Choosing Between Storage-based and Unlimited Storage for Cloud Data Backup

When deciding on your preferred method of backup and recovery for your cloud-stored information, you will inevitably be faced with the choice between storage-based and unlimited storage options.  Below, you will learn about each option so you can make an informed decision about your backup and recovery solution.

The storage-based pricing structure

Storage-based plans require you to pay for a limited amount of storage space.  If you choose this type, you usually determine an appropriate amount of storage for your organization’s current circumstances, knowing that you can buy an additional chunk of storage as your company expands.  Small-to-medium-sized companies occasionally select this route as a short-term cost-saving measure, preferring a “pay-as-you-go” system for their data management.  Proponents of this option claim that it reduces capital expenses since you pay for only the storage amount you immediately need.

However, while a storage-based plan may provide some short-term cost savings, this approach can actually cost far more than an unlimited storage plan in the long run.  Data doesn’t shrink, and the volume of information you store will only increase as your business grows. Even if you need just a small amount of additional storage, most storage-based backup providers require enterprise users to purchase an entire terabyte at a time, minimizing any expected cost savings.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to the storage-based system is the hassle you will have to go through to get more space, or else remove old data to make room for new, when your company nears its storage limit.  Here’s the typical process that follows:

  1. A notification email is sent by your storage provider to alert you that space is about to run out.
  2. You must quickly determine if you wish to buy more storage or eliminate some of your data to make room for new information.
  3. Should you choose to delete existing data, you must have every user in the domain sift through all of their data: emails, documents, even trash, to determine what can be permanently deleted to make more room.  Imagine the productivity loss!
  4. If you choose to purchase more storage, you should prepare to re-budget and expend administrative effort to complete the transaction.


The unlimited data storage plan

Of course, if you want to skip over all of this, you may instead invest in an unlimited data storage plan for your backup solution.  Selecting this option ensures that all of your data is stored and easily available for recovery.  No time wasted sifting through data, piece by piece, to determine what should be kept or deleted.  All of your information, no matter how much, stored in one convenient location at one consistent price.

The major advantages of this option are long-term cost savings and convenience.  Enterprise level customers, with thousands of end users and constant or unpredictable data growth, often find this scheme to be an unquestionable benefit to their businesses.  Research supports this trend and the wisdom of unlimited data storage: According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) we will have produced up to 40 Zettabytes (that’s 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Bytes!) of data by 2020.  The same study revealed that most businesses experience between 40-60% growth in data volume annually.  At that rate, unlimited data storage seems like a steal compared to a pay-as-you-go plan.  Eventually, the capital it takes to continuously monitor, manage, and acquire more storage will outpace the cost of holding an unlimited storage account.  Unlike the storage-based model, which requires constant administrative attention, the unlimited option is one that businesses can “set and forget.”  Thus, an unlimited plan reduces business expenses both in terms of administrative resources and total cost of data storage over time.

Adding to the long-term benefits of an unlimited storage package for your data backup is the ability to more easily and predictably plan your company finances. With an unlimited plan, you know the exact cost of adding each user and are thus able to budget appropriately.  Furthermore, no matter how much data each user produces, the price is the same per user.  This is a huge advantage, as you can rarely predict how much data each user will consume.  For example, an art director may need to store colossal image files during major design initiatives.  With an unlimited plan, file sizes and data volume fluctuations don’t matter.  With a storage-based system, you would have to closely manage these issues.  An unlimited storage plan for your backup and recovery ensures that all users’ data is protected, no matter how much they produce.

Correspondingly, a good backup and recovery solution will keep every version of saved data so that you can restore whichever version you require.  This results in higher storage usage, but gives you the confidence that all of your data is protected, not just the latest version.

Based on these benefits of unlimited storage plans, it is easy to see that this method of data management is a more simple, convenient, and cost effective option than a storage-based pricing structure.  With unlimited backup and recovery, you can be confident that all of your business-critical data will always be fully protected, and that you can eliminate the stress and costs associated with monitoring, managing and acquiring additional storage.

Want to get started?
Start backing up Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and Saleforce.

Request a Demo