How to successfully migrate critical data to the cloud


As businesses deal with an ever-increasing amount of data, and in-house storage capabilities struggle to cope, migrating this precious information to the cloud becomes a very attractive option. Cloud storage has become cheaper and, to a degree, more reliable for the public and the private sector, compared to a few years ago.

Key to successful migration is management of major issues such as security, strategy and handling information flows. The process is both challenging and rewarding, so it is important for businesses to follow important steps to ensure migration is as stress-free as possible.

>See also: The year of the cloud: flexible, agile and scalable

A data design for life

So how should businesses achieve success? At the heart of the integration process is the architectural design of systems with integration in mind. It is important to have agile development methodologies that can be upgraded and scaled-up as business needs change.

In the financial sector, it is important that the integration process is stable, as this must provide multiple points of interaction between different banks and financial institutions to ensure data is transferred swiftly and securely.

Having a clearly-defined data strategy is also as important as system design. It cannot be stressed enough how important this is. A data strategy is all about categorising and identifying your data, while governing its use by asking the ‘what if’ question in terms of dealing with a potential data breach.

It is very important that a company’s data strategy is aligned to the wider business strategy. This will lead to better decision-making processes, as data handling is strongly linked to compliance. Adhering to strong compliance will support reputational management, key to business success and growth.

>See also: Mistakes that lead to loss of corporate data in the cloud

On the other side of the coin, it’s worth noting that the main obstacle preventing a data strategy being implemented is the lack of resources and expertise within IT teams. Fortunately, this can be resolved by defining clear business objectives, choosing the right cloud solution and getting management buy-in. This is not just a challenge to be solved solely by the IT department.

Pump up the volume

Tackling the volume of transactions is another key challenge. Advice to businesses here is to carefully group your data to ensure that the most sensitive information gets the security it needs. This is particularly important in the public sector, where for example transactions are related to council tax payments, tax returns or personal identify information.

Fundamentally, dealing with transactions is a technical challenge. Data must be carefully categorised, looking at its contextual relevance. Businesses must be ready to deal with the impact of certain data being breached. For example, if customers’ addresses were lost, understanding the context of the information and managing the impact against the wider business strategy would be key.

Security is always on the agenda

Security is arguably the most important element in migrating critical data to the cloud. One key issue that businesses must do is to firstly understand the consequences of a data loss. This is an educational issue.

The use and misuse of passwords continues to be a concern. Companies must continue to educate staff that sharing passwords can lead to security breaches. This applies if data is kept internally or stored remotely.

>See also: Big data analytics: confidence in the cloud

Data audits are also an essential part of securing data. Businesses should ensure data audits are up-to-date and that key personnel, which can include all staff members, are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

It is vital to know where your data is stored. Firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention can keep out most intruders, and data encryption keeps the data safer, but how do you know where your data goes when you terminate your service or when the cloud provider goes out of business?

Being able to point to a device and say your data and only your data is on that machine, goes a long way in the security of your data in the cloud. Selecting dedicated hardware is the key. This allows for cloud computing services to pass the most stringent security guidelines.

Finally, it is important that the chosen cloud service complies with your internal standards. For example, security protocols established by your cloud host may conflict with your internal network. It’s worth double checking that your provider’s platform conforms to industry and internal compliance standards. If this is not the case, be prepared to upgrade and modify security settings.

>See also: What’s in store for cloud in 2017?

The future of data migration to the cloud

Just a few years ago, businesses only considered cloud adoption as a way to gain advantage over their competitors. Now, it is the norm. Businesses want solutions to mine structured and unstructured data for competitive edge, leading to an increased demand for cloud storage. Though an increasing number of companies are moving their data to the cloud, there are still reservations in using this technology. Security remains the biggest concern.

As an increasing number of organisations migrate to the cloud, data security will need to stay one step ahead. It is important that businesses have a clear security strategy in place. This will ensure your data strategy – and your wider business strategy – are protected as your company expands.

Case study in use: Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) needed to deliver a new digital regulatory market data processing platform, as it has a critical role in maintaining the integrity of global capital markets. The FCA required an innovative offering utilising the latest digital technology.

>See also: The year of the cloud: availability and agility

Sopra Steria’s Regulatory Support Service is a big data solution using cutting-edge open source application components and hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It will be able to handle millions of transactions per day, validating and storing all transaction reports, ensuring they meet the ‘Markets in Financial Instruments Directive’ (MiFID II) rules.

The new market data processing platform supports the FCA’s on-going regulation of firms, as well as encompassing new requirements under the forthcoming EU regulation entitled MiFID II.


Sourced by Alasdair Hendry, head of Regional Digital Transformation, Sopra Steria


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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