Fast Company

GET OFF OF THAT CLOUD

Storage vendors can box you in if you try to switch. How to avoid the data trap.

A decade ago, storing data in the cloud seemed risky. Today, cloud-based, software-as-a- service applications such as G Suite, Office 365, and Salesforce have made outsourcing data storage simple. But not risk-free. One big issue: With each of them, data is stored in a format that won’t work well outside that application. It can make switching from one to another tricky.

Just ask the Intern Group, a startup that places students in international internships. In 2016, the company consolidated its data. Some was in Google Sheets, some was in the customer-relationship management application Highrise, and some was in a second CRM app, Contactually. Intern Group wanted to consolidate within Vtiger, yet another cloud CRM app.

Moving databases was hard

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