Data Archiving Myth #5: “Migrating Legacy Archive Data Must Be a Royal Pain, Right?”

I’ve been putting this off because I think it’s going be such a pain.

If you’ve heard this little voice inside your head, you’re not alone. Many IT pros loathe the idea of any major migration, and a legacy archive data move is no exception.

“Migration is a labor-intensive process and the cost and time is significant,” admits JP Blaho, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Mimecast. “I can see why people dread it.”

But it’s time to dethrone the popular myth that an archive migration is a royal pain.

“We need to reset the mentality,” Blaho asserts. Instead of migrating everything over and then flipping the switch for users, he says it’s faster, easier and less painful to switch first, and then bring over older data more methodically. “Then you’re not beholden to an artificial timeframe. And you avoid paying premiums for rush jobs.”

Here’s what you need to know to simplify the task.

  1. Establish a day-forward enterprise archiving policy. Analyze existing emails (including mobile and Exchange) and business goals and objectives to create the new process and guidelines for email archiving going forward. Train staff on the new process and rationale. Stand up the new file archiving software and go live. “Outline the reasons [for the migration] and make sure it’s driven by a material need,” advises Wes Higbee, president of Full City Tech Co. in New York. “People don’t like change when there’s no reason for it. Have a reason. Make sure it resonates.”
  2. Develop a migration project plan. Your plan should include a set of success criteria and a definition of done; an inventory of required hardware, software and cloud archive storage solutions; data validation and reporting procedures; lists of remediation tasks, KPIs/metrics; and a timeline.
  3. Deploy a pilot migration. Do a quick run-through of your migration plan with a small batch of data to identify issues. Then amend the project plan as necessary. “Initial transfers are slow,” Higbee says. “Do the math, then let the transfer happen.”
  4. Migrate the legacy archiefgegevens. Start methodically moving the data and carefully reviewing weekly progress reports to identify pinch points and problems and to keep executives informed.
  5. Generate a Chain of Custody Report. Because data assurance is crucial for compliance and liability, validating chain of custody throughout the process is vital. You must be able to account for every operation undertaken on any piece of data, from a mobile email to an attachment.

Investing time in planning, testing and reporting may feel like a heavy lift, but it’s a lot easier than the Herculean task of migrating everything at once. A more documented, incremental approach is actually simpler, causes fewer interruptions and keeps everyone from IT staff to employees who need to access to the archives to stay productive.

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