Dropbox Invokes 'Use It Or Lose It' To Save Money

Image: Dropbox

Every IT admin knows the pain of having unused user accounts lingering around. But when you run a global cloud storage business, unused accounts can be a pain in the butt. For Dropbox, which is preparing to go public and is facing stiff competition from Microsoft, Google, Apple and others, the need to better manage infrastructure costs is particularly acute. In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Dropbox has said they've been able to save over US$35M in infrastructure costs. One of the things they did was delete data from inactive users.

The company said

Specifically, we closed the accounts of certain Basic users who had not engaged in any activity on the Dropbox platform in the last year and did not respond to multiple e-mail inquiries from us regarding their inactivity. We continue to regularly take similar measures to manage long-inactive and non-responsive Basic user accounts

In other words, "use it or lose it".

Dropbox originally launched on AWS but have shifted to their own data centres and local points of presence to improve performance. Now that they have to manage all the storage themselves, it makes sense to get rid of any detritus that is costing them money to store and manage.

While the removal of unused data is a good idea, enterprises should be careful if they're thinking of the same tactic. Look for opportunities to move data to lower cost storage options, rather than deleting - particularly if you are unsure as to exactly what data you're holding.


    If your company is about to go public it might be unwise to highlight that you have so many inactive users that you saved $35m by getting rid of some of them.

    I don’t know a single person who uses Dropbox as their cloud storage service, but best of luck with their IPO.

      It's interesting that Dropbox pretty much created this market but they are struggling to keep pace with the larger, and better resourced, companies like Google and Microsoft. From what I can tell and chatting to their management, they don't see storage as their big thing - that's now a commodity product that we can buy from almost anywhere. They see collaboration as the big opportunity which is why they've invested heavily in Paper and bolstering their APIs. But whether that's enough to stay competitive remains to be seen.

        There where a number of things about dropbox that put the nails in the coffin for our workplace, we liked there tools due to how idiotproof theh where.

        Firstly they killed xp support, which meant about half the computers we had at the time could no longer use there service.

        Next, there where very few storage size options, lets say we wanted more than 1TB, before they had the business accounts, that was it. Now that there are other options to go from 1TB to 2, requires paying 3 times as much,

        If they had been willing to stay with storage we would have been more than happy to stay with them,

        We now use sync, which is clunkier in how it shows files have updated, but there pricing structure is much more linear.

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