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How to Properly Enact a Major Software Version Upgrade

Legacy upgrades are among the biggest temptations and most common mistakes of business software management. The software your business tech stack is made of sometimes needs to have a software version upgrade. If you update regularly, this may only require a few small patches at a time, eventually leading to full version iterations.

But if your company (or your software brand) experiences a large gap in time and changes between software updates, legacy upgrades can be dangerous. Laying software changes over your existing data puts the data at risk of corrupting, being deleted, or being exposed during the transition. That’s why there are a few important best practices for a secure and efficient major software version upgrade.

We’re about to highlight the process step-by-step.

1. Create a Restore-Point Comprehensive Backup

First things first, make a backup. Before you make any changes to your working business infrastructure, make sure you can return to this “save point” any time you need to. Ask your IT team to make as comprehensive a backup as they can. If this update will only affect a section of your network or an aspect of your business data, you can isolate those affected systems to back up and update.  But it’s always better safe than sorry. So have a recent backup-recovery save of your entire business system before any changes are made.

2. Remove Unnecessary Data and Extensions

Upgrades are your best opportunity to trim the fat from your systems. If you have data bloat, why transfer data you don’t need? If you have extensions or APIs that you don’t use, there’s no need to grab and integrate their upgrades. Identify anything unnecessary and either mark it for transfer exclusion or delete it now.

3. Take an Upgrade-Point Comprehensive Backup

Once you’ve trimmed unnecessary data and extensions, take another backup. This will be the point from which you upgrade, the cleanest possible version of your servers, databases, network, and endpoint configurations. The previous backup is a safeguard in case any changes in the trimming happen to result in complications.

4. Build a New Up-to-Date Tech Stack

Here’s the most important step: Build a new tech stack with the latest versions of all your business software. When the upgrade is too big a jump for patches, it’s always safer to transfer your data into a freshly configured environment rather than try to update the data inside your software version upgrade.

So upgrade your software by installing the latest versions. If you need to, restart with a whole new operating system installation and new downloads of all the software inside your business tech stack. If you’ve been having elusive technical problems or have multiple programs to update, this is the smartest approach.

5. Add Updated Extensions and APIs

Once your new tech stack is installed and configured, it’s time for the extensions. Most businesses use more than a few add-ons and APIs to make their tech-stack do exactly what the brand needs. These are second-level installations and go in at this stage. Make sure they are all properly configured and working together before continuing.

6. Tighten and Customize Security

Now, before you bring your data into the mix, tighten security. Make sure the firewalls are closed, only approved ports are listening, and all your data storage is thoroughly encrypted. If the environment is safe before your data is imported, there is minimal risk of exposure during the transition process.

7. Migrate Your Data Into the Structure

Now that your environment is ready, move the data. This transition may not be as simple as previous patches or upgrades. Ideally, the data structure from previous versions is similar enough for a direct copy. However, if necessary, there are programs that can help you to classify your existing data and enter it in the most functional way into your new software stack.

8. Test the Whole Structure’s Integrity

All of the mechanical steps of your upgrade are complete. But in business tech, nothing is done without tests. Run penetration tests, performance tests, and practical functionality tests to ensure that the entire tech stack and data integration are ready for the demands of your business’ everyday use.

9. Go Live

Finally, you’re ready to push the upgraded system  to your facilities and teams. This process will depend on your business, industry, and individual tech stack. But with backups and a working complete system, each network should be able to upgrade smoothly with these resources.

Contact us to learn more.

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