So you’ve made the decision to migrate to the cloud. How do you do it? Moving to the cloud isn’t something your enterprise can do overnight. It takes time to bring everything from one environment to the other, and unless you have a cloud migration strategy, you might create potentially costly problems. The team at Myspace learned that the hard way recently when a server migration led to the loss of 12 years’ worth of music stored on the site.
These issues can cause major damage to your company. However, with careful and strategic planning, they can be avoided. Before you jump headfirst into the cloud and start moving your information there, your enterprise should set a cloud migration strategy in motion first. Creating that strategy might seem daunting at first, but if you follow these four steps, you’ll be much more prepared to shift your business to the cloud.
Step 1: Create a cloud migration checklist
First things first – you need to know everything you’ll need to migrate your data to the cloud. This encompasses both the data you’ll be transferring (and where it’s currently stored) and any tools you need to migrate it. A checklist helps you understand the migration process before you begin so you aren’t migrating data blindly. With a checklist in place, your team will know what they need in order to start migrating. Tools like managed service providers (MSPs) or cloud management platforms (CMPs) may be used to help migrate your information. If they are, your team needs to know ahead of time.
Another important point: make sure the whole team knows about this checklist. The worst thing you can do is keep a part of your migration plan hidden from a team member. Migration often requires everybody on your IT team and other departments to do their part, so they need to know everything they need.
Step 2: Estimate your migration time and expenses
Cloud migration will take a lot of resources, and two you definitely want to estimate are time and cost. With the huge amount of data enterprises use and create, full migration isn’t something that happens instantly. A cloud MSP can help you plan out a cloud migration step by step, plotting out a timeline for your migration. This will give your enterprise an idea of the length of time your migration will take as well as an overview of each step. When you have an estimated timeframe, you can also anticipate the cost of the migration. This shouldn’t just factor in the cost of using your cloud provider of choice. You should also estimate what it will cost to have your team focus on the migration – what other work will be put on hold during the migration, for example.
Step 3: Plan your cloud migration in stages
Your cloud migration should not be to move everything to the cloud at once. This cloud migration strategy will most likely crash and burn if you implement it. Instead, plan to move your data over in manageable chunks so you can iron out any flaws in the strategy before you fully transfer everything. Two good migration strategies are:
- Start small, then get bigger. The first piece of data you migrate shouldn’t be too large – if you end up losing the files, you don’t want to lose too many. (Always have a backup of data you plan to migrate before you transfer it!)
- Send non-crucial files first. If you have data that’s business-critical or contains sensitive information, don’t migrate it until you get a hang of the migration process. This is especially true if you have data that needs to comply with regulations (like HIPAA, for example). If you’re inexperienced at data migration, that data could be lost or transferred somewhere it shouldn’t be – something your business wants to avoid.
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