Are Unlimited Online Backup Plans Sustainable?

Many of you have probably read of Mozy’s recent decision to cancel their unlimited online backup service for consumers. If not here are a few interesting takes on their decision:

Obviously this must have been a very hard decision for Mozy to make. They were the pioneers in the space; providing drop-dead simple backup for consumers by removing the worry of ever running out of space.  For them to pull the plug on the very foundation of the service points to the seriousness and very real nature of the problem they are dealing with; an explosion in data storage.  As one of our prior blog articles mentioned we are fully aware of this too; KeepVault has seen triple digit growth in the last 12 months.  Not only are more people backing up, but more people are backing up a lot more data.

Not Sustainable

Unlimited plans rely on the average consumption of all users being profitable, eg the few users who gobble up lots of storage space will be balanced by users with very little data.  They also factor continuing drops in storage price through economies of scale and a flow of new customers. Many also throttle/restrict upload and download speeds to reduce costs still further.  Profits rely on making pennies per customer, but having millions of customers. Even a small shift in customer behavior can quickly turn those profits into large and growing losses. That’s what seems to have happened to Mozy’s all-you-can-eat data-backup-buffet in the sky.

Back(up) to Reality

Many of Mozy’s competitors in the unlimited backup space have been quick to jump on the news; advertising their own unlimited programs and hoping to lure existing Mozy customers.  Certainly we don’t hold any judgement on them doing this; this is business after all and everyone has to make money.

However, if you’re a consumer and you’ve just seen the largest unlimited backup provider, the pioneer in the space, leave the game shouldn’t you be asking yourself “who’s next to fold?”. Surely if anyone could have made it work it would have been Mozy?  Answer these questions honestly:

  • What am I willing to pay to protect irreplaceable memories and what level of service do I expect in return?
  • Do I really want to re-upload everything to another unlimited provider only to risk them going-under or changing their pricing plans?
  • What is the value of peace-of-mind and stability?
  • How much risk am I willing to take?

Each to Their Own and Maturity

What were your answers? For many of you the pure simplicity of unlimited online backup will outweigh any of the associated risks and service issues. That’s fine; it’s a personal decision after all.  For others we hope you start to weigh your options; did you know that with a little planning you can protect the really important data for just a few $ per month?

We encourage you to read our data protection strategies guide and review our flexible pricing plans (for about $4/month you get 40GB to use across all your devices. Plans go up to 5TB for consumers. Pennies per GB/month!).  Download our free data risk analysis tool to see how much data you have to protect.

  • Consider backing everything up to a local/network hard drive and just the most important files online; this can help to reduce costs and provides you with two levels of protection.

We welcome Mozy’s decision. It shows courage and, we believe, helps move online backup into a more mature and trustworthy position. In the long run, consumers will be better served by profitable online backup providers, happy to protect your data as if it were their own.

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