Unlimited cloud storage plans are becoming extinct – What’s next for businesses?


By Rex Huang, Senior Manager, Application Group, Synology

Dropbox’s recent move to discontinue its unlimited cloud storage plan is part of an industry-wide trend. For years, cloud storage providers have offered unlimited storage plans targeted at businesses. However, the economics of such offerings are proving unsustainable, leading companies to phase out unlimited storage plans.

This shift began with Google in 2021, as they phased out free storage for Google Photos users and ended unlimited storage plans for Google Workspace. Microsoft and Dropbox followed suit in 2023, reflecting the difficulty of maintaining unlimited storage offers. The repercussions of these changes leave users reassessing their choice of public cloud storage.

Today, over 60% of corporate data resides in the cloud, with 94% of global companies using cloud storage (GoodFirms, 2023), of which nearly half of the data stored in the cloud is sensitive data, including employee and customer data, corporate finances, and intellectual property. As data volumes continue to rise, cloud storage spending is predicted to increase by 13% by 2026, reaching $135.1 billion (IDC, 2023).

As data volumes continue to skyrocket, providing unlimited space has become increasingly challenging for companies. Google pointed out the need to accommodate the burgeoning demand for storage, while Dropbox cited misuse of their service as a driving factor to end the Dropbox Advanced offer, which they intended for business operations and not for personal storage.

Switching your cloud infrastructure can come with a hefty price tag. Companies might find themselves grappling with the expenses associated with seeking alternative solutions that some have described as a poor return on their cloud investments. These transitions often entail high conversion costs as users seek alternative solutions, potentially leading to downtime and operational disruptions. While public cloud storage is convenient, it may not always be the optimal choice for storing critical business data due to the limited control it offers over the server.

In contrast, private cloud storage solutions offer a compelling alternative to unlimited cloud storage plans. Unlike public cloud solutions, where users rely on third-party servers, private cloud storage solutions operate within dedicated file servers through a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. This self-contained infrastructure supports flexible storage scalability, enabling businesses to adjust their capacity to match their evolving needs. Private clouds can also integrate hybrid setups, striking a healthy balance between the benefits of public and private clouds to enhance resource management efficiency. Data privacy and security are also enhanced as businesses gain more control over their servers, contrary to public cloud storage.

Beyond complete data ownership, some private cloud storage solutions, like Synology Drive, offer additional features like license-free productivity tools that enable a seamless workflow and wide file format support to streamline collaboration with external agents. This makes them a practical choice for businesses looking for a comprehensive storage solution combining security and full control that can be achieved through a one-time NAS investment.

With the downward trend of unlimited storage plans, it is likely that other public cloud services will soon follow in their steps. In the face of the evolving cloud landscape, on-premise private cloud storage solutions present a more viable option for businesses. This allows businesses to continue growing in a stable cloud environment without facing the cost and disruption associated with migrating services due to changes to their storage pricing plans.

#UnlimitedCloudStorage #UnlimitedSpace

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