Minimize Windows 10 migration headaches by freeing data from devices

Three core reasons to make the switch before you make the migration

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This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

Organizations and consumers are adopting Windows 10 at record rates. Nearly 350 million devices will be upgraded in the first year of release, with millions more after that. While the security, management, and mobility improvements in Windows 10 have already propelled some organizations to proceed with an upgrade, the end of Windows 7 support in January 2020 is a looming deadline for all.

Operating system migrations require detailed planning, as every part of the end-user computing “stack” – hardware, applications, data, and user profiles -- needs to be assessed before proceeding. From an organizational productivity standpoint, maintaining the availability of the data people need to do their jobs is a top concern. 

By freeing the data from devices before migrating, IT can help make future OS upgrades and migrations easier. Backing up hard drives onto network shares or encouraging users to save their files to a central location instead of on their local computer has been a best practice for years, but important documents still end up trapped on individual laptops, leaving that data at the mercy of whatever hard drive failure happens next. Enterprise File Sync and Share Solutions have emerged as a modern way of managing part of this problem, but there are hundreds of solutions from which to choose in that space.

Here are the top three reasons to free data from devices, and what to consider when choosing solutions:

1. Security and manageability.  Most organizations secure files at rest on managed devices through encryption of user hard drives and controlled access to the device and authorization on the network. But the real risk for data in today’s world is when someone needs to access or share that data outside of those confines. How do you secure a document once it leaves the protection of a managed device or your network? When choosing a solution:You need to be able to secure data at every step in the process, and this is more easily done when data is secured and managed separately from the device.

2.  Separating data from desktops and applications creates flexibility. By breaking the dependency between the data and the device and managing each separately, you now have the flexibility to present all the data sources that are important to your users in a single view. Cloud-based file sync and sharing solutions solve part of this problem, but most organizations need to provide user access not only to cloud repositories but also to network shares and shared document libraries. When choosing a solution: Make sure you can provide users with access to all of the locations your organization might be storing data.

3. Workforce Mobility and Productivity.  Because of the flexibility provided by securing and managing the data layer separately, users can now access their data from any device. By choosing a solution that can present multiple data sources in a single view, you can surface and provide mobile access to everyone easily and efficiently. When choosing a solution: Consider your users and the policies of your organization. If users are allowed to bring their own devices to work, make sure appropriate apps exist for those platforms.

While the benefits of separating data from devices go beyond easing Windows 10 migrations, you can use the migration process as a catalyst for change.  

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