Business data migration is the process of moving data from one place to another. Executive and information technology teams must have a strong data migration plan, whether establishing a new system or moving data to more secure storage places. This can prevent data loss or leakage.


Data Migration Guide: A Business Process Transition


According to current Gartner research, many data migration initiatives either cost more than expected or negatively impact the entire company due to poor planning or execution. Data migration initiatives involve numerous systems, technologies, and tech teams, and take a lot of time and effort.

Fortunately, your business can utilize a range of tools, methods, and tactics to make data migration easier and less expensive. Below is a data migration guide to aid your business in creating a successful business process. 


The different types of data migration


Data migration can be broadly divided into four types, depending on the systems involved:

  1. Database migrations typically take place when a company upgrades to a new database but existing data is structured differently. This makes these migrations more difficult than storage migrations.
  2. Data is moved between different storage locations during storage migrations. This includes hybrid cloud integration, which is data movement between on-premises systems and cloud-based solutions.
  3. Application migrations tend to involve both storage and database migrations. This is because applications use their own systems.
  4. Moving data from one cloud system to another is known as cloud migration.

For example, if your business uses a phone system but wants to make a change to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, an application migration strategy plan should be created.

La migración de datos puede ser costosa y arriesgada

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The best business practices for successful data migration


Moving vital business data from one place to another is a critical task and one with which you should take the utmost care. 

In failing to do so, you could lose sensitive data, go over budget, or spend more time than you planned migrating data. Below are some tips to ensure a successful data migration:


Examine and understand your data


Before migration, make sure that all existing data is examined. More precisely, check for data that is old, outdated, or no longer required. Setting aside this data for deletion will make the transition easier. This is especially important if you use a data warehouse for analytic purposes. 

Any regulated data that requires specific security measures to comply with data protection laws should be highlighted before migration, too.


Make and adhere to a migration plan


A clearly outlined data migration plan should consist of:

  • What data is migrating
  • Where it needs to go
  • How it will get there
  • Each phase of the process
  • Who is involved
  • Who will have access to the data.


Think about any system downtime required and other technical or compatibility difficulties as well. 

Your data migration plan should place a strong emphasis on data integrity and safety. Migrating data is a project in itself, so utilizing project planning software can be helpful when setting project-specific goals. 

Guía de Migración: Transición de un proceso de negocio

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Create a “test and validate” policy


Once data migration is complete, you should have a “test and validate” policy in place. This involves someone in your company making sure all company data has moved to the right place. Your policy should also include what should be done if data leakage has occurred. 

The test and validate policy is another chance to ensure outdated data is removed and that the correct permissions are in place. Checking permissions after data has been moved is a crucial part of this process, especially when working with sensitive information.

Document and audit your data migration processes


Fully documented data migration will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Auditing data can also show you exactly where data has been stored and creates a trail that can be followed in the event of data loss. Furthermore, auditing any process is how a business learns and improves its strategies.

This is particularly important if you work in certain industries, such as healthcare or finance. If a regulator checks in on your business, they will require proof that you adhere to data safety procedures when transferring and moving data.


Automation is your best friend


Data migration tasks are rarely short or straightforward. This means eliminating manual labor is always appreciated. 

Automation not only reduces project costs, it also reduces the possibility of human error. How much of your data is automated depends on your project. Some common uses of automation in data migration include:

  • Using automated quarantine rules to migrate sensitive data
  • Using an automatic retention policy to clean out stale data
  • Having an automated re-permissions tool for each destination.

You can create visual, automated workflows for data migration using Airtable with Make, for instance. 

Adopt data migration policies


Adopting migration policies within your business is the best way to ensure a streamlined process every time. 

You should develop organizational-wide data migration policies and implement procedures to enforce them. This could include a “hardening” process, which involves the encryption of sensitive data. 

Data encryption must be reviewed after migration, as there may be an error that could allow data to be readable by hackers. Your company’s data migration policies should also explain how and why data is sent to the correct location and adequately safeguarded once transferred. 


Getting ready for data migration


Reading through this guide should give you a better understanding of creating a successful data migration strategy for your business. Get to grips with which type of data migration you want to carry out, as this will be the basis of everything you do next.

Create specific plans and policies to make it easier in the future to carry out data migration projects. Remove data that’s no longer required and document and audit everything your company does with its data. Finally, utilize automation methods for a more streamlined data migration process. 


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