7 Things to Consider when Handling Data Migration

With so many risks involved, data migration is a daunting task for many companies. Still, it’s usually associated with positive changes as your organization transfers to something better.

There are many reasons why you could venture into data transfer. It could be a change of cloud storage or the adoption of DAM. You may also need to move your data because of application replacement or upgrade. In the long run, any of these will end with improving your business processes.

Regardless of the reason, there is a range of things you should know for your data migration to go as smoothly as possible. Since Pics.io has launched its own data migration service, we’re here to help you with practical tips on moving your files.

So let’s get started...

Making sense of data migration

Before all else, a quick definition of what is data migration. This is the process of moving data from an older, legacy system to a new one. As a rule, this happens as a part of a larger business process when the company adopts a new, more updated storage or computing system.

In today’s realities, businesses generate tons of data and stay under pressure to maximize the value of this information. One of the ways to achieve it is to choose an optimal environment for your files, which leads to data migration.

For one thing, you get a single source of truth for your assets. So your decision-makers access the right data at the right time. For another, you make sure to use modernized, technologically advanced software. This helps to store and extract your data more productively.

Despite its many advantages, business owners usually delay data transfer. It’s because data migration is not an easy process. Different risks and difficulties can happen on your way:

  • Security issues. Unsuccessful data transfer can end with data leakage, loss of data, or hack attacks.
  • Extended downtime. It’s very difficult to predict all the deadlines effectively. And so the transfer of data may take you forever and affect the usual workflow.
  • Corrupted data. Even if you manage to move all your data, the most sensitive of them can crash during the migration.
  • High costs. Data transmission is costly from the outset. And you can expect unanticipated costs while in the middle of migration. Shipping delays, security issues, and so on usually lead to extra charges.
  • Compatibility question. A careless choice of the new storage risks your new location being incompatible with your info. As a result, you’ll have to pay extra for returning to the older system or updating the new one.

7 Practical Data Migration Tips

1) Choose your data migration strategy

A migration strategy is what you should start with to avoid any harsh consequences. Basically, you have two approaches to data transfer to choose from.

“Big bang” migration is the first one. In this case, all the process is scheduled and completed in a specific timeframe. This could be 24 or 48 hours, for example, depending on your data scope. As a rule, your system goes down until migration is finished. And so this allows you to move to a new database quickly and easily.

“Trickle” migration is your second option. It’s more complicated, but also less risky. This time, you move your assets in portions. And both systems (old and new) are running simultaneously not to cause any delays in work.

As you see, “trickle” migration is safer. You can undo everything once you notice that something went wrong. But it’s also more time-consuming and challenging in terms of implementation as compared to the “big bang”.

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Image by Emma Matthews

2) Make an action plan and stick to it

Data migration won’t cause headaches for you if you write a good action plan and stick to it during the process. On the one hand, planning will help you improve your transfer outcomes. You’ll know and understand the goals and design requirements for your migration like schedules, priorities, backup, etc.

On the other hand, you’ll mitigate the basic risks with planning. For example, planning will allow you to think over what to do if your newly adopted system appears incompatible with your files. And so you won’t waste time but will have a ready-made course of action.

Here are the most basic steps you go through when you need to migrate your data to a new storage or computing environment:

  1. Select, explore, and assess your destination source. This is where you choose and test the new target system for your data. Pay attention to its storage space, innovation, ease of use, & compatibility.
  2. Define and design the migration. Based on the chosen system, create a migration strategy for your workloads. Choose the strategy, deadlines, security plans, and so on.
  3. Build and test your migration software. Then, starting from your migration strategy, you should choose the best tool to move your data. Don’t forget to test the solution a couple of times to get assured it’s working.
  4. Prepare your data for migration. Go through the quality of your data, check their scope and format. Think about backup if needed.
  5. Transfer your data. Complete all migration activities.
  6. Validate. An audit is a must at the end of each migration process. This will help you sum up the results and make sure your data is in a safe place.

One more important point to mention. Don’t forget to follow your migration plan whatever happens. Some managers abandon it when everything goes too smoothly or, vice versa, things go out of control. This is a bad idea.

You develop your migration plan to prepare for reality. So be good and follow it now.

3) Engage the best data migration software

Can you imagine moving all your tons of data manually? Of course, not. It could take days and nights. This is why you’d better use a good data migration tool, which will make the transfer a piece of cake for you.

Not without a reason, the choice of a data migration tool is a major part of your planning. So be very careful when selecting your vendor. Later, this will impact the security and efficiency of your data transfer.

Here is a list of factors you should consider when choosing your data transfer software:

  • Connectivity
  • Security
  • Scalability
  • Price
  • Performance
  • Ease of use

Do your homework and do the research on the tool you’re going to use. Consider all the feedback you can find. Next to the criteria above, you can also mind customer support, reliability, and lots of other factors that are important to you personally.

Spoiler alert: At the end of this post, you’ll find a great migration tool that will allow you to move assets between cloud solutions. Scroll the page down if you’re in search of the right tool.

4) Go through your data quality and complexity

Data transfer is a good opportunity to check your assets. Instead of moving everything as a single pack, have a thorough inspection. Check the quality, scope, and complexity of your legacy data. Maybe it’s time to archive old and outdated information or even get rid of the most dated evidence.

Also, remove duplicates, assess the different forms and formats of your organizational materials. This audit will allow you to know your files better, decide on their best organization and maintenance methods. Improved data integrity is another benefit you’ll get.

By removing degraded data, you’ll also win on the storage space. Many modern storage systems like Amazon S3 differentiate their pricing based on frequent/infrequent access to your data. That is if you archive old data, their maintenance will cost you barely anything.

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5) Communicate your future data migration

No matter the scope of your transfer, there are people who care about the data you’re going to migrate. Thus, your task is to inform stakeholders about your transfer plans. A good practice is also to provide regular status updates to them.

Be sure to discuss the future migration with your team as well. Even if they’re not involved in the process directly (let’s say you delegated data transfer to outside collaborators), they need to know what’s going on in the company.

For one thing, you must inform the team on data transmission so it didn’t interfere with their workflow. For another, the team is usually the first to find any inconsistencies after the migration. They work with data firsthand. And so your team will help you notice timely if any issues arise, and you’ll react accordingly.

6) Get a risk management strategy

As said, data migration is a challenging task, and there are too many issues that can go wrong. This is why you need to think about a risk management strategy. Start by listing all the hazards you predict during the migration process. Then, come up with a solution for each of them and/or preventive measures. Among other risks, you should consider data loss and corruption, compatibility issues, delays in timing, and so on.

7) Back up data before executing

And just to be on the safe side, don’t forget to back up your data. You can choose the best migration tool, plan and conduct all your steps very carefully. But as an old saying states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.

So we recommend not to over-rely on yourself. Prepare for the worst and make sure to back up your assets before making any actions with them. And if you encounter problems like your documents get corrupted or missing, you’ll get a chance to restore them in no time.

Move your data with Pics.io Data Migration Service

As you already know, getting the right migration tool is half the battle. So don’t get past the Pics.io data migration service which will help you migrate your data (and metadata!) from one cloud storage system to another.

Pics.io is a Digital Asset Management company. We’ve been dealing with file migration regularly as moving data to cloud storage is an important step for adopting DAM. And so we decided to create our own data migration solution to help our users (and not only them) to go through this process smoothly.

With the Pics.io tool, you don’t have to burden yourself with the migration process. Instead, delegate this important task to professionals. As our current or future DAM user, you must know our commitment to excellence in business. So why look for some external vendor to move your data rather than sticking to the one that you already trust?

Now let’s consider why you should choose the Pics.io data migration tool. Here are a few reasons to mind:

  • With Pics.io, you’re not limited in the size, scope, or format of your data. We can transfer any assets you require!
  • We can migrate metadata along with your data. Just imagine: all your keywords, file descriptions, and even folder structures – we’ll move all of them.
  • Our tool is fast and secure. You won’t have to wait days or weeks for your turn to transfer data. We move 4 GB per minute! Similarly, the safety of our users’ data is a priority for us (our DAM users will confirm this).
  • The list of cloud storage that we migrate data to and from is endless. These could be the most popular cloud solutions like Amazon S3, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox. Or we can equally copy your files from less known solutions like pCloud and Yandex Disk.

Get a more comprehensive list of Pics.io features here.


No need to put off your data migration plans one more time. Get equipped with our 7 practical tips to migrate your data fast and easily. And don’t forget about the right data migration software to accompany your transfer process and make it easy.

And if you have any issues with your file organization and distribution, feel free to check the benefits of Pics.io Digital Asset Management. This advanced DAM will help you forget about the mess in your depository once and forever.

Pics.io Team
Welcome to Pics.io blog, where you'll get useful tips, resources & best practices on how digital asset management can help your business to manage & distribute digital content on top of cloud storage.
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