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How to move your data to a new virtual home in the cloud

http://www.comparethecloud.net/articles/how-to-move-your-data-to-a-new-virtual-home-in-the-cloud/

When moving to a new home, your prized possessions are shifted from room to room, then to a storage box, then to a removal van and finally placed in the new house. In this lengthy process, your treasured belongings are often lost, damaged or discarded. It’s easy to think that this is part and parcel of the moving process – after all, that new house with the extra space and better location has to be worth it, right?

This analogy is surprisingly appropriate for businesses moving to the cloud. Solutions like Office 365 offer a wide range of benefits in terms of productivity, network availability, and easier emailing and collaboration from anywhere and from any end device. In spite of these benefits, just like a house move, getting from on-premises Exchange and Office tools to the cloud or hybrid environment can present significant challenges for IT teams.

Whilst many people expect to lose items during a move, more often than not, these losses are caused by a lack of preparation. Sorting, packing and moving involves a lot of work and it can be stressful, but it is also an opportunity to clear out the old junk and move into new premises with a clean slate. The process of moving data to the cloud is the same. Even in the preliminary stages, there is plenty that can go wrong. So, the better prepared a company is for the move, the more smoothly the process will run – and smooth processes lead to lower running costs in the long term as well.

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Companies that decide to take their first step towards the cloud need to be aware that it is a lot more than a simple software upgrade; it involves a complex infrastructure migration process. Good preparation is the key to success. Those organising the migration process should ensure that all data is ready for the move and that the company network has the necessary capabilities to interact with the cloud.

The first thing your company needs to decide is whether it actually wants to move all of its data to the cloud. Often, it makes more sense to archive some of it. For example, emails usually take up an enormous amount of storage space. Migrating absolutely everything means that these messages have to be physically moved into the cloud, despite the fact that users rarely access very old emails. The implications of this can be significant. For example, research has shown that, on average, Office 365 migrations can take 30 per cent longer than the original plans.

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