Government Digital Services

Government Digital Services worked with CloudM to migrate over 2,500 accounts from Microsoft Exchange to Google G Suite. Darren Howell, Head of IT at GDS, tells us about how cloud migration worked for the cabinet office.

Reasons for migrating

I was already well aware of the benefits of using the cloud and felt it was a logical step for GDS to take. Although the decision was made shortly before I started, it was a decision that I wholeheartedly supported. I knew that opting for a managed service would be far more efficient and secure than having everything on our own estate.

Overcoming challenges

Although I didn’t have any concerns about the cloud itself, there were many others at GDS who had concerns about security. This meant that we had to go through a process of convincing key stakeholders that the cloud was the best option and that the migration of data to the cloud would be a secure process.

I think that there were many who were also scared of change; there is a strange assumption that the cloud is ethereal. When you explain that it’s simply a server that’s just housed elsewhere, with all sorts of added levels of security, people start to come around.

Understanding the security model and having the peace of mind that all data would be encrypted at every stage, even in transit, made the choice a no brainer!

What advice would you give to those thinking of migrating?

Set up your domain thoroughly first; identify exactly what you need and use a reseller to help you with this process. It also helps to have all the data harvested into one area, so that you can easily access and configure a cloud migration tool.

Finally, it’s important to invest in comprehensive training for all users. This should focus not just on how the new systems works, but also helping everyone to understand why the change is being made. Personally, I also recommend removing any old ways of working as everyone always defaults to what they already know unless it’s no longer an option!

Choosing the right partner

I would recommend being explicit about your requirements when choosing a partner. The CloudM team were the ideal fit for us, as their tools gave us autonomy to carry out a lot of the work ourselves while their expertise gave us the peace of mind and support when needed.

Their tool, CloudMigrator, is far superior to the in-built Google tools and allowed us to migrate multiple instances at once and monitor the process in real time. We also use their CloudManager tool on an ongoing basis and this is great for monitoring and managing our licenses.

The team was always innovating and helping us to find more efficient ways of working through the process, which was extremely valuable.ConclusionThe benefits and efficiencies that G Suite has introduced to our organisation mean that migrating to the cloud was absolutely the right decision for us.

The cloud offers us far higher levels of security than we had with a physical server as Google has thought of everything: from encryption in transit, to data storage and access. We now have peace of mind that our data is secure!

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