Bits & Bytes

The BitTitan Blog for Service Providers


Moving File Shares from On-Prem to the Cloud

It may be time to migrate file shares to SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams. Security is a major reason. The Azure Cloud has proven to be the better cybersecurity option compared to on-premises servers. And now, with the October’s end of support date, Microsoft is no longer making updates to Windows 2012 servers. That means no security patches and no support options. SharePoint Server 2019 is also moving from mainstream to extended support in just a few months.

File shares are centralized files hosted on a network server or network drive, or shared files and disks on local computers. These files are referred to in many organizations as a “Z drive.” If your organization still has file shares, employees are probably very familiar with how to access and use them. That doesn’t mean the situation is ideal. It just means they’re used to it, like the extra nudge you have to give a door that always sticks.

It’s important to remember, though, that moving files isn’t just about moving files. If you’re adopting Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive, or if you’re expanding Microsoft 365 deployment within an organization, you need to make sure users are ready for a big change in how they access and share documents.

Plan for a Smooth Conversion and Migration

Beware of the benefits-only approach to platform conversion. You can talk and talk about easier file access, more productivity, and seamless collaboration. But you can lose trust if you don’t acknowledge the potential pain of making a big change. Any major conversion or adoption needs to include careful planning on the front end and empathetic communication throughout.

A smooth migration also helps reassure employees that their files are safe and accounted for. MigrationWiz makes it easy to plan and execute any size file migration and includes features to customize your project to the needs of your organization. It’s easy for internal IT teams to learn and use, but also a top choice of MSPs and consultants who use it to deliver successful migrations for their clients.

Preparation is Key

A file share migration will go most smoothly with careful planning. Make a plan for what goes where. This starts with a rigorous review of how files are currently stored. Files that belong to a single user, even if they plan to share them with others, should be mapped to their personal OneDrive. A file or folder intended for team collaboration should move to a shared library where team members have access to it by default.

After thoroughly examining your existing file landscape, you may determine that it’s necessary to do some cleanup before moving forward with a migration. Taking this step not only makes the migration run more smoothly, but it can also save on storage costs and help end-users increase their productivity. Depending on the size and structure of your organization, this cleanup phase may involve putting together a team of representatives from each department tasked with making decisions about file structure.

Preparation also includes setting up the target Azure environment. Your understanding of the current file share landscape will help you estimate Azure storage needs and costs. This is the information you’ll need to purchase an Azure subscription and create an account.

One more step before migration: preparing the destination environment. This involves pre-provisioning your users in Microsoft 365, setting the permissions that will be used for the migration, and creating a destination site or subsite and document library within SharePoint.

File Share Migration Made Easy

Once all the prep work has been done, it’s time to migrate. MigrationWiz is not just one of the most full-featured, flexible, and secure migration tools; the people behind MigrationWiz are committed to your success. Whether you’re doing your first migration or migrating file shares for the first time, you and your team can access learning materials and migration guides that will take you through every step.

Get all the details for executing a flawless migration in BitTitan’s Migration Planning and Strategy Guide. This comprehensive guide includes links to Knowledge Base articles, FAQs, and other resources that will answer your questions. You can also access free tutorial videos on a wide range of migration topics, including OneDrive to SharePoint Migration Setup.

The steps to completing a file share migration with MigrationWiz are easy to learn: Create a document project, add items, verify credentials, then either migrate all at once or in stages. There are a few more steps to take post-migration to maintain a secure environment. These include removing access to source file shares, decommissioning the file server, and deleting Azure blog containers created during the upload. All of this is detailed in BitTitan documentation and educational materials.

Embracing the New Environment

User engagement is an important part of any major migration, especially one that involves a new platform or new work processes. Your migration plan should include start-to-finish communications that inform users about what to expect, the benefits of the change, and who to contact for help. More detailed communications should go to key stakeholders, and this can include stats on the success of the migration from your MigrationWiz console.

If users aren’t familiar with OneDrive or SharePoint, you can plan to provide training to help them be more confident and productive post-migration. This is another time to engage department representatives. They can act as ambassadors to help troubleshoot any concerns about seemingly misplaced files or permission changes.

Moving file shares to the cloud may be inevitable, but it should be done with careful consideration and the very best tools. A MigrationWiz documents migration will get files to the right destinations quickly and securely. If you need help planning or executing a file share migration, contact BitTitan today.

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