SugarSync, others herald the demise of free storage options

Storage has become an essential asset in both the consumer environment and the workplace as people become more reliant on their data for their everyday tasks. Users need to be able to access their documents and important files on a regular basis from virtually anywhere and this demand is quickly increasing. Many providers have responded by offering free or low-cost storage space to their subscribers, but this effort is quickly becoming infeasible and many of these inexpensive products are quickly vanishing. Organizations like SugarSync are getting rid of their free options, leaving some clients to search for other viable storage means.

SugarSync has long been a popular online solution for storage space, but it will soon begin a paid-only delivery model, effectively removing a service for many users. TechCrunch noted that current account holders with the free plan will still be able to access their documents for a certain amount of time and will be given up to a 75 percent discount for their storage space. The move stands as a play by the provider to strengthen its game and create a solid financial position for further growth in the near future.

"There are many companies in this space that are giving away free storage, however, most of these companies will not be viable. We are already in a solid financial position and this shift will further strengthen our business," SugarSync CEO Mike Grossman told TechCrunch.

The free tier will close on Feb. 8, and users can sign up for trials before having to pay for their subscription. The lowest tier now stands at nearly $75 a year for 60GB of space, which could help with backup and syncing needs, but for many organizations, this option will run out of room quickly, according to Engadget. However, opting for on-site, disc-based data archiving solutions will be more inexpensive and reliable in the long run and will allow owners to use the hardware as much as they want for writing and re-writing their essential information. Many of these solutions will also provide more space at a more cost-effective price. As the free tiers of many organizations continue to be closed, it will be important for businesses and other users to consider other storage options.

The danger of the free tier
Free tiers look to be so enticing for many people, especially when they're on a strict budget or only need to store a few items. However, there are several providers that are closing their free options, making it necessary to look for additional possibilities. In many cases, free solutions do not provide the security that many users will need to protect their critical assets. Because the organization does not receive any payment from the free segment, it's making them less likely to save the option or to keep the subscribers in this tier happy. CITEWorld contributor Nancy Gohring noted that providers like LogMeIn and YouSendIt are also changing their storage options, making their constituents pay for their services. While LogMeIn is following the path of SugarSync, YouSendIt got rid of its middle pricing tier, meaning that users will either have to settle for very little space at no cost or pay for unlimited storage. In each case, there has been significant backlash from the subscribers, but the providers maintain these moves as a business advancement. With all of these changes, using a free solution has become riskier as more vendors close down their systems to enforce more a substantial revenue flow.

As more online storage vendors close down their cheap or free options, people can invest in high-quality physical drives to back up hosted data. With a reliable archiving tool in place, users can rest easy knowing their critical files will be readily available in the event that their cloud vendor abruptly puts a stop to service delivery.

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