Moving your data center to the cloud can greatly lessen the burden on your IT staff, your bottom line and your employees. However, this type of move takes a great deal of planning and will probably still have challenges. To keep things going smoothly, the tips below may help.
Location, Location, Location
Carefully consider each move. Understand that there may be information and applications that need to stay in your current data center. However, to avoid outages, you may need to use existing hardware to serve as a backup for items that you plan to keep in-house.
Obsolescence is always a problem when storing your own data. That being said, security concerns can lead to an abundance of caution that may slow the process. If you choose to move data and programs in chunks, consider upgrading existing storage, just to be sure.
Timing Is Key
Moving data is a bit like moving house. If you’re a single person and planning on moving in with your partner, you don’t plan your move and your wedding on the same weekend. If you’re planning out your data center exit, be aware that challenges can come up. Try to move your core of data during a time when
- many folks outside IT are on vacation
- deadlines are light
- IT staff is available
If you support an accounting firm, plan your move on April 25th.
Now is the Time to Upgrade
There may still be data and applications that need to stay on-premise. If you are dealing with the disruption of a move to the cloud, consider upgrading your data center gear. For those moving data off-site but not into the cloud, such upgrades can be fairly simple; set up the new gear and transfer, then decommission the original hardware.
However, replacing existing hardware with new storage tools may take a bit more arranging. Do your best to migrate business-critical applications with plenty of time to test for failures, glitches, and challenges.
Don’t Forget Legacy Items
If you are upgrading software, try to pair your legacy moves with your upgrades once your data is in its new location. Legacy files can be cumbersome, but as soon as you can’t access them, you will need them. This may also be the time to review the format of older legacy files and consider a mass upgrade to more manageable chunks of data.
Upgrade Security First
The data that you put on the cloud can be secured, but this will need to be part of your testing schedule and program. Client data, from current household income to personally identifiable information, is made available so you can grow your business. The responsibility of this data collection practice will remain when you move to the cloud.
Consider hiring a testing company that can help you run regular data protection checks. Loop in all your employees to be certain that the factors below are not putting your client data at risk:
- password management
- email habits
- browsing “hygiene”
The move to work from home may mean that your employees are working on their private computers, phones and tablets. If you need a secured login hub to reduce risks until you can get everyone on company computers, your online data protection supplier may be able to provide this support.
Finally, the Budget
You may be leasing your in-house or off-site data storage hardware. In this case, the biggest financial risk is not obsolescence of hardware, which is the responsibility of the owner, but early termination of contract and deposit fees. To the best of your ability, monitor these contracts to determine the best way to get out of them with the least loss of time and money. For example, you may want to check into a short-term lease or invest in as-needed storage hardware for the time of the actual switch.
Data migration takes time. Short-term leases can take the pressure off. While these may be more expensive, your migration tasks may be made easier if you can have more time to test moves, confirm volume, and re-tool in-house as necessary for effective cloud use.