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We are in an era of massive technological transformation. From artificial intelligence to machine learning and automation to the Internet of Things, companies are eager to adopt and benefit from the most cutting-edge technologies available in order to accelerate growth and drive impact. Take ChatGPT, for instance, it has exploded in popularity and is poised to make a remarkable impact on our economy.
The cloud is another example of a highly impactful technology. In fact, the global cloud computing market was valued at $545.8 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $1,240.9 billion by 2027, according to some estimates. Additionally, Cisco reports global cloud data center traffic increased by 27% from 2016 to 2021, representing 95% of total data center traffic.
As companies move more and more of their operations to the cloud, it becomes increasingly important to ensure data integrity is maintained during migration. Data integrity in cloud-based environments is essential to ensuring that data remains accurate, consistent, and intact during migrations or transfers. However, cloud migration can be especially risky — data can get lost or transferred incorrectly, leading to issues with functionality, security vulnerabilities, poor user experience, and damage to a brand's reputation.
The move to cloud-based platforms is a critical and strategic move for many companies in 2024. However, without a plan for data integrity, key risks like data corruption, security breaches, and operational disruptions could all arise.
The Importance of Data Integrity
Data integrity is massively important across the board as it enables organizations to make better decisions, implement more reliable processes, avoid costly mistakes, and reduce risk and compliance issues. It can also lead to better customer and stakeholder experiences and increased revenue and market share. Without quality data, companies will have a hard time managing the increasingly complex applications and ecosystems we work with today.
Cloud migration can create issues for data integrity. From collection to uploading, data moves through various pipelines, leading to gaps and mishandled and inaccurate data. Even further, if data is collected from multiple sources, it may have passed through many different hands, resulting in discrepancies. Additionally, if compromised data is uncovered, finding precisely where it broke along the migration route can be an expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating endeavor.
Fortunately, despite the risks of migrating data to the cloud, it can be done in a way that ensures data integrity.
4 Steps to Ensuring Data Integrity During Cloud Migration
First and foremost, any company needs to start with a plan. Without a planning and process approach, teams could end up moving valueless or inaccurate data. It's important to evaluate the resources and data on hand to ensure that the company is prepared and meeting all criteria.
Secondly, test and clean the data before moving. This is a surefire way to determine what is worthwhile to move and can help save time and money. In fact, testing is perhaps the most important step to maintaining integrity during migration as it prevents issues by validating the accuracy and reliability of data, confirming that data is complete and meets standards, and ensuring that integrity is maintained when changes are made. Further, end-to-end, automated testing solutions allow developers to catch more data errors upfront, flag areas for improvement, and keep pace with the ever-changing environment. Data should be run through these testing solutions both before and after migration.
Third, ensure the data is monitored before, during, and after migration. The continuous evaluation of data sources and flows is critical to maintaining data integrity as it helps developers catch issues, errors, and unauthorized changes as quickly as possible. Through comprehensive monitoring practices, software development teams are better equipped to identify and respond to issues that may arise during the migration process and can compromise data integrity. It can also help assess overarching system performance to ensure that data operations are running efficiently and accurately post-migration.
Lastly, ensure the data is properly managed. Data management establishes standards, rules, and responsibilities for handling any and all data, particularly during cloud migration. With effective data management practices, developers are able to maintain data integrity by ensuring everything has been handled properly, providing the correct access and control authentications to prevent unauthorized changes, and establishing a data backup and recovery process in case of any issues.
A Secure Migration
The growing migration to the cloud represents a pivotal shift in how businesses operate, offering unprecedented flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and collaboration. However, amidst the excitement of embracing cloud-based tools, the critical aspect of data integrity cannot be overlooked.
By taking this four-step approach — planning, testing, monitoring, and management — software development teams have a robust framework to navigate the challenges associated with cloud migration and can ensure the preservation of data integrity for their organization.
In an era dominated by technological transformation, those who successfully navigate the cloud migration journey with data integrity at the forefront will not only mitigate risks but also position themselves at the forefront of the dynamic digital landscape.