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Information Migration in an Enterprise Context

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What is Information Migration and its Significance for Businesses?

In an enterprise context, information migration involves both technical and business process challenges, as well as opportunities to consolidate data in the target environment. Ultimately, the success of data migration depends on how effectively the IT department can ensure a seamless transfer while meeting business objectives.

Challenges and Objectives in Business Data Migration

For businesses, regardless of size, data migration is a mission-critical activity that requires the active involvement of the IT team. The three key focus areas in most enterprise data migration projects are:

  1. Safeguarding the sensitivity of business information during data transfer.
  2. Facilitating a seamless transition for end-users (employees) from the source to the target environment.
  3. Meeting project deadlines (not applicable in all cases).

To ensure a successful data migration, businesses should:

  • Conduct a comprehensive pre-migration assessment to understand the scope of work.
  • Identify challenges and loopholes and find appropriate solutions.
  • Create a project roadmap with a timeline that sets realistic expectations.
  • Update all incremental changes made during the migration through a delta migration process.
  • Have a well-defined onboarding plan for end-users in the target environment.

Why Do Businesses Need to Migrate Data?

The need to move business data from one environment to another can arise due to various reasons, such as cost savings, mergers/acquisitions, or the desire to restructure and consolidate internal processes. Many businesses share common motivations for migrating from on-premises or local storage to the cloud, as well as for cloud-to-cloud migration. These reasons include:

From On-Premises/Local Storage to the Cloud:

  • Embracing online/cloud collaboration: For many businesses, the primary reason to move to a cloud suite is to enhance operational efficiency through cloud collaboration.
  • Reducing operational costs: Aging on-premises/local storage systems can become expensive to maintain, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Moving to the cloud helps lower overall operating costs.
  • Improving data security: Enhancing data consolidation and overall information security is a significant driver for businesses of all sizes to migrate to the cloud.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: During mergers or acquisitions, businesses may need to migrate data to a specific cloud suite, either for the new entity or as required by the acquiring company.
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From One Cloud to Another:

  • Lower/cost-effective pricing model: A more affordable pricing model offered by another cloud service provider can entice businesses to switch from their current cloud storage solution.
  • Improved security: Optimal cloud data security is an ongoing challenge. Businesses may choose to migrate to another cloud suite that offers better security features to safeguard their data.
  • Additional or better features: The features offered by a cloud suite directly impact online collaboration among end-users. Enhanced collaboration leads to increased productivity and operational efficiency.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: Migrating data from one cloud to another is often necessary during mergers and acquisitions. The involved parties may decide to utilize one existing cloud environment or adopt a new cloud suite as part of the transition.

Challenges in Migrating Enterprise Data

While enterprise data migration presents numerous opportunities for improving internal processes and business outcomes, it also comes with several challenges. Here are some common data migration challenges businesses face:

  • Assessing which data should be migrated: IT teams must determine whether to migrate the entire company’s data or selectively migrate only essential information. Not all data may require migration, and letting go of static or outdated data can help reduce migration time and cost.
  • Migrating data with metadata and permissions: Migrating company data while retaining metadata, sharing permissions, external shares, in-line comments, versions, and embedded links can complicate the migration process. IT teams must ensure the continuity of collaboration structures in the target environment.
  • Migrating source environment-specific files: Some businesses may need to migrate proprietary files from the source environment along with crucial data. However, certain limitations, such as unsupported file formats, may arise when migrating between specific platforms.
  • Ensuring high-level data transfer security: Achieving optimal security during enterprise data migration poses challenges in both local and online transfer methods. IT teams must establish a highly secure data transfer infrastructure for local migration. In online transfer, they must ensure the networks used are highly secure.
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The Role of Third-Party Data Migration Service Providers

Migrating several hundred terabytes or even petabytes of company data, including permissions, metadata, and other features, while preserving the file/folder structure and user hierarchy is beyond the scope of IT teams. Therefore, businesses need to leverage migration tools provided by third-party service providers to meet comprehensive migration requirements.

Third-party data migration service providers play a crucial role in assisting businesses with their migration needs by offering dedicated migration tools. These tools, such as CloudFuze, utilize APIs from the source and target cloud environments to securely read and write data.

The capabilities of third-party tools to migrate data, including metadata and permissions, without any downtime, make them essential for mission-critical enterprise data migration.

Businesses also have the option to use migration tools offered by cloud service providers, such as the SharePoint Migration Tool from Microsoft. However, these tools come with limitations, such as supporting only specific cloud combinations, limited transfer speed, and restricted functionalities. They are more suitable for simple data dump projects.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice.

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