Paying a Ransom for your Data; it’s not just Cyber-Criminals
Many companies that store content in cloud-based archives are stunned by their cloud vendor’s one-way attitudes - it’s free to move huge amounts of data into their cloud-based archives, however, it’s another story when you want to move it out again.
Whether you need to export a large data set in response to an eDiscovery request, or, heaven forbid, you’ve grown dissatisfied with the cloud vendor and want to move your data somewhere else, the cost to extract your data skyrockets, and in many cases, to ridiculous levels.
Paying to get your data back, isn’t that …?
We’ve had customers tell us horror stories of being told it would cost between $7 and $50 per GB to extract their data out of a cloud archive. Why, as a customer with a relatively small 100 TB archive, would you pay between $700,000 and $5 million just to get YOUR data out of a cloud archive? And that’s on the low side—some cloud archive vendors charge even more.
In fact, some cloud archive vendors are forcing customers to pay, what I can only describe as a ransom, just to get their data back out of a proprietary system. These vendors are basically holding their customer’s data hostage and preventing them from leaving. And the higher the ransom, the higher the probability the customer can’t afford to leave.
It would be like buying an already expensive airline ticket to Hawaii, taking off, spending 8 hours in the air with terrible service, landing, and then being told by the captain that to actually depart the plane and start your vacation, you would have to pay a “departure fee” equal to 20 times the cost of you original ticket price. And oh, by the way, if you didn’t pay the fee and depart right away, you would be charged rent equal to the price of the ticket every month! It’s ridiculous.
Another tactic some cloud archiving vendors use to discourage customers from leaving is to throttle the outbound data bandwidth way down so that it can take years for large customers to get completely out. Staying with the Hawaiian vacation example, this would be like the captain only allowing one passenger per week to depart the plane (starting at the front) after it had landed—and you’re sitting way back in row 46, still having to pay a seat rental fee! Wow, what a nice business, assuming you can stand to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning?
Read the Ts & Cs
Question: Why did these cloud archiving customers agree to these exorbitant data extraction fees under the terms of the contract?
I have asked several customers this question, and their responses fell into two buckets. The first being, they were driven by financial regulatory requirements, and at the time, many of these cloud archiving vendors who claimed they met financial regulatory requirements were all priced comparatively with similar types of high extraction fees. Over time new compliance alternatives become available, however, the cost to move was prohibitive. The second reason was simpler—they simply didn’t pay attention to the pricing structure included in their contract.
The Devil is in the detail
In today’s environment, companies have many more cloud archiving solutions to choose from. The keys to keep in mind are: (1) to know what your archiving requirements are over the long term, (2) don’t lock yourself into a vendor with unreasonable terms, and (3) fully understand what it will cost to leave the vendor.
Archive360 and Microsoft
Archive2Azure is the industry’s first managed cloud archive specifically designed for long-term archiving of compliance data on the Microsoft Azure Platform. Archive2Azure enables organizations to consolidate unstructured, low-touch data while lowering the cost for archival cloud storage. This includes legacy email archives, journal folders, inactive or departed employee work files, free range PSTs, file share content, backups, system generated data, and eDiscovery/compliance data. With infinite scalability, Archive2Azure delivers long-term, secure compliance retention and management at a great price.
And most importantly, Archive2Azure always stores archived content in its original (native) format, and NEVER charges to export data.
About Bill Tolson
Bill is the Vice President of Global Compliance for Archive360. Bill brings more than 29 years of experience with multinational corporations and technology start-ups, including 19-plus years in the archiving, information governance, and eDiscovery markets. Bill is a frequent speaker at legal and information governance industry events and has authored numerous eBooks, articles and blogs.