Every business handles its data differently, but one thing that we can all agree on is that no one wants to spend more time than necessary handling data migration. If you’re dealing with a large data set, you may have thousands of files or folders to sort through and re-organize, each of which requires time and effort from your IT team and your business’s resources as a whole. With these tips on how to simplify your data migration, you’ll be able to take care of this project without disrupting the day-to-day operations of your business.
1. Document the Process
When it comes to data migration, documenting your process is essential. Create a written plan that details everything from start to finish. This is an excellent way of making sure you don’t miss any steps and can serve as a helpful guide for other people who need to handle data migration in your organization.
You may even want to consider breaking the process down into a few different documents: one that outlines what you did, one that tells why you did it, and maybe another that breaks down some best practices. The more information you have stored, the better equipped you are when something goes wrong (or if you just need a refresher).
2. Organize Your Digital Assets
If you’re planning on migrating data to a new platform, start by taking inventory of all your digital assets. This includes everything from emails and spreadsheets to photos and videos. The first step is organizing your data into categories so that it’s easier to find, which is why we recommend setting up a central location where you can store all your files (e.g., an external hard drive). After you identify everything that you need in order to start fresh, create folders accordingly (e.g., OneDrive accounts, social media profiles).
Once you have these organized by category and stored in one spot, it should be easy for anyone else involved in your project. It also ensures that everyone knows what files they need—and where they can find them if need be.
3. Backup Your Data First
Before making any changes, make sure you have a backup of your data. You’ll want something external or in cloud storage, rather than on your computer, in case things go wrong. External hard drives are fairly cheap these days and can be picked up at any electronics store. Always make a local copy of anything that’s important before working with it.
4. Use a Geographic Information System
Using a geographic information system, or GIS for short can also improve your data migration process. This system can make it easier to identify problem areas in your data set. If you’re looking at migrant flows, for example, you might choose an easily identifiable color code—say, green for Africa and blue for Europe—and plot these values by latitude and longitude (or zip code). Using a GIS means you don’t have to worry about getting location information exactly right; just drop in latitude/longitude coordinates or type in your address and let the computer do most of the work.
Data migration can be very time-consuming and it’s easy to make mistakes that could corrupt your data or even crash your computer network entirely. Keep this guide in mind to avoid these pitfalls.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan