The amount of data available in private organizations and the public domain is voluminous. And the technology to harness the power of this knowledge is growing ever-more sophisticated. Tech-savvy individuals can learn how to use these vast repositories of data to their business advantage. This helps them derive an appropriate return on investment (ROI) from their digital assets.
Cloud computing has expanded our access to knowledge. It has made information highly available and accessible to an organization’s employees, as well as to customers, suppliers and others, and enables them to use this knowledge for their mutual benefit.
What is the ROI on your Digital Assets?
Let us agree from the outset that calculating an ROI for cloud backup or cloud computing might be tricky. There are a number of factors which can be taken into account to determine the savings and, consequently, the ROI. Some key factors include the amount of data you currently have, how quickly your volume of data is growing each year, the data de-duplication ratio, hardware costs, software costs, vaulting costs, admin costs and more. The higher the ROI, the more you might be able to boost staff productivity, reduce overhead and mitigate business risks.
Some potential clients might ask for an estimate of ROI before they commit to sign on the dotted line. Therefore, it’s important to ask, “How does one measure the ROI on digital assets stored in the cloud?” Most companies do not calculate ROI on backups, which are simply considered part of IT best practices to avoid disasters.
A case study by Zetta.net shows that a company with 20 servers, 2 TB of data, a 30% annual growth rate in data volumes and 0.2% daily change in data can reduce its costs by more than 83% by using Hybrid Cloud Backup instead of D2D2T. (The study performed a side-by-side comparison of three types of backup: Hybrid Cloud Backup, Disk-to-Tape (D2T) and Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape (D2D2T).)
The three types of backup are described below:
• Hybrid-Cloud Backup (HCB) safely sends data to both a local backup and a cloud backup for storage while archiving files for disaster recovery. It is an affordable solution that requires less space and hardware than the other options.
• Disk-to-tape backup (D2T) requires manual transfer of data onto tapes, which then need to be transported to a data storage center. This option requires more shelf space and tape hardware, which can become pricey as data volumes grow. Another drawback is that tapes might be proprietary and compatible only with selected types of software.
• Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape (D2D2T) is the most expensive of all three options. It requires the transfer of data to a separate disk to be stored in-house, as well as a transfer to tape that is stored offsite. This option requires the most IT staff time, shelf space and hardware, in addition to tape software compatibility.
Backups also have other associated costs, such as network and bandwidth costs. Employee time spent managing the backups should also be taken into account. Before you can complete your ROI calculations, it is also critical that you determine your Recovery Time Objective (RTO), Recovery Point Objective (RPO), bandwidth and network capacities, and the integrity of your data (in order to restore your data on demand).
During your calculations, you will need to ask yourself the following questions:
• How many people are involved in manual operations before cloud backup implementation?
• How many hours are saved annually after implementing cloud backup?
• What is the annual value of dollars saved after implementing cloud backup?
• What kind of annual investment is required to stay in the cloud?
• What is the ROI for every dollar spent?
Managing your digital assets properly will help your organization become more effective, allowing you to secure and control your digital assets — that is, to store, organize, manage, access and distribute digital assets. This can help increase staff productivity by eliminating time-intensive, costly file searches, giving your staff members more time to do their jobs. It can also save time and money by eliminating the need to post files to multiple locations or deliver them via FTP, discs or drives. Finally, it will help you to achieve better results and value when the time comes to sell your digital assets.
SMEs can be assured that signing up for a cloud service could give them an instant disaster recovery option, in addition to anytime, anywhere access. Pay-as-you-go options allow you to pay only for what you use, with no up-front investment costs. They also enable you to control your service levels by scaling up or down on demand. Just remember: as with any IT purchase, it’s important to do your homework thoroughly and study your requirements carefully to make the right decision.