As part of my exploration into what businesses can plan for with regard to the new storage restrictions, I spoke at length to Google's PR organization. As you can read in my original article on this subject, Google stated that Enterprise plan users will have access to unlimited storage.
Here's one statement from Google PR: "If a customer requires as much storage as they need, they can upgrade the domain (all users) to Enterprise."
So, the obvious question becomes, "What are the enterprise plans and what do they offer?"
I took a couple of runs at getting definitive answers. Here's how that turned out.
Contact Sales (or not)
My first step was the easiest (and the least fruitful). I went to Google's Workspace pricing page. Since there are no prices published for Enterprise, I clicked the Contact Sales button and filled out my information. It's been more than three weeks now, and Sales has never contacted me back (and yes, I did check my spam filters).
TechRepublic: How to choose a Google Workspace plan
To give the benefit of the doubt, I admit it is possible they called and I didn't respond, because I don't answer calls from unspecified numbers, but I would have assumed a message would have been left for a sales opportunity.
Looking for love (or at least pricing) in the admin dashboard
Next, I went into my own Google G Suite / Workspace dashboard. A number of readers insisted that there are $20/mo and $30/mo Enterprise plans that offer unlimited storage, so I wanted to see if attempting to upgrade my own plan would shed light on the Workspace options.
In my admin dashboard were options to upgrade to either Google Workspace Enterprise Standard or Google Workspace Enterprise Plus. Here's the upgrade option for $20/per seat:
Since there is nothing described about what the upgrade gets you, I looked in the terms and conditions document linked to in the small print. Nothing.
If you start over and click Enterprise Plus, there is more information provided:
What's frustrating, though, is if you click the View Detailed Comparison link, thinking you might see a detailed comparison about the differences between the two Enterprise Plans you're currently interacting with, you're instead shown a comparison of the Workspace Business plans:
So that's no help.
Clicking Get Started (and remember, we're on the Enterprise Plus plan now) takes you to a checkout page, still with no details about what's in each plan, but indicating $30 per seat per month, instead of $20 for Standard.
So let's go back to the main pricing page
As we saw, the main pricing page does in fact list the Enterprise option. But it just lists it as "Enterprise" and not Enterprise Standard and Plus. However, if you scroll down, you can expand the features offered and look! There it is!
For "Drive Secure cloud storage" the item lists "As much as you need." It's not, strictly speaking, unlimited storage as it was previously written. But, presumably if you have 27TB stored and each backup adds more data, you'd be allowed to store 30 or 40TB as you need. There wasn't even an asterisk or superscripted number indicating small print.
Just "As much as you need."
That's great, right? Last month, Google told us, "There is no minimum number of users for any of our plans." So, presumably, that means that you could just sign up one Enterprise user for $20 month and get unlimited storage, or at least as much as you need.
Google marketing giveth, Google PR taketh away
Because businesses need to rely on these policies to make far-reaching and long-term decisions that are difficult to extricate from, I reached out again to Google for clarification.
So, I asked: "My readers are telling me that the enterprise plan is available for as little as one user for either $20 or $30 per month, per user. They say that the $30 plan supports unlimited storage. Is that correct? I did use the 'Contact sales' option on the price sheet and it's been weeks without anyone getting back to me. So I'd like you to confirm those prices."
I got back two statements. First:
For Enterprise Standard and Plus editions, we will provide these customers with as much storage as they need without additional costs. See specifics on our enterprise editions here.
Oddly enough, you need to be logged in as a G Suite or Workspace administrator to be able to read the comparison. Briefly, in addition to everything in the Enterprise Standard edition, the Plus edition allows you to choose your geographic storage location, provides additional reporting, better email security (malware detection), and connected Sheets documents.
But the weird thing was pricing. As you can see in the screenshots above, there is pricing quoted when you select Upgrade from your G Suite Business plan. And yet, this is what Google says:
We're not providing enterprise pricing. We're aligning to how larger corporations expect to work with partners like Google to get them the right solution. This often requires a more custom engagement - for larger customers we offer assistance to fine tune what they need from us, including help navigating the migration from legacy systems and mapping out rollout, adoption and integration strategies.
So, there's that.
I also dove back into the unlimited storage issue, with this question: "Can you also confirm that unlimited storage isn't going away for enterprise customers and small businesses with just a few seats will be able to count on being able to use the enterprise plan?"
Note that the first part of the question, about whether or not you can count on the ongoing availability of unlimited storage, was never answered. But the seat count is the same as it was for the old G Suite Business plan:
Enterprise customers will be able to request as much storage as they need. There is a five seat minimum with Enterprise editions to qualify for additional storage requests.
What's it all mean?
Let's recap what we know. If you were a G Suite Business customer with unlimited storage, you were paying at least $60 per month to meet the five seat threshold. Your equivalent options now are:
- Pay $60 per month for a total of 10TB of storage on Business Standard (that's five $12/mo seats with 2TB per seat)
- Pay $90 per month for a total of 25TB of storage on Business Plus (that's five $18/mo seats with 5TB per seat)
- Pay $100 per month for a total of "as much as you need" storage on Enterprise Standard (that's five $20/mo seats with "as much as you need" storage).
The Business plans are straightforward, if downgrades from what G Suite customers used. There are some issues for potential Enterprise upgraders:
- While you are not required to buy five seats for Enterprise Standard, you won't get "as much as you need" storage until you have five seats.
- You apparently have to request more storage. It's not clear what kind of hoops you'll need to jump through to get "as much as you need" or whether Google will devalue some uses (like video backups) as "not needed."
- It's also not clear how long the delay will be from making a request for more storage to it being applied to your account.
- It is not clear you can count on "as much as you need" always being an available option. That question was pointedly left unanswered by Google PR.
- Finally, while the dashboard quotes $20 and $30 per month, Google PR went out of their way to say they would not confirm those prices. So what you will get charged and how long that price will remain available is also unclear.
It shouldn't be this way. Last week, Google sent a message to its consumer users entitled "Important policy changes for Google Account storage" which provided very clear guidance on storage changes and deadlines. Nothing like this has been provided for business customers.
As for what you should do, it does depend on how much storage you need, along with how many seats. Is it more cost effective to do a major data migration, or pay almost double for just about the same services, but not need to migrate?
It's clear that Google is unwilling to commit to either "as much as you need" storage availability or price point for any long term period, so your cloud storage plans need to include contingency options for if/when Google changes its mind again.
Is that the most confidence-inducing way for Google to conduct business with its business customers? Of course not. Will they improve? Check back in a year or two and we'll see.
How are you doing with the G Suite to Workspace transition? Let us know in the comments below.
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