Transforming Network Drives – How do I get there?

Brian Tuemmler


Once you have cleaned and prepped your file shares, it is time to get painting. These are the steps you will go through to digitally transform your shared drives AND migrate content into your M365 environment when the time comes.

Step 1 – Prep – You can do this NOW!

• Using both policy and guidelines, apply the preparation recommendations found in this document. It is something you can do without spending money to buy systems, and it gets users involved in thinking about their content. Choose your battles in this area, not everyone will have the time to help cleanup. The ROI will be though improved speed and accuracy on IG, litigation, corporate investigations, DSARs, mergers, divestitures or any activity that involves transforming large volumes of unstructured content

• Recommended – Acquire and leverage file analysis tools or data mapping tools to find problem spots. You may already have these tools in house from the activities just mentioned, but as you will see, they add value in a lot of ways.

Step 2 – Analyze

• Create your strategy and deployment plan for M365 using expert advice, traditional methods, and best practices. Reach out to Infotechtion if you need help.

• Determine retention definitions and durations, sensitivity classification risks and rules, and other M365 design elements based on content functionality through use of file analysis tools

Step 3 – Cull and Govern

• Delete garbage. Set a policy, definitions, and appropriate communications, but go ahead and press that button. Your ROI for doing so will be decreased disaster recovery times, decrease cloud migration durations, destination volumes requirements, lower risk, and better compliance

• Govern applications, databases, compound content through isolation or conversion. Understand what will and won’t work in your cloud and be smart about where you put stuff

• Identify large volume, short retention content through classification and purge. Not all retention categories are equal in volume. Getting rid of expired records also saves time and space in your cloud migration efforts

• Classify remaining content for retention, value, and risk. Remember that content you put in the cloud in M365 will be seen and shared by many more people inside and outside of the company – that is, indeed, what it is for. Take the time to measure that risk and perhaps put more sensitive content in a more restricted place – perhaps not in the cloud.

Step 4 – Migrate

• Align cloud migration activities to your deployment strategy created in step 2. A lift-n-shift strategy assumes equal value and function of all content. Dedicated sites, however, only need relevant content to be migrated. Not all sites and users will be deployed at the same time so there is no reason to migrate all content at the same time

• Bucket similar function content from remote offices, multiple shares, legacy SharePoint and other locations. It is better to do this in small enough collections that you can manage keeping content current, even when your sources are changing daily

Apply necessary enterprise and local metadata and tags.With an established query structure for and auto classification both outside and inside M365 locations, you have the flexibility of deciding the best place to apply metadata. Once again, it depends on where you get the best accuracy, validation, and coverage

• Repeat.

Step 5 – Maintain

• Apply learnings from auto-classification of file analysis content to SharePoint online auto classification queries. There will be continual inputs to your need to classify content. Every new system, regulation, eDiscovery and review, will inform how information should be retained and protected both inside and out side M365

• Enable on-going auto classification for all new content created or migrated. From a point-forward perspective, leverage your auto-classification, labeling and all the latest capabilities coming out of Microsoft

What’s in it for me?

Your file systems have evolved over many years, so perfect consistency is hard to find. Making all the changes here might be a daunting task and may not be something you have time for prior to your FastTrack approach to migrations. What you get will be better, faster and cheaper than not doing it, for many of the same reasons we prep before painting.

  • More content will be classified more accurately with simpler queries and rules

  • The classification process will require less time to create and validate, increasing the overall speed of the project.

  • Less content will be left behind in the migration process, leaving less time required by workers to manually classify their content

  • A.I. ability to interpret patterns will be more accurate and cover greater collections

  • The number of use cases (retention, protection, reorganization, privacy risk mitigation) can be broader than would otherwise be manageable.

You can examine and prep your shares at a variety of levels to make the classification effort more accurate and useful. It is easier to tackle these issues before the cleanup or migration becomes the critical path in your M365 project.

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