Zombie uprisings, bat swarms, and creaky door hinges may haunt your nightmares around Halloween season. The thought of a migration project gone awry? That's a scary prospect for IT service providers year-round.
While a transition to the cloud may seem easy in theory, migrations are far more difficult and detailed than many think. The reality? Moving to the cloud is a time-consuming, highly technical process that is often executed poorly.
Regardless of organization headcount or size of migration, there are several planning and pre-migration steps businesses can take to ensure a smooth transition. Here they are:
1. Take it One Step at a Time
Chances are high businesses are moving more than just email to the cloud. Public folders, archives, and documents are all coming over, too. Focusing on one workload at a time can help simplify the migration process, ensure all data is transitioned seamlessly, and easily identify errors post-migration.
2. Identify Dependencies
Today’s infrastructure is tightly woven together through integrations between email servers, CRMs, cloud directories, and more. When migrating to the cloud, consider where interdependencies exist within the network, and be ready to reconfigure those to point towards new systems post-migration.
3. Consider Cloud Hybrid Accessibility
Hybrid environments becoming the norm, not the exception. As organizations move away from on-premises, the once-simple login process for employees to access connected systems becomes more complicated. Consider making this easier for employees by creating a single master login for applications housed on different parts of the infrastructure, while also ensuring all locations sync with one another.
4. Keep Compliance Top of Mind
Compliance never ceases and security is a large barrier for many organizations when it comes to migrations. From HIPAA to FERPA, consider the entire process of the migration and ensure each step abides by preestablished legal rules and other guidelines.
5. Save or Clean Up Archives and Legacy Systems
Migrating to the cloud is a good opportunity for businesses to clean out archives, decommission legacy systems, and generally clean up infrastructure. While some documents’ use has expired, audit and/or other legal policies may require archives be kept for certain durations and thus moved to the cloud. At the same time, many businesses archive data that’s not necessary to keep. Follow and understand these policies before the move to ensure the necessary documents shift to the cloud.
6. Select the Proper Cloud Provider
Between evolving business needs, hybrid environments, and larger shifts like M&A activity, it’s important data flows seamlessly from one environment to another. Different providers offer different benefits: consider what makes sense for the business, factoring in longevity, scalability, cost, integrations, location/latency, and security. Hybrid environments offer good bargaining leverage for organizations, so take advantage of it.
7. Plan, Test, and Plan Some More
There’s a strong correlation between smooth migrations and planning. Define what will be moved, when it will be moved, and notify the proper people who will be impacted by or involved with the migration. Have reasonable expectations about how long it will take to complete and set those expectations with employees, especially if any downtime is expected. Test a single instance of the migration to identify any errors early in the process; if errors are found, adjust before the actual migration project begins.
8. Expect Post-Migration Cleanup
Regardless of how smooth the transition is, there’s always some amount of reorganization that’s required post-migration. Whether it’s missing documents, misconfigured accounts, or integration errors with other systems, read migration reports and identify what is missing from the final destination to make reconfiguring as quick as possible.
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