Data Migration: The Guide for Municipalities Moving to the Cloud

  • Is Your Data Clean?
  • Data Migration Should Be a Separate Project
  • Overcome Silos
  • Think about Security
  • Test before You Migrate
  • In the End

You’ve finally taken the hint and are moving to a cloud-based solution for your municipality. Whether that’s a city, town, or an entire county, cloud technology offers financial savings coupled with enhanced agility, the ability to deliver additional functionality for website users, and numerous other benefits.

However, migrating data from legacy systems to the cloud can be daunting, frustrating, and may even put your data in danger. Below, we’ve compiled some of the most important tips and considerations to help make your data migration process simpler, easier, and more secure.

Is Your Data Clean?

One of the first things to consider before migrating to another platform is whether or not your data is clean. For most municipalities, the answer is no. This means you’ll need to spend time and money cleaning data so that you don’t migrate inaccurate, outdated, or incorrect information. Some of the most common types of data in need of cleaning include the following:

Duplicate accounts/entries.

Unclassified data.

Data on organizations or companies that have gone out of business.

Incorrect names and contact information for leaders and government offices.

Incorrect/outdated information regarding partnerships with local area businesses or organizations.

Spend some time identifying data that needs to be cleaned, and then actually removing it or correcting it. There is little point in simply duplicating bad data with the migration, and a little time and effort now can yield big results in the future. Also, note that your IT team may not have the time or expertise to handle data cleansing on this scale, so it pays to work with a trusted partner.

Data Migration Should Be a Separate Project

Don’t roll data migration into other tasks. Don’t slap it onto the IT team’s plate like it’s just something that can be worked into their daily responsibilities. Migrating to the cloud can be a massive undertaking and it should be treated like a separate project, which means it needs its own team and project manager. This is not an “import/export” process that allows you to just copy over all your information to a new hard drive.

Migrating to the cloud can be quite complicated and you’ll need to ensure that your team has a budget and the right tools to support them during the project. It’s also important that you determine how the project will be handled. Are you going for a “big bang” approach where the entire migration happens in one go, or will you take a more measured approach where data is migrated in smaller batches? Both have their pros and cons, but you must agree on the approach you’ll take long before the project kicks off.

Overcome Silos

One of the most significant challenges with municipal data migration is the need to overcome information silos. In this situation, information is locked into data stored within proprietary systems used by specific departments. That data is not shared with other departments/agencies, and may be impossible to move to the cloud as-is.

Often, proprietary databases are incompatible with cloud technology in the first place, and you’ll need to transform it before it can be migrated. New database systems may need to be determined before you can move ahead with the project. In addition, you’ll need to determine how once-proprietary information will be shared and used across cloud applications once the move is finished. Siloed information benefits no one. Data must be free in order to move across departmental and agency borders and benefit municipal leadership.

Think about Security

Data security before, during, and after the migration is a huge concern for municipalities large and small. Information theft is rampant today, and data thieves would love to get their hands on your information. In addition to ensuring that your team follows best practices and that your security is up to par, you also need to do your due diligence when it comes to the cloud provider(s) that you work with.

You need to make sure that the vendors you choose are certified and that they can provide protection for your applications and workloads. Of course, it can be challenging to find time to compare the various providers out there and make an informed decision. At Job Hub Group, we are experienced, trained, and certified to ensure your peace of mind and the protection of your data.

Test before You Migrate

It’s tempting to think that data migration just takes all of your existing information and copies it over to the cloud as is. That’s not how it works. Additionally, some of your existing assets might not be well suited to the cloud environment. Data migration testing is the process of taking databases, apps, and other assets, and testing them for operability within the cloud. Then, you can take steps before the migration to ensure that you can modify or otherwise transform assets that would not be a good fit for the cloud.

Not only that, but you’ll find that you have a much better sense of just how complicated the migration process will be in the first place, which allows you to allocate funding, create teams, and schedule time appropriately.

In the End

When it’s all said and done, data migration is much more complicated than just cloning data and then saving it to a new virtual hard drive in the cloud. It requires the right team, the right resources, and the appropriate amount of time. It can be incredibly complex, and may even put your data in danger. Many municipalities find that it’s actually to challenging for them to handle with their existing in-house team.

If you’re contemplating a move to the cloud, Job Hub Group can help. Contact us today to schedule an in-depth assessment of your needs and to learn more about how our team of experts can simplify the process while simultaneously ensuring robust data protection.