What we learned about application migration to the cloud in 2014
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BitTitan, an office productivity platform specializing in cloud-based data migration, recently announced the release of a new product: BitTitan Desktop Deployment. The tool onboards and configures a company's existing Outlook client with Office 365
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Geeman Yip, BitTitan CEO, said the solution was primarily meant for companies that need to lock down their emails in order to protect themselves from phishing scams and other security breaches. "When you lock down these environments, you have to have some sort of mechanism not only to deploy and configure all your employees, but also to configure people's devices remotely," Yip explained.
Desktop Deployment was created in response to this need. It can be used either as an independent technology or as a feature of MigrationWiz, BitTitan's data migration tool. "Our Desktop Deployment product actually goes and configures people's desktops to Outlook and configures that to your new cloud service at the time that the IT administrators specify," said Yip, adding that the solution was therefore ideal for -- but not limited to -- companies with remote employees.
Yip explained which companies might benefit from an office productivity tool such as this. Alternatively, he discussed what types of companies might do better to look elsewhere, and offered advice on developing adequate selection criteria for tools that better suit their migration needs.
Migrating data without locking it in
According to Yip, the all-important consideration that too often goes unexamined by companies taking on migration services is offboarding. Companies are unpredictable. The service provider could have an outage. It could stop meeting the company's requirements. The company could expand. All these contingencies should be taken into account from the outset. That way, the data doesn't get locked into a hosted provider that cannot meet the company's needs.
"The first thing companies need to consider is how big their organization is because that's going to dictate what services [they need]," Yip explained. The other consideration that companies often overlook is how much they plan to grow. This will dictate what services companies want their provider to offer, even if they don't need those services yet. "The fact is, if I move to a provider today that only does email, but then later on I need instant messaging or some sort of collaboration integrated with my email application, then that should have an effect on what provider I choose," Yip said.
As to the providers, BitTitan has several competitors that provide the more traditional suite of migration tools. These might be a good fit for large companies with complex IT infrastructures that need a lot of sophisticated features. Yip mentioned Quest Software -- recently acquired by Dell -- and Binary Tree. MigrationWiz, along with Desktop Deployment, would be more suited for small to medium-sized businesses(SMBs) that are growing quickly and need a lot of flexibility. "MigrationWiz is an enablement solution, so an organization's data is no longer held hostage by a provider. We allow you to use a provider and, if you're not satisfied, offboard you to another provider or back onto your on-premises environments."
Lowering the cloud barrier for small businesses
According to Yip, BitTitan has lowered the barrier to entry for SMBs looking to migrate to the cloud. "You don't have to understand how email servers operate. You literally come to a website. You say, 'I'm on-premises, I'm now moving to a service like Office 365,' and then you say, 'Go' and we essentially copy all your emails up." Indeed, many such businesses have used BitTitan as a jumping off point to the cloud. Over one million mailboxes in more than 90 countries have been transitioned to the cloud by BitTitan's migration tools.
While BitTitan's MigrationWiz is primarily targeted at SMBs, the Desktop Deployment tool is more geared toward medium to larger businesses whose email is controlled by IT. It's also particularly useful for companies that have a dispersed workforce, since the tool can configure and migrate emails that are turned off. "This is ideal for companies with a remote or dispersed workforce, eliminating the need to travel to each location to configure individual desktops," Yip explained.
As to the types of industries that might benefit from this kind of data migration tool, Yip said all qualify. He has worked with startups, Fortune 100 companies and big government deployments. "When you talk about being government-certified, or HIPAA-certified, we actually have the same standards. Our data centers are certified." This is the case for most cloud services. In fact, there is little proof that moving to the cloud is more or less secure than keeping data in on-premises databases.
In other words, the primary selection criteria should be: Does the provider offer tools and services that the company needs? Is the provider flexible enough to offboard data, should the situation arise? Does the provider give the company room to grow? If the answer is "yes" to all three questions, then the partnership is worth having. If not, the company would do best to keep looking.