Backing up data is incredibly important and something that is relevant to the majority of businesses, especially those industries which rely heavily on data, such as finance, retail, healthcare, public sector and much more. We have all been reminded of the importance of saving our work as we go – or else risk suddenly finding ourselves losing valuable information (and time). Think of that important PowerPoint presentation you had worked on for hours before your PC crashed – and you realised you had not saved your progress. Backup is exactly the same, and often companies forget this until the worst happens.

Given how crucial backups are in an economy where data is the new gold, it is alarming that the technology and infrastructure which many businesses use to support reliable and secure backups is out of date, which poses significant risks to business continuity. To contextualise this, in the UK alone, the business cost of data loss is about £10.5 billion a year (as of 2014), and with more data produced every year, this cost is only going to go up.

Traditionally, backups have been done to tape – which, while cheap, is less efficient and reliable than modern storage technologies – and runs the risk of degrading over time. The often-quoted lifespan for LTO tape is approximately 30 years. Backing up to the disk and to the cloud is the modern way. Supportive infrastructure like networking capabilities means that it now makes more sense in terms of cost, reliability, efficiency and scalability.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Realising the benefits of OPEX models than CAPEX means businesses get a better ROI” hashtags=”ROI, OPEX”]

We have reached a point in our digitalisation journey where IT solutions such as backup cannot be made primarily on the basis of picking the “cheapest” option that will do the job. It can be easy to just look at the CAPEX associated with storage infrastructure, particularly in backup, but a number of factors have changed in the storage landscape. It is increasingly important to examine the OPEX. The cloud, for example, can have a lower running cost over time, and a far greater lifespan. Realising the benefits of OPEX models rather than CAPEX also means that businesses get a better return on investment and pay for the services that they actually use rather than an upfront fee which is often wasted.

However, from an IT department perspective, these services can create what is known as “shadow IT” – systems set up away from the IT function. This is an important consideration and does not necessarily need to be the case. It is vital to consolidate these services and manage all services in the same way so that they can be backed up efficiently and easily. Without consolidation, they may not be backed up at all, creating huge potential risks. This process might not happen otherwise, as those systems are not part of the organisation’s existing infrastructure and are, therefore, not managed in the same way and possibly not backed up at all. This is where a universal data management solution, spanning your entire storage environment (including backups) becomes so important, holistically unifying your data landscape, and helping your business become flexible, scalable and cost-efficient.

In summary, backup to the cloud and to disk is more cost-effective, more reliable and faster than the traditional methods.

NetApp’s Auto Support software solutions mean that businesses that are licensed to use services such as SnapMirror and SnapVault, but are not actively using them and realising the benefits of them, can be identified.

This means that NetApp can offer them services such as Backup as a Service (BaaS), AltaVault and other software solutions which can maximise their investment and improve their IT. This enables both NetApp and its partners to proactively help customers manage their IT provision; update, upgrade and improve their infrastructure; and reap the benefits of a more cost-effective solution.

NetApp’s BaaS solution is now being rolled out to customers by its trusted partners Daisy and Node4.

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Laurence James, Products, Alliances and Solutions Marketing Manager, NetApp NEMEA Laurence is responsible for driving market awareness for NetApp’s products across Northern EMEA. Working closely with the EMEA Product, Alliances and Solutions Marketing team, his focus is on business growth and aligning NetApp’s offerings with customer and market needs. Laurence works across all of NetApp’s product areas, and has an in-depth understanding of diverse customer requirements to deliver value across the entire range of the product suite. Leading the marketing activities, Laurence is responsible for ensuring that NetApp’s offering is market-leading, of the highest standard and guarantees customer ROI. Working with a dedicated and experienced team, he assists in developing and implementing marketing campaigns that support the positioning of NetApp’s products and its reputation. Laurence has many years’ experience working with all aspects of Enterprise IT and held roles at Oracle, Sun Microsystems and StorageTek.