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Cloud Solutions - The Future of Data

Cloud computing is the future of business security, scalability, and data organization – it is just that simple. If you have ever used Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint, or even iCloud to store images or videos, you have already used a cloud. A cloud, much like its namesake, oversees information in a virtual environment, theoretically allowing members from your organization to access information whenever they please, from wherever they please. Migrating data and information to a cloud brings many benefits when compared to existing on-premise (local) files. Some benefits include, but are not limited to scalability, ease of upgrade, data flexibility, security, and customization. Before one understands the benefits of cloud migration, it is essential to understand how cloud migrations work.





What is cloud migration?


Cloud migration can be a taken as a complex term. Fortunately, our Solutions Team at DE has simplified the process, all while using industry standard practices. Essentially, the first step in working with clients to migrate data is understanding what the overseeing goal and objective of the migration is. From this point, a migration strategy can be created, and migration planning can begin. Upon understanding how the data will move, data grouping occurs, where applications, files, and other supporting dependencies are organized as multiple units, so that there is easier access to all of the resources. Following the grouping process begins the industry standard process of ETL (extract, transform, and load). During the ETL process, the bulk of the data is migrated on to the cloud instance. Digitalembrace specializes in Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud migrations,





Extract


Extracting data from a pile of information is one of the most pivotal steps in the data migration process. Typically, information is extracted from various sources, including CRM systems, data servers, spreadsheets, and legacy systems. Using the streamlined ETL process, businesses can be assured that all data is preserved during the migration including, reports, accounts, workflows, dashboards, and so forth.


Transform


As file types, workflows and information are not readily usable by all cloud platforms, it is crucial that data is transformed into the correct formats so that it is ready to upload. During the transform portion of the migration standardizing, deduplicating, and verifying occur, ensuring readiness of the data for the cloud.


During the transform process, data scrubbing and data cleansing also occur. For a successful migration, the target system (the new cloud instance) must receive accurate data from the source system. For this reason, the transform process is crucial to the migration as it ensures data integrity between the source system and the target system.


Data transformations are best practiced to occur as close to the source as possible. For example, it is highly recommended for data to be cleansed in the source system itself, rather than occurring in the target system. Digitalembrace stresses the important of not transforming data outside of the source system. The owner(s) of the data ultimately decide how the data is transformed into the instance. In other words, the data owner will have the ability to choose how certain fields will be migrated into the cloud (i.e. will customer names be in the order of first name and then last name, or vice versa).


Load


Load is an iterative process using agile processes. During this portion of the migration, data is inspected and adaptations are made to smoothen the migration. The ETL process repeats until all of the data is validated and adapted for the cloud.


After multiple iterative migrations, legacy data is migrated onto the cloud instance. Following legacy data is the final in-flight migration, where all loops are closed and final verifications are made to ensure that all data is present and no key information is missing that could cause data linkage issues.



Why is this important?


Cloud migration helps organizations ensure that their data is safe and secure on a virtual keeping ground. In doing so, members from an organization have easier access to all the information they need from wherever they are. With the increasing norm of working from home due to pandemic-related protocols, cloud migration is an essential tool to allow for efficient and effective completion of tasks.


Scalable, Flexible & Upgradable


Digitalembrace’s custom (DeX) cloud solutions enable organizations to implement multiple programs within a single cloud instance. Essentially, DeX solutions oversee the operations of Dynamics 365 and use the features as an accelerator, allowing further customizability for our customers. Each program within a DeX instance can have unique business rules, process flows and data requirements. By shifting to cloud solutions, you ensure that your organization has the ability to incorporate pre-existing infrastructure to a new virtual environment, where costs are lower than maintaining expensive data centres. Beyond just savings, businesses using cloud servers develop the capability to scale their network seamlessly, allowing for quicker growth and customization in the long run.


According to a publication by Microsoft Office 365, cloud usage increased by nearly 230% from 2011 to 2016, which is now projected to be even higher in 2021. From this same study, a survey was conducted where nearly 82% of small businesses using cloud solutions noticed a significant decrease in costs when the migration was completed.


Security


In a 2016 survey, 94% of businesses who converted to cloud-based solutions reported security benefits since moving to an online instance. Generally speaking, cloud services maintain data in a more secure fashion than on-premise solutions. Most cloud platforms, including Cloud-based Dynamics 365, use role-based authentication. Thus, there is assurance of data protection and privacy. Using various encryption methods, information is housed in an environment that is customized to allow user privileges.


Unlike on-premise solutions, cloud services are frequently updated and come equipped with tough firewalls to protect information from unwarranted users. Cloud-based Dynamics 365 specifically uses three distinct security protocols: role-based security, record-based security, and field-based security. Role-based security ensures that specific data access can be set to various members of an organization. This access is under the control of administrators, who are able to change access levels when needed. Similarly, record-based security establishes which users have access to company records, and what they can do with this information. In Cloud-based Dynamics 365, record-based permissions are overseen on an entity level. However, there may be cases where certain fields within an entity contain sensitive data that should not be seen by all members of the organization. For these instances, field-based security allows administrators to control the access each user has to specific data fields.



DeX Cloud Solutions


Out of the box, Microsoft Cloud provides a sandbox environment for Dynamics 365 with certain limitations. These limitations include plug-in isolation, trusts, and data access. DeX solutions consist of plug-ins that execute within the sandbox isolation mode, and reports that are developed using FetchXml. In addition to this, DeX solutions offer web services to extend beyond Dynamics 365 as it relates to integrating web-portals, ministry applications, government services, and other third-party service providers.


Contact our team of specialists today to learn how Digitalembrace can be a part of your cloud migration.








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