Recognized as one of the greatest technological advances in years, cloud storage is promoted as one of the safest ways to manage digital files.
Worldwide, consumers have moved data to the cloud to make room on a computer, for easier transfer of content or in case of disaster. But what if the disaster isn’t a hurricane or fire – what if it’s your cloud storage or backup service shutting down?
What Happens Next. . . .
Storage amounts, rates, storage and policies aren’t the only variances between cloud providers; shutdowns were handled differently across the board, just take a look at how Symantec, Nirvanix and Ubuntu One each handled the situation.
First to close was Symantec, announcing in February 2012 that subscription sales and renewals would stop as of January 2014. Customers could access the service until the end of their annual subscriptions. Multi-year subscribers will receive refund information — all data must be moved before the official end on January 6, 2015.
Ubuntu One publicized it’s closing via blog post in April of this year. Customers were contacted individually with instructions and advice on how to download and transfer their files. Content stored on its servers is available until the July 31, 2014. After that, all stored data will be deleted. Unused fees from active subscriptions will be refunded.
Two weeks before it closed, Nirvanix, surprised users with news of its shutdown. Storage replication was disabled and the company would not provide information about refunds or what would happen to data if it wasn’t moved out time.
Clients had to scramble, but there were no reports of any lost data.
The closing of these companies proves there is no concrete answer to what happens when it comes to a shut down. There aren’t any rules, laws or even guidelines that companies have to follow–it’s the wild west.
So if your cloud service closes, it depends on that individual service how much notice they’ll give you, what will happen to your data and if a refund is in order or not.
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It’s important to note there is one consistency that applies here: currently, there’s no way for a cloud storage service provider to directly migrate customer data to another provider. Were you a subscriber of a cloud service that closed down? How was your experience?