Everything you should do before migrating applications to the cloud

 In Cloud, Office 365

In 2017, Microsoft Office 365 (O365) boasts nearly 25 million subscribers, up 47 percent from last year. Even large enterprises, which take more effort to transition, are jumping to the cloud-based Office suite and other cloud solutions at a significant rate.

But migrating to the cloud shouldn’t be done on a whim. There are potential rewards for getting there, such as better performance, reliability, and availability for applications and data at a lower cost, but it’s important to properly prepare if you want to get the most out of your migration.

If you want to make the switch, take the extra time to do it in the best way possible, by gathering the right data and putting the right solutions in place. Here are a few of the most important considerations to keep in mind when thinking about a move to O365 and other SaaS applications.

Mapping your data migration

The most essential aspect of moving to the cloud is figuring out what data will make the migration. How do you do that? Divide your data into different buckets based on importance. Purge your data, giving priority to what’s crucial for daily operations or compliance obligations (like financial or health records) and removing anything less important (like pictures from last year’s company picnic). The less important items will just drive up space and cost.

What’s important will vary based on your industry and compliance guidelines, but it’s often safe to assume that those at a higher managerial level will have more important data than those at lower levels. Starting at the C-level and working down is a good strategy when sorting data.

The second important consideration is to make sure the migration doesn’t interfere with everyday business operations. Investing in technology and consulting with a knowledgeable vendor can smooth the process and ensure your data is managed properly during this critical process.  A manual switch may cause data and applications to be unavailable; software will minimize or eliminate it.

Regardless, the bigger your company, the longer your prep time will likely be.  Large enterprises can take years to prepare before making the move.

Data management is crucial

Cloud services often include data protection solutions, but just as you would for your on-prem data, you should also utilize data management tools outside of what came packaged with the infrastructure.

Before signing off on a cloud migration, have someone well-versed in data protection read the Service Level Agreement provided by the cloud vendor and understand what needs to be done to keep your data holistically protected. Look for solutions that provide a single platform with integrated protection and recovery, as well as search and eDiscovery, across multiple sources of data. Search and eDiscovery capabilities will be important in the case of a legal event or audit, and will help to reduce or eliminate fines or penalties.

Data protection also plays an important role in compliance. Make sure that the data you store in the cloud, such as email addresses, social security numbers, and other personally identifiable information (PII), is managed to meet all regulatory requirements. This includes assurances that your data will always be accessible, even in the event of an outage or unplanned downtime.

Success comes from preparation

While cloud services can improve your business with potentially higher speeds and lower costs, mistakes in the migration process can leave companies feeling frustrated. Your cloud experience will reflect the preparation put into it, so planning is critical to success.

With business so dependent on data, successfully moving and protecting that data in the cloud is crucial. A careful gap analysis of what Microsoft and other cloud providers offer and what is left to the user is highly recommended, as well as working with skilled vendors that have a track record of partnering with these providers. Don’t let a data mishap deter a successful cloud experience!

About the author

As Director, Product Marketing, Mike Reynolds is responsible for all go-to-market activities for Commvault User Data solutions. He has spent the last year helping customers manage their critical data as they continue to leverage cloud services and deploy hybrid computing models.

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