Migrating to Office 365? Here is What You Need to Know

Migrating to Office 365

A migration to Office 365 shouldn't be taken lightly. Migrating to the cloud requires a significant shift of corporate infrastructure. From on-premise to a fully cloud solution, there are considerations that need to be made regarding technology, training, and integration. Before you commit to the migration, you should commit to a migration strategy. There are three major ways that you can migrate to Office 365.

Choosing Your Migration Strategy

  • Staged migration. A staged migration is ideal for larger organizations. Staged migrations are initiated through either the Exchange Management Shell or the Exchange Admin Center. An automated process, staged migration will bring over the accounts in sections. As the migration occurs, the accounts will be synced. Staged migration is designed to reduce the amount of business interruption throughout the process of migration. 
  • Cutover migration. Cutover migrations are performed via the Exchange Admin Center Migration dashboard. The system handles a significant amount of the migration on its own; it will pull the mailbox accounts and other data from the on-premise server and upload it to the Office 365 cloud service. The cutover process is generally only useful for systems that have fewer than 2,000 mailboxes and it may take quite a long time. Consequently, it may involve some level of business interruption.
  • Hybrid migration. A hybrid migration is performed by creating user accounts in Office 365 and then copying the content from the on-premise server to the cloud. Hybrid migration is a simple option that is designed for organizations that either aren't moving all of their users or who want to be able to run their existing exchange servers alongside the cloud implementation. 

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Tips for Migrating to Office 365

  • Carefully consider all your add-ons. Each add-on comes at an additional cost and additional complexity during operations and migration. You can add more features onto your Office 365 installation as needed after adoption, so you don't need to rush to include everything right away.
  • Remember the logistics of the data migration process. It isn't enough to know exactly how the migration process is going to work; you also need to set aside contingency plans in the event of a business or system interruption. Keep in mind that your migration is going through the Internet, so it will be only as fast or as slow as your Internet access is. 
  • Upgrade your on-premise specifications for hybrid solutions. If you're going to operate an on-premise server in addition to Office 365, there are certain prerequisites your system will need to have. You don't want to complete a full data migration only to find out that you can't connect. 

Are you concerned about your organization's migration to Office 365? Office 365 offers some tremendous benefits for organizations looking to improve productivity and collaboration, but the migration does have to be handled correctly to avoid any data loss or business interruption.

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Why Small Businesses Should Choose Office 365 vs Exchange

39206838_sFor almost all businesses, nothing gets done without an email being sent - from scheduling meetings and reviewing presentations, to checking in on a contract or connecting with a potential prospect. That means choosing the right email platform for your small business is one of the most important decisions you will make.

Two of the most common options for email are Exchange and Office 365. While both do provide numerous benefits to end users, as well as organizations as a whole, Office 365 has two key benefits that makes it a “no-brainer” choice for most small businesses - reduced support strain on your IT resources and lower cost. 

But before we can discuss why Microsoft Office 365 is the better solution, first it’s important to understand what the difference is between Office 365 vs Exchange. Exchange is a secure, on-premises mail server that can provide support for instant messaging programs, as well as other applications, while giving a business full organizational control of the system. On the other hand, Office 365 is Microsoft’s hosted email exchange offering, which resides off-site from an organization’s physical location and is supported by Microsoft.

Reducing Support Strain on IT Resources

While the notion of having your email servers on-site and readily accessible with Exchange might seem appealing from an administrative perspective, it often results in an undue burden on IT support staff. Whether that’s a lack of the expertise required to keep your Exchange server up and running smoothly or more pressure when it comes to handling issues such as disaster recovery and storage.

Choosing Exchange might make sense for a large-scale organization, but given the amount of oversight and maintenance required, it can be more of a curse than a blessing for the majority of small businesses. Office 365 brings with it Lync, SharePoint and Exchange 2010, without the rigorous server infrastructure demands, while also being underwritten by Microsoft’s team of support engineers who can work with your on-site IT personnel or your managed services provider.

Making the Cost Effective Choice

While they say money isn’t everything, it’s a big something, when it comes to the bottom line of any business. So in addition to fewer headaches, Office 365 is quite simply the more cost effective choice for the small business owner. Why? Beyond the obvious cost reductions associated with not having to purchase and maintain on-site hardware and facilities for an Exchange server, Office 365 is able to provide more just based on the “economy of scale” that the cloud provides.

Final Thought

Given the importance of email, you should research your options as possible in order to make the right decision for your organization. That said, if you feel as if you lack the expertise required, consider reaching out to your local managed services provider, who will have a team of professionals with a wealth of experience at your disposal and ready to help.

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