What’s the value of cloud data protection for ROBO?

September 10, 2019 Derek E. Brink, CISSP Vice President and Research Fellow, Aberdeen Group Adjunct Faculty, Harvard University and Brandeis University

In the blog, “What do remote office / branch office scenarios look like?” I described some of the research behind the following observation:

Organizations see a move to cloud-based data protection strategies as a flexible, consistent, and cost-effective way to address their relentless requirements for growth (e.g., in data, users, applications) while also addressing their increasing risks (e.g., disruptions to availability).

But what’s the value of cloud-based data protection?

No, this isn’t a trick question. If you’re thinking “wait, you just wrote that cloud-based data protection helps to address both growth and risks; isn’t that the value?” … then you’d be correct, in a qualitative sense. But what is the value of cloud-based data protection, in a quantitative sense? How can we make the case that an investment in this kind of solution is cost-justified?

If cloud-based data protection really matters, we should be able to observe something about it, which means we can measure it in some quantifiable amount — or at least estimate it, as a range of possible values.

For example: based on empirical data graciously shared by Druva for total time-to-recover, the amount of data being restored, and the corresponding number of endpoints and servers, combined with insights about the number of sites and number of users per sites in ROBO scenarios, Aberdeen developed a straightforward model for quantifying the value of using a cloud-based backup and restore solution:

  • Using traditional, on-premises approaches to data protection — the median total cost of lost user productivity from data backup and restore is about $2.5M per year, with a 10% likelihood of exceeding $20M.
  • Using a cloud-based backup and restore solution — the median total cost of lost user productivity from data backup and restore is reduced to about $75K per year (including the incremental cost), with a 10% likelihood of exceeding $500K.

In other words: Aberdeen’s analysis shows that the faster, more scalable time-to-recover provided by using a cloud-based backup and restore solution helps to reduce the total cost of lost productivity for enterprise users in remote office / branch office scenarios by more than 95% as compared to the use of traditional, on-premises approaches.

Note that this approach to a quantitative analysis isn’t about calculating an overly precise, fixed-point value — it’s about providing a range of possible values, along with the corresponding likelihood of occurrence. This is generally known as an exceedance curve, i.e., 50% likely to exceed $2.5M per year,10% likely to exceed $20M per year, and any number of points in between.

This kind of insight is much more helpful for making a well-informed business decision about whether the status quo approach to data backup and restore is acceptable, and whether an investment in a cloud-based data backup and restore solution is worthwhile. Is a 10% likelihood of exceeding $20M acceptable? The answer depends on each organization’s appetite for risk — for two identical organizations, one may decide to accept the risk of the status quo, while the other may decide that the risk is unacceptably high and make the investment.

For what it’s worth, my own decision would be a definite “yes.”

To read the full research report, see The Value of Cloud Data Protection for Remote Office / Branch Office. You can also check out this on-demand webinar featuring Druva and Aberdeen to learn more about this topic.

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