Experts Speak: Tips for Migrating to the Cloud

Migrating all of a company's data to the cloud comes with its fair share of challenges.


In fact, a 2015 MeriTalk survey of 150 federal executives reveals that 57 percent of these professionals are worried about migration challenges, even suggesting that they're not sure the data can be moved at all. Even though moving data to the cloud may seem like a daunting task, it is one that can be done with a little bit of planning.


For some help mapping out your cloud migration strategy, check out these tips from experts who have experience with the migration process:


"An important step often overlooked by companies looking to leave behind traditional hardware-based models in favor of a cloud solution is carrying out a thorough audit of the data before making the switch. A 'Spring clean' of the data can save enterprises time and money by ensuring the data they are transferring to the cloud is up to date and accurate, leaving behind obsolete data which can weigh down not only the migration process, but limit efficiency in the new system."
- Mark Rhyman, Co-CEO and Chief Business Development Officer at Big Bang ERP


"Over time, migrating company data to a public cloud can lead to cost savings, increased agility and additional functionality. However, a cloud migration shouldn't be taken lightly. Be sure to take into account the security of your data. Public clouds have become increasingly secure, but don't leave the security of your data purely in the hands of your cloud service provider. Take initiative to leverage encryption, virtual networks and careful architecture audits. Additionally, be sure to protect your access credentials. Too often, I've heard horror stories of leaked credentials resulting in data exposure. Segment your architecture, don't use a single master key for accessing your infrastructure and rotate credentials frequently. Finally, be smart about both how and where you store your keys."
- Jonathan LaCour, the VP of Cloud and Development and DreamHost


"A prime concern for businesses with cloud migration is that they will relinquish control of that data - and that their critical information will be more susceptible to security breaches. As with Target, Home Depot and other high-profile hacks taking place in recent months, data security in the cloud is a continual concern. However, a recent research report from the Information Security Group shows that insider threats are a significant reason for breaches, and a combination of factors are at play - including insufficient data protection strategies, sensitive data being moved beyond the firewall on mobile devices, and a lack of employee training and awareness. The cloud offers significant advantages that can completely transform the business positively in terms of speed, cost efficiencies and growth - and to fully realize its benefits, businesses must set up the right policies and security technologies to minimize the concerns and dangers when it comes to safeguarding their data."
- Joanne Jacobs, Senior Vice President of Product at Replicon


"Ask questions and negotiate up front. Once your data is in their systems, you'll have much less negotiating power. Before moving into a cloud service, look at your future plans and anticipate what services you might need six months or a year from now. Make sure the provider will accommodate them."
- Tim Rolston, Co-Founder of JTRTech, LLC


"If you are concerned that your data will not migrate successfully, you should not migrate to the cloud. Period. Data is everything. And if you decide to, start by migrating a few small mailboxes or a small project, whatever the case might be. Then test something bigger. Then go for it all the way."
- Eric Thomas, Founder and CEO of L-Soft


"One of the biggest lessons learned for us was that not all cloud platforms were the same. While it may make sense to go with a general brand such as Amazon, more specialized vendors can offer nice services that may be critical for your business. Small pilots, continuous learning and feedback are the key to selecting the right vendor and platform for your cloud project."
- Levent Gurses, Founder and President of Movel


"There's been hesitation to use cloud services, today, in the same way we were all terrified of Internet banking when that first appeared. I'd recommend companies follow three simple steps before signing up with a cloud service provider, so they're aware of what they're getting into and have fully mitigated risks. The three steps are due diligence, due diligence and due diligence. Sounds simple, but this is your only opportunity to ask questions to a cloud service provider before you sign their paperwork. Once you're a customer the opportunity for due diligence is gone. So get under an non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with them and ask them every question you can think of. Ask how they secure and protect your data. Leave no stone unturned - so you're making decisions with the best knowledge you can, rather than assumption, supposition and rumor. Remember, making the wrong decision is sometimes OK, provided you can justify why you made that decision."
- Orlando Scott-Cowley, cyber-security specialist at Mimecast