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4 min read

Avoid These Problems with Data Migration

Welcome to the great beyond. Whether you’re upgrading to the Cloud or to a better server, it'll be a process. Of course, we all want it to go as smoothly as possible. The best way to avoid potential problems is to plan for them in advance. I know it sounds counterproductive, but if you can zero in on the main hazards, you can avoid the problems that accompany them.

Think of it as a contingency plan, with a superhero cape. The goal is to be proactive instead of reactive. Kind of like driving around the potholes on your daily commute. You can avoid them because you know they are there. We want to avoid the "potholes" of data migration in the same fashion. 

4 Problems to Avoid While Migrating Data

1. Failing to Plan the Project Scope & Timeline

This is by far the most important stepping stone. Don’t skip the project scope thinking that everyone already knows the plan. How hard can it be, right? But a project without a defined scope undoubtedly turns into the song that never ends. Your aim should be to have a complete project summary and start-to-finish outline. The framework should include start date, milestones and completion dates.

Planning the details gets you, your IT support team, and other vendors on the same page. Now all parties have the opportunity to review the whole project before it starts.

Make sure these things are documented before starting the project:

  1. Deadlines and objectives
  2. Migration methodology
  3. Data security and backup plan
  4. Budget
  5. Communication plans

2. Oversimplifying the Task at Hand

People seem to think that moving data from one place to another is as simple as plugging in a thumb drive. And in theory, it is. But there’s a lot more to it.

Moving data from one place to another usually isn’t the hard part. The challenge can be making it all work correctly again. You could be transferring from an older software version to a newer one. Or to a different software entirely. Configuration takes time and strategy.

Planning on it taking longer than you anticipate, is critical. You're likely trying to move hundreds of gigabytes (GB), or even terabytes (TB), of data. That's a LOT of data. It can take anywhere from several hours, to days or weeks, to transfer completely.

Also, sometimes it just doesn’t go as planned. So, give yourself an extra buffer. This will reduce the risk that your operations will be affected by the migration.

3. No Backups - What Could Go Wrong?

Many times, the idea of migration seems so simple that backing up sounds like a time-consuming, unnecessary step. It is not. If files are corrupted, hardware fails, etc. during your migration, you could lose several hours or days’ worth of work, depending on when your last successful backup ran.

The extra steps to make sure the backup was complete don’t seem that bad anymore, do they?

That’s why we suggest you back up EVERYTHING. Choose a backup solution that does exactly what you need it to do, and runs as frequently as need be. There are several backup options. Chances are you have some kind of backup right now. If you don’t, or if you aren’t confident that you’re getting good daily backups, talk to your IT support team.

Speak with your IT professional to create a strategy in case something goes wrong. The strategy should include how to sustain your company throughout the migration process. And a plan if something malfunctions along the way. This can be done a number ways, so speak with your IT professional to ensure all your bases are covered.

4. Lack of Communication Between Vendors & IT 

We all know that Batman vs. Superman is a bad scenario. We'd rather have both on our team. Lacking communication between your vendors and your IT department, it's the same disaster.

Communication is the only way to guarantee that your goal(s) will be met by both parties. Avoid the pitfall, and keep both parties communicating regularly. Don’t assume that they’re doing it on their own. Your IT department knows the ins-and-outs of your infrastructure. And your vendor(s) -- an application provider, internet provider, or electrician -- are pros at what they do. Two halves of a perfect whole. They should be working to ensure things go smoothly through the migration and beyond. We're all on the same team, after all.

Swerve the figurative lack-of-communication pothole by involving everyone from day one.

These four problems can usually be avoided with a little preparation. They represent most of the biggest problems, but your specific situation might have more "potholes." Talk it over with your vendors, IT professionals, and staff. Get to the bottom of potential risks and how to plan for them. 

Bonus: The 5 W's Migration Plan

  • Who will be migrating the data?
  • What are the potential roadblocks?
  • Where are the recovery options for each state of migration?
  • When can the migration go live?
  • Why does this migration need to be done?

If you don't know where to start, your IT professional can lead the charge. Let them bring you some ideas. Don’t be scared to start a brainstorm and get to planning ASAP.

Related: Tech Alert: Crash Support - What's Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

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