Unlimited Storage for Higher Ed is Over – 3 Steps to Get Ready for the M365 Education Update


Cloud storage usage has surged in recent years, leading vendors to adjust their pricing models and say “goodbye” to unlimited storage. Higher education institutions, in particular, have been significantly impacted by a shift from unlimited storage offerings to pooled storage models. Box and Dropbox no longer offer unlimited storage, and Google made headlines when they implemented this change in July 2022, offering a baseline of 100TB of shared storage per institution using Google Workspace for Education.

Following suit, Microsoft announced a similar pooled storage model, which goes into effect on August 1, 2024. Under this model, new Microsoft 365 Education customers and contract renewals after that date will receive 100TB of free pooled storage across Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange, with additional storage allotments per paid user based on their subscription.

While Microsoft claims that the majority of schools – more than 99 percent – are below their storage allotment, Gartner predicts that some larger universities may experience up to a 90 percent reduction in storage capacity.

But even for those schools below the allotment, the message is clear: unlimited cloud storage is a thing of the past. Now is the perfect time for higher education institutions to develop forward-thinking data management strategies that proactively address data sprawl and align with ever-evolving storage constraints.

Before August 1, all M365 Education customers should do an assessment of their current tenant to understand how this update will impact them and identify opportunities to optimize their storage capacity. Here is a three-step recommended plan to get ready for the M365 Education storage limit update and stay agile with your campus data:

  1. Discover Your M365 Education Data
  2. Establish Policies for M365 Education Data Management
  3. Automatically Enforce Policies for Ongoing and Real-Time Data Management

Discover Your M365 Education Data

Microsoft 365 tenant admins can view their current storage usage against their allotment and drill into usage by product (OneDrive, Exchange, or SharePoint). However, optimizing storage requires more than just surface information on overall capacity.

M365 Education Admin Center Storage Report

You can take a deeper dive into your M365 data and users using AI-driven unstructured data discovery,  and uncover insights that make it possible to develop and implement data retention policies, improve data security, and curb data sprawl campus-wide.

With the right tool, for example, you can identify which users frequently access, store, and share active, valuable data and how much of your overall allotment is used for stale, trivial, or obsolete data or inactive users – particularly useful for identifying and managing inactive alumni accounts. Assessing the age and value of your M365 data can help hone in on opportunities to reduce overall storage capacity and ensure you remain well below your institution’s allotment.

DryvIQ Discover - Stale Data Minimization

Establish Policies for M365 Education Data Management

Data is growing at an unprecedented rate, with no signs of slowing down – IDC predicts a 21.2% compound annual growth rate over the next five years. Since the days of unlimited storage are behind us, data management and storage optimization practices should be developed or updated to address this growth with storage limits in mind.

Once you understand your M365 Education data, it’s time to outline clear policies. When it comes to ongoing data management and storage reduction, there are many questions you’ll need to answer, including:

  • How much storage capacity should each student, faculty, and alumni user receive?
  • At what point is data considered “stale?” Is this determined by creation date, last modified date, or a combination of file attributes?
  • How long should data be stored in M365?
  • What is our process for removing stale data?
  • How can continually manage all of this data at scale?

Automatically Enforce Policies for Ongoing and Real-Time Management

With a data management strategy in place, your institution can seamlessly enforce policies through an AI-driven unstructured data management platform. For example, in the case of data reduction, once you’ve defined “stale” data, you can automatically delete data that is no longer active or migrate it to more cost-effective archival storage.

By working with a scalable, automated platform, you can configure the data management tool to continually execute these actions while also providing real-time visibility and comprehensive reporting for an “always on” approach.

Given the current rate of data growth, it’s crucial that your campus’s data governance approach keeps pace.

DryvIQ Automate Policy Actions

Get Ready for the M365 Education Storage Limit Update

Don’t wait until August to start thinking about your M365 Education storage capacity. DryvIQ’s unstructured data experts can help you discover and classify your campus data, then use those insights to create a strategy that optimizes storage utilization, reduces costs, and decreases risk. Contact us today to get started.

See How Indiana University Did It

Working with DryvIQ, Indiana University successfully migrated more than 3PB of data and 140,000 users to Microsoft Office 365 to cut costs after an increase by their previous cloud storage vendor. Read the full case study here.

Krystal Elliott
Krystal Elliott