How To Migrate Massive File Trees To Box

If I asked you to name the first cloud application that popped into your head, what would you say? Would it be something like Box or Dropbox?

Okay, maybe a file sharing service isn’t at the top of everyone’s list, but it’s often close. Check out this quick Facebook survey I asked a friend of mine to do:

Facebook survey for cloud apps

File sharing has quickly become one of the tentpoles of our modern cloud computing culture, especially in professional settings. Millions of users, tired of slow VPNs/fileservers and annoying backup systems, are flocking to these easy-to-use web apps where they can easily share files across all their devices and with all their friends and colleagues.

It’s at the point where if you’re starting a new business today, there’s almost no reason to buy a physical file server.

However, let’s focus on those businesses that have been around for a while. They’ve amassed thousands of gigabytes of data from years of operations. And they know that the time is right to make the move to cloud storage for all its benefits: collaboration, access, backup, and archive.

You’ve bought into it, and you’ve gone with what may be the best file sharing service for businesses like yours: Box. But watch out. Just because you’ve laid down your credit card, doesn’t mean you’re home free.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Migrating Shared Drives to Box

Migration – Cloud Storage’s Dirty Little Secret

The process of migrating data to the cloud is often an afterthought that follows the selection of the vendor and the purchase of the platform. Unfortunately, a large scale data migration project can take some time to perform. If you have a terabyte of data you could be looking at a week or more before your new system is up and running. During this time your business is carrying on its work and no doubt continuing to add gigabytes of information.

So how do you know how far your migration is from being completed? With Box, you can access your account with a temporary password to see the progress. However, you will not be able to move or copy any files or folders or conduct any bulk uploads until the content migration is complete.  Box has some more suggestions that you can follow for file transfer methods if necessary, but no matter what you do it’s going to be an ordeal.

See How It’s Done:
Cloud FastPath Box Migration Demo

Here at Tervela, we have developed a better solution called Cloud FastPath that makes it easy to transfer lots of information to the cloud quickly and securely. If you are trying to move a large repository, we suggest you give it a try! And while you are at it, here are five other tips that will help you complete your cloud migration successfully.

Tip 1: Make Sure To Plan Enough Time

Migrating your data to the cloud can take time to complete. Cloud FastPath gives you a big performance boost, but without it you could be looking at some very long times indeed. Take the time to plan this into your schedule and utilize holidays if possible to avoid unnecessary downtime. Upload speed is a critical factor in determining how long you will be waiting for files to transfer. Take a speed test to get specific information and iterate from there, building in some wiggle room for the occasional unexpected problem. Ultimately, you’re going to want to factor in any possible issues and temper your own expectations.

Tip 2: Have A Cutover Plan

Develop a plan for when you’ll have users stop using your old system and start using the new one. Make sure to test all of your systems before making the cut-over. It is critical at this point to do an integrity check and make sure all files match as well. Once the cut-over is about to begin, be sure to communicate it to all the people in your organization. If you are feeling ambitious, you could consider setting up a sync process, which allows employees to keep working with the old file server while the transfer is occurring, and afterwards. That could help you wean people off the systems they are used to.

Tip 3: Pay Attention To Permissions

Windows and Linux file systems have more options for sharing and permissions than current cloud systems do. Local operating systems use various permissions schemes for files such as read/write/execute, hidden files, system files, and access control lists (ACLs).  With all these options file security can become complex, especially if different parts of your organization are using permissions in different ways. Within the cloud, file security is generally simpler. Migration to the cloud could be a good opportunity to rationalize your current file permissions and root out anything that’s unnecessary or inconsistent. Use these recommendations from Box to see how they can help. And if you’re ready for something more powerful, look to the dry-run feature within Cloud FastPath that allows you to spin through all your different security settings and other information prior to the migration, so you can make intelligent decisions on how to map permissions into the cloud as data streams over.
Read the next post: How to efficiently migrate your file system permissions, users, and collaboration groups to Box

Tip 4: Rationalize and Reorganize Your Directory Structure

Due to the highly decentralized nature of organizations and the huge amounts of data they store, directory structures within file systems can become very messy over time. Migrating to the cloud can be the perfect opportunity to organize the structure of your data, workgroups, and nested directories. Take the time to archive out-of-date materials while simplifying the structure of your active directories. Here are some tips from Box on how to go about organizing folder structure for your business.

Tip 5: Sequence The Migration In Stages

In some cases, there may be an event that will induce a quick migration (a hard drive becomes corrupted, forcing a last-ditch move). But generally you will be able to plan a proper amount of time for your migration. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Instead, migrate your data in stages. Move the data in a team-by-team fashion, to learn and correct the process before moving on to more people. By sequencing the migration you’ll be able to balance risk and keep everything under control throughout the entire process.


Migrating your company’s data can be a time consuming process, especially if you have been in business for many years and accumulated masses of data. By getting the right process and tools in place, you can set yourself up for a successful migration to the cloud. This will allow your company to embrace new working practices and better technology to be effective going forward.

See Our Box Migration Demo