If your local data storage solutions have become unmanageable, or if your data strategy requires global access by a mobile and decentralized workforce, you may be considering the cloud computing paradigm. Keeping your workforce connected to your data and to each other can be accomplished today utilizing one or more different cloud computing services. If you have already chosen a cloud solution and have outgrown its features, you may be wondering how to move the large amount of data that you have amassed to a new and more feature-rich service. The following five tips should keep you on course while you determine your eventual strategy.
1. Evaluate Your Team Requirements
The first order of business in transferring your data to the cloud is to determine your team’s requirements for both transfer and storage functionality. Several points to consider are:
- Which computing platforms should be supported?
- Which mobile devices require support?
- What is the maximum file size to be transferred?
- Is automatic file synchronization required?
- What level of security is required?
- Which service is currently in use and to which service will data be transferred?
Many cloud solutions support multiple operating systems via a platform-agnostic web interface. Others—although the number is dwindling—are specific to a computing platform. Solutions such as Dropbox, ShareFile and SugarSync support most current operating systems and include robust functionality. For the security conscious, ShareFile can be configured for a high level of data security via encryption options. Dropbox and Sugarsync support iPhone and Android applications in a relatively seamless manner, and ShareFile’s web interface is device agnostic. Backup Box is a relatively new service that allows you to back up your entire website, move data from one cloud solution to another, and create automated file transfers. As you consider your options, make note of the functionality of each cloud solution under consideration and match the functionality with your needs.
2. Match the Service Bandwidth to Your Requirements
Each cloud storage solution enforces its own bandwidth limit; investigate the service that you are considering with an eye toward matching the bandwidth that you require to the bandwidth provided. If you have terabytes of data to move, it will be important for you to determine how fast this data transfer will take place in order to maintain the availability of critical data.
3. Determine the Scope of the Data Transfer
If you are implementing cloud storage for the first time, you will need to choose the specific data or data type that you wish to transfer. Do you require that some or all of your data is globally accessible to your teams? Do certain file sets require enhanced security options? Will you be transferring websites, databases, file server contents, or all three? How long will the transfers take, and is it feasible for your team to be without access to their data during that time? All of these questions should be considered carefully and answered specifically before a cloud storage provider is chosen.
4. Determine a Suitable Provider
Once you have completed the analysis of your cloud storage requirements, it’s time to choose one of the available cloud solutions. Your decision should be based on your team and bandwidth requirements, the ease of integration with your current enterprise technology, the scope of the data transfer, and any other factors specific to your unique environment.
5. Educate Your Staff
Once you have chosen your cloud solution, your staff should be fully educated regarding the functionality of the proposed system. The staff should also be thoroughly familiarized with the procedures you have developed to coordinate the transfer of data to your chosen system. Educating your staff is perhaps the most critical step in keeping them connected with their data during the transition from local to cloud storage
Cloud storage is rapidly becoming critical in maintaining data availability to an increasingly mobile and decentralized workforce. Many companies are turning to cloud storage for the first time; others are choosing to upgrade their solution based on the need for increased functionality or bandwidth. Wherever your company falls in this continuum, following the tips presented here should help smooth your transition.
Lydia Waters is a freelance blogger who writes about data storage solutions for businesses. Lydia recommends ShareFile if your data needs involve sending large files online.