For an easier move, plan carefully, drill down on the new environment and security needs before migrating data.

April 14, 2023

5 Min Read
Helpful tips

By Tosin Vaithilingam


Tosin Vaithilingam

Major business transactions such as mergers and acquisitions are well-known for requiring complex data migrations. Divestitures, another common business scenario, can be equally challenging.

Divestitures present unique challenges for companies with significant amounts of data. During a divestiture from a sale or business combination, companies need to move data from one environment to the other or to a new, or greenfield, environment.

As part of the divestiture transition, a significant amount of data needs to be transferred to a different location, combined with other data, or expunged entirely. This process is especially complicated when data is spread across several data centers or cloud environments.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

Parameters to Consider in Moving Divestiture Data

Given the sheer volume of data that typically needs to be handled in a divestiture, allow enough time to plan and complete the job properly. When migrating data to a new or existing environment, MSPs should consider the type of environment, security concerns and data types.

To ensure a successful migration, consider:

  • Environment: Identify which environments are involved and whether the data will move to an existing environment or a new one. For example, in a common divestiture scenario, a single business unit gets absorbed into part of another company. In this case, data from the business unit needs to be transferred to the new company. The company may have an environment already set up or the migration may move data into a greenfield environment. Knowing the destination environment will lay the groundwork.

  • Security: Confirm the data’s destination, then verify the company’s security needs to inform your MSP’s approach to the migration. If the data is moved to a new environment, security protocols must be set up that match the parameters and licensing schemes the parent company uses. Without this alignment, systems will be susceptible to attacks. Migrating to an existing environment can be even more challenging since the security policies and frameworks are already established; such a move requires more upfront work in the discovery phase.

  • Data Type: It’s critical to understand the kind of data, the volume of data and whether the data is on the cloud or on-prem. MSPs should also find out which workflows they need to migrate and how those will ultimately be organized. For instance, MSPs may need to take data from a Google Drive and move it to a Microsoft environment. In this situation, they’ll need to know if the Google data will be housed within SharePoint or if it should all go to OneDrive.

Getting these foundational parameters in place will be essential to paving a clear path forward during the migration.

Before You Start

To ensure the migration is set up for success, MSPs should take these steps …

before they start:

  • Assess: Determine the associated costs — including the financial cost and staff time needed. This is also a good time to confirm the timeline for finishing the migration and outline the milestones you need to hit along the way.

  • Use a migration tool: Leveraging migration software creates predictability. Some migration resources come with bundles that give MSPs the ability to use the right tool for a specific migration. Migration tools also help MSPs lock in a budget so their clients will have a firm idea of cost. In addition, migration tools ease some of the licensing burdens, which are a common pain point.

  • Collaborate with a customer success engineer: Bring in a customer success engineer as soon as the divestiture pre-sale is complete. The engineer can offer oversight during the migration process and assist with any issues that may arise.

Best Practices During Migration

After you’ve primed the migration runway, there are several best practices to guide the process once it’s underway:

  • If you use a migration tool, watch timestamps as data is being migrated. Don’t wait for the tool to tell you the migration is complete, because some files may not have migrated. Confirm that each file is truly complete by checking for any errors that may occur during the transition. One simple way to do this is to compare file sizes. Unexpected interruptions could create headaches for the end user or delay the project.

  • Following a standard operating procedure (SOP) can keep the process predictable, but don’t be afraid to raise questions during a migration. Asking questions during the discovery process can prevent unwelcome surprises — something might come up that’s not in the SOP. For example, a company might have used a system like EMC SourceOne and later stopped using it. Then, during a migration, the company discovers that there are still stubs pointing to the email system. Avoid oversights like this with more in-depth questioning during discovery.

  • Train employees who might not be familiar with the environment to which the company is migrating in the new software for the final component for long-term success. Companies switching from Google Suite to Microsoft will need to educate employees on how the environment works and how they can accomplish standard tasks with the new tools. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and can work across teams effectively.

Divestitures can be messy, but the process of migrating data doesn’t have to be. Careful planning from the start will contribute significantly to the migration’s overall success. From the outset, determine what environment the new data will move to, what kinds of data needs to be moved or expunged and confirm the company’s security needs.

A successful migration can be supported by a thorough assessment of time and financial costs. Migration tools and customer success engineers are excellent resources for MSPs that want to streamline the migration process. With these best practices, MSPs will be well-positioned to handle successful data migrations during a divestiture.

Tosin Vaithilingam is a senior solution architect at BitTitan, where he provides customers with essential migration services such as project scoping, planning and proof-of-concept. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @BitTitan on Twitter.

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