The Common Pitfalls When It Comes to Data Migration
Moving your data from one server to another or converting to a new data management system is never without problems. You wind up transferring the information you no longer need or you miss some vital tidbit you’ll try to pull up later and not have.
In NewVantage Partners’ Big Data and AI Executive Survey 2021, researchers found leadership in corporations battle some challenges when it comes to big data. A mere 30% of business executives have a solid strategy for their company’s data. If you don’t have a plan now, figuring out how to structure a new migration may seem insurmountable.
There are many reasons to migrate data to a new server or into the cloud. Your company may save money and gain better efficiency by moving. Even with the challenges, once you finish the process, you’ll be thankful you made the choice. Fortunately, you can also avoid some common pitfalls when it comes to data migration.
Pitfall #1: Lack of Structure
When you first begin the process of migration, you may have data spread across different systems and machines. You likely created older material in different programs than those being used today. Even minor changes, such as which Windows operating system the document was originally in creates bugs.
Start by converting what you can to the newer platforms and systems. You may not be able to change everything over, but invest the time in cleaning up your databases before migrating to avoid issues later. There is nothing worse than trying to access an old file and realizing you can’t open it because of the coding language.
Pitfall #2: Security Issues
Experts believe as much as 50% of IT spending for most companies goes toward supporting Shadow IT. Employees may install software without your tech support’s help, which can put your data at risk and take up precious space on your servers.
With more people working from home due to the pandemic, you may find many staff members download productivity trackers and third-party software you didn’t approve. The only way to combat the issue is by setting some strict policies about what your employees can and can’t download.
Provide company computers that are only used for work and that IT has full access to. You want to make sure workers don’t add unnecessary files or programs that might cost you a fortune to migrate to a new system and put your data at risk of a cyberattack.
Pitfall #3: Not Deleting Data
Over time, you may find you have shadow documents and programs installed on your systems. Since you’ll pay by the storage space, you want to clean up any duplicates or things you’re no longer using to save money.
If you just migrate everything, you transfer a lot of files you don’t need and take up precious resources for something you already have. One simple fix is to come up with a strict structure of what types of files get saved and where. The more organized your system, the less chance of duplicate files.
Pitfall #4: Lack of Communication
For a company-wide migration to be successful, you must have every department in your organization on the same page. Lay out when deadlines are for various aspects of the migration project. If just one or two departments lag behind, you’ll find the migration falls apart.
Start by meeting with department heads. Inform them of the migration. Set up goals and deadlines for them to have certain tasks completed. Build time into everyone’s schedule to work on the migration. For example, you might set a date where all old files must be cleaned up in every department.
Send regular reminders and notices to ensure the work is done in a timely manner. Provide adequate IT support to each department in case they run into snafus. You may need to bring in some temporary help to meet the increased workload during migration.
Pitfall #5: Not Securing Enough Storage
The amount of data the world generates is massive. Experts say by 2025, worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of information your company generates as it grows exponentially every year.
The amount of storage you needed last year won’t touch how much you need the next. If you’re using a third-party cloud provider, you may be able to just upgrade your package as you go. However, if you’re investing in a new data center, you might need to be more aware of the amount of storage needed and increase your estimate to account for any company growth.
Pitfall #6: Failing to Test and Confirm
One of the most important steps of the migration process is double-checking everything moved properly and functions as expected. The work of the migration is grueling, so it’s easy to breathe a sigh of relief when everything gets moved over and just forget about it.
Unfortunately, you may find you lose data later and can no longer access it. If you don’t still have your old system, this could spell catastrophe for your organization.
Take the time to click through every single file, open it, ensure it fully copied over and functions with any new software. It is time-consuming, but if you put everyone in the organization to work checking their files and department needs, you should be able to complete your tests in a timely manner.
Create New Policies
Once you have everything migrated, take the time to implement clear processes for adding new files. Know where different data gets stored and even come up with a common file naming convention. The more regimented you are, the less problem you’ll have when it comes time to migrate in the future.