How to Migrate Encryption Key Managers Smoothly

If your current encryption key manager just isn't cutting it, it might be time to move on. Make sure to migrate key managers smoothly with this helpful guide.

Using an encryption key manager is a powerful tool for managing your credentials, but you're also  you're holding the security of your entire company in your hands. When upgrading to a new one, whether that is because the old one wasn't performing or just wasn't what you needed, you need to ensure that the migration process runs smoothly. The security of your company's data is at stake.

Encryption is essential for any organization. Why? Your data is incredibly valuable. Your company files, customer information, trade secrets, and employee data are a veritable jackpot for thieves. If your files are unencrypted, their vulnerable.

Your encryption key manager protects, stores, and backs up those keys. You need a solid key manager to make sure that your data always stays accessible while still being protected. So, if your current key manager isn't measuring up, it might be time to migrate to a new one.

This article will show you how to migrate encryption key managers smoothly to make that process as painless as possible.

Analyze Your Key Management Needs

Early planningwill save you a lot of trouble down the road. You've got reasons for wanting to upgrade your encryption key manager, so what are they?

Do an analysis of your key management system. Specify what exactly are the problems with the software. What provisions are essential for whatever new software you upgrade to? Are the major issues with your last manager security, pricing, or support? Answering this question honestly will guide your next purchase.

Questions you could ask include how many keys your organization needs, and how frequently you will be making key requests. Different key management providers will charge different amounts for this, so find one with pricing that suits your needs. Also consider how your data is stored. If it is mostly on the cloud, for example, your key management needs will be different.

When creating this plan, you should also be thinking about the future of your organization. Predict what your encryption key manager needs will be five years from now. Will the manager you're looking at be able to provide what you need at every stage of your company's development while avoiding encryption sprawl?

Really look at the ways that data is being used and stored within your organization. You will need to determine what data is most important, most complex, and most at risk.

Build Your Key Manager Migration Plan

Once you fully understand your organization's key management needs and found a provider that suits them, you can plan your migration process. Find the migration procedures for your specific encryption key manager. This will make sure that you fully understand any of the particular terminology and usages with that specific provider. Regardless of the key manager you select, there are some general things you will need to do.

  1. First, suspend any background tasks. Keep in mind that the keys likely won't be accessible during the migration procedure, so it may be wise to do the procedure outside of business hours.

  2. Next, create a backup of all your data. This may be a time-consuming task, but invaluable in case anything goes wrong with the migration. Make sure that you have already tested your backup procedure to ensure there are no issues and that everything backs up correctly.

  3. Pick some test data. You don't want to try to migrate everything at once and go through all of that time and effort, only to realize that you have done something wrong.

  4. From here, you will want to follow the specific instructions provider by your encryption key manager service. If you have any difficulties, you should be able to reach out to their support team.

Test That it Works

Once you've migrated your test data, you will need to prove that everything works.

Analyze how the migration and optimization process went. Once you feel confident that you have sorted out any issues, you can begin the full migration procedure.

Do this gradually, and run it in parallel with your previous software until you are absolutely sure that nothing was missed during testing. Then, once you know everything is perfect, your migration is complete!

Common Data Migration Problems

Unfortunately, the process often doesn't run as smoothly as that. In fact, 85% of businesses that engage in a data migration project end up having problems with it. So you've got to expect some problems along the way. The main human causes of data migration problems are lack of collaboration between parts of the business, lack of standardization of data within the organization, and poor system design.

As far as technical causes, issues tend to arise when systems are overly complex, or operational dependencies hamper a smooth data transition. If you're unable to find a time for a system outage in order to migrate your data, it could lead to errors. Plus, technical dependencies and unplanned for incompatibilities across software can create huge headaches for you during the migration. You'll need to make sure that all your software is upgraded fully and research any known compatibility issues.

Finally, the larger the scale of your data, the more difficult it can be to manage the migration.

If you are aware of these potential problem areas  ahead of time, you can try to account for them in your migration plan. While things may arise that you did not foresee, planning for the unexpected can help you get your migration plan back on track when things go wrong. Plus, having reliable backups will remove some of the stress that data migration problems can cause. At least that you know your data is still safe and protected, regardless of what goes wrong.

Conclusions

Now you know what you need to look for in an encryption key manager, and how you can plan your own migration process. The most important thing to remember when migrating to a new key management provider is to plan ahead. Building a solid migration plan before you do anything will save you a lot of trouble down the road. It could even save you from massive data losses, so don't skip the planning stage! Use these tips to migrate to a key manager that will truly meet all your needs and feel secure in your data storage!