Simon Jelley, General Manager for SaaS Protection, Endpoint and Backup Exec at Veritas Technologies.
The benefits of cloud computing, such as flexibility, scalability, mobility, efficiency, accessibility and speed-to-market, are undeniable. But just because the cloud has legitimate benefits doesn’t automatically mean a strong return on investment (ROI).
To get a great ROI from the cloud, those benefits have to outweigh the costs, and for many organizations, that just isn’t happening. Recent research even suggests that: 69% of organizations have yet to achieve substantial ROI from their cloud transformations. I have been working in the data management industry for 20 years with a special focus on cloud data management in recent years, I can clearly say that good cloud data management is the key to achieving cloud ROI.
Ironically, cost in itself is often touted as one of the great benefits of the cloud. However, a cost-benefit ratio of the cloud is rather elusive.
Watch an example to understand why: Using cloud collaboration tools increased rapidly at the start of the pandemic. Tools like these have helped us weather the Covid-19 storm and forever changed the way many of us work for the better.
However, because very few of these collaboration services offer the ability to archive files, many organizations are now seeing their data and cost overruns spiral out of control. You see, if this data created at the outbreak of the pandemic was stored on an organization’s own servers, much of it would have been archived by now. But because there is no native option to archive it in the cloud, the data piles up in expensive, so-called hot storage.
As a result, some organizations pay to keep every employee’s chat from two years ago on the most expensive cloud storage tiers. If left unaddressed, these organizations will eventually pay for excess storage related to data they no longer use and should have already archived.
This is just one of many examples showing why cloud ROI is harder to achieve than most initially thought. In my time working at a company that provides data management solutions, I’ve found that achieving these three capabilities can help improve your cloud ROI.
1. Look for a tool with archive capabilities.
Let’s start by tackling the data storage challenge illustrated in the collaboration services example above. The easiest solution is to use a cloud data management tool that can easily or even automatically move archive-ready data — or remove redundant, obsolete, and trivial data altogether — to more cost-effective tiers of storage, preferably on the same cloud platform you’re already using for your hot data, and without compromising data compliance and governance requirements.
2. Find a solution with your favorite mobility.
Another challenge to achieving cloud ROI is vendor lock-in, which contradicts today’s growing desire to take advantage of multi-cloud infrastructure. Vendor lock-in refers to being forced to continue using a cloud service provider because the provider knowingly or unknowingly makes it impractical to move your data and applications to another cloud platform. This ensures that you pay the provider pretty much anything they charge for services that they may or may not be the best at providing. You can avoid vendor lock-in by using a management solution that supports data and application mobility.
3. Have a data protection plan ready.
I cannot stress enough the cloud’s shared responsibility model. Just because your data and applications are in the cloud does not mean that your cloud provider guarantees their protection and availability. In fact, most cloud service providers make it clear in their terms and conditions that you are still responsible for that, while their responsibility largely ends with cloud uptime. Too many organizations realize this too late, leading to unexpected costs. You can improve your cloud ROI by recognizing this shared responsibility model now and planning ahead for resources to protect your cloud-based data and applications from ransomware and other threats to their integrity.
According to Gartner, organizations often spend up to 70% too much on cloud services without realizing the expected value. Don’t be one of them — or quit if you are — by following these best practices.