Guest Column | July 5, 2022

Best Practices For Document Migrations Amid Accelerating Data Creation

By Stacey Farrar, BitTitan

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It’s no secret—we’re increasingly reliant on remote operations. According to career news website Ladders, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to rise into 2023.

Due to our increasing reliance on remote work, data creation has risen dramatically. It shows no sign of abating. International Data Corporation (IDC) recently saw a spike of new data and trends indicating that data creation will soon outpace installed storage capacity.

For many organizations – especially those entering M&As or consolidating IT resources – this data spike underlines critical migration considerations. Companies migrating files from document repositories like Google Drive or OneDrive must understand what files they’re moving, the size and scope of their migration, and what protections or permissions must remain intact. Precise, knowledgeable preparation can make or break a migration and determine your IT department’s post-migration success.

Considerations Around Data Growth

The cloud has made it much easier for people to create and save hordes of documents. People often create more content in the cloud because the storage of tangible copies is no longer a consideration. For example, consider the healthcare industry. Mountains of paper health records and documents once lived in office filing cabinets. Now, these digital records reside in the cloud.

Consequently, there are significantly more files, shared documents, and file owners across organizations. In the cloud, shared documents and their ancillary data can multiply without limit and include redundant or outdated files. More files mean an enormous amount of migrating data. Instead of megabits, it’s gigabits.

Given such growth, how do MSPs and IT professionals ensure data is migrated swiftly, securely, and seamlessly? A pressing challenge is maintaining data fidelity, or the ability for data to retain its original characteristics. Data fidelity must be upheld among hierarchy structures and components, including metadata, folder structure, permissions, and the various versions of files. Automated tools can help ensure everything remains intact. Automation also can help mitigate instances of data fade, or the slow degradation of bits on storage media that aren’t in steady use, which result from manual migration errors.

Best Practices For Planning, Discovery, And Scoping

Planning is the first step of a successful document migration. And that begins with properly scoping the project. The first piece of any migration is understanding what data you have, where it's located, and the details around handling or protecting that data. It can be exhaustive work, but such work is paramount to success. An organization’s cloud migration can include thousands of SharePoint sites, for example. Understanding all the associated details isn’t easy. It may even be chaotic.

For instance, your company’s technical sales team may set up individual SharePoint sites to help service a range of customers. If those SharePoint sites are not actively tracked, they may not be set up in the same manner as the core corporate sites. Another prime example is higher education, where different departments typically have their own independently managed Teams instances. Here, consolidation can create a messy situation.

Factoring in compliance and governance considerations is critical. Before migration, identify the personal, identifiable information you have, then determine what needs to be encrypted, archived, or deleted. Pay special attention to consolidations and divestitures.

When considering automated tools, look for those that are easy to use. Tools with automated discovery can change planning from impossible to achievable. To avoid surprises and sticker shock, you should understand how much data you have and the up-front costs of migrating it. Investigate how much bandwidth your migration will consume, the anticipated project timeline, licensing costs, and other fees. Remember that ROI is realized in many ways; automation can save a boatload of time and mitigate project costs and headaches.

When To Enlist Help

How do you know when outside expertise is warranted? If you’ve never performed a document migration, don’t hesitate to go with experts to avoid wasting time and money. Document migration projects are often larger than expected, whether for ten users or 10,000. The discovery stage can unearth unforeseen hurdles. Consider the initial project size and complexity, then honestly evaluate these factors with your in-house capabilities.

Deploying the right automation tools and bringing in expert assistance will help identify and track where project errors occur, where throttling might happen, and other issues. The right automated solution also will deliver a comprehensive report of the migration. Manually performing a document migration won’t provide these insights and may ultimately drag out the migration.

Document migrations are complex enough without making them more challenging. Planning is key. So is leveraging resources such as automated tools and expert assistance. The right resources can change a mammoth undertaking into a swift, secure, and seamless migration.

About The Author

Stacey Farrar is product marketing manager at BitTitan, where he oversees go-to-market strategy and product messaging for MigrationWiz. His areas of expertise include cloud automation, SaaS, product marketing and management, digital marketing, customer engagement, and business development.