
to all company data directly from a web-based portal or
mobile applications, ShareFile eases the task of managing your company’s critical data in times where a paperbased system or locally-installed document management
is not available.
To learn more about the features of your ShareFile
account, contact the ShareFile support team at 1-800441-3453 or [email protected], or speak with
your ShareFile account manager. If you do not have a
ShareFile account, please sign up for a 30-day free trial
Call 1-800-441-3453 or visit for a free demonstration and see how Citrix ShareFile can make it easy for your
team to share, sync and access files — from any device, at any time.
[email protected]
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