Data is what drives most modern businesses. Thus, as businesses grow, data migration becomes unavoidable. The process of data migration is often a difficult and time-consuming task that requires a lot of planning and preparation. Data migration involves the transfer of data from one system to another. It’s often challenging for small businesses since they rarely have the staff or expertise necessary to do it right. However, a data migration strategy is a roadmap that helps companies navigate this complex process and minimize its risks.
1. Identify the Data Format and Location
Data is often the lifeblood of a business, and without it, businesses would be unable to function. The most important thing to consider when planning a data migration strategy is the data’s format, sensitivity, and location. As a rule, sensitive data should be stored on a different system than where it was shared or copied. This prevents exposure of that information should someone get hold of it. It also protects against the loss of the data itself if the original site is compromised in some way.
2. Plan the Scope of The Project
Once you’ve identified the type of data, the next step is to determine the scope of the project. The scope of a data migration project will vary depending on the data’s size and complexity and the migrated system, but it’s often best to start small and add additional systems as the data migration strategy evolves. The data migration strategy should also include a plan for testing and validation to determine where you are currently and where you want to be in terms of the data that’s been migrated.
3. Backup All Data
Next, you need to back up all the data that will be migrated. This will ensure that you can continue to operate the current system while you are preparing to transfer the data. Using the Microsoft Office 365 backup tool will provide you with a point of reference should anything go wrong while the data migration is taking place. In many cases, the data that will be migrated will be stored in a different format, which will require special software to be able to access it. It’s important to plan for this to have the right software on hand to access the data when you need to.
4. Assess the Migration Tool
To assess whether the migration tool is ready for prime time, you should perform a Data Migration Readiness Assessment (DMRA). A DMRA assesses whether the migration tool is reliable and can be implemented without impacting your technology environment. During a DMRA, you demonstrate the migration tool, and a data migration professional evaluates your readiness. The data migration professional also provides recommendations for improving the migration tool, which you can consider or ignore based on the assessment results.
5. Commence the Data Migration Process
The data migration process begins once you have preconfigured the migration tool, confirmed that you have the data and technology you need, and identified the data sources and file systems to migrate. The migration tool will prompt you before migrating certain types of data. It will also provide you with the option to migrate fewer data and the option to migrate all data. You’ll also need to determine a schedule that manages the data migration workflow and meets your data migration deadlines.
6. Test the Final System
The test is designed to verify that the migrated data is in the new location and that the data migration workflow has been completed without errors. In some cases, the test may be manual; in others, it may be automated with Continuous Integration Systems (CI). The goal is to confirm that the migrated data is accessible, secure, and operational.
7. Follow-Up of the Data Migration Plan
Finally, once you’ve completed the data migration, it’s important to follow up to ensure that the data migration plan has been successful. You should perform a data validation assessment, which demonstrates the current state of the data, and a data analysis assessment, which demonstrates the current state of the data and the migrated data. You should also set up maintenance schedules to perform data validation and analysis to ensure that the data is always accessible and secure.
Since data migration is a complex process, you should plan to perform several rounds of testing. Hence, you must include a detailed test that verifies the quality of the migrated data and the integrity of the migration process.