Planning a successful migration from Exchange to Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 a number of products and services that can be managed easily by accessing a simple online portal. One can add users manually, import CSV, and single sign-on facility for Office 365 is also available with a local Active Directory using Microsoft ADFS. These are one of the many reasons why organizations are switching to Office 365 platform.
It is no easy feat while migrating to Office 365, especially for large organizations which have many users and resources. And if Office 365 is in consideration for replacing exchange on-premises or other clients then the below-given tips and office 365 implementation checklist should be followed closely as it will make the process stress-free.
Research is the Primary Step
Performing a research based on Office 365 specifications, features, how it works, basic requirements which will certainly give you a good idea and expectations before, during and after the migration process. It is the first step in office 365 implementation checklist for Exchange to Office 365 migration. One should take into consideration that how the change will affect your daily business operations when you move to a cloud-based platform such as Office 365. There is a distinction between functionality, features, and interface among the traditional MS Office programs and Office 365 Applications which should be kept in mind before the migration.
Make a checklist
A checklist is as important as technical aspects of the migration process. A migration checklist should contain elements such as Office 365 training, users must be informed beforehand, and to gather feedback about migration to facilitate your whole process as it is critical to the migration’s success. Start by drafting a step-by-step plan i.e. office 365 implementation checklist clearly stating the various migration phases and then keep refining the plan until everything is covered.
Seamless transition demands synchronization between active directory domain and Office 365 account by using Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory Synchronization tool which comes third on our office 365 implementation checklist. Also, it is advised to point mail exchanger records of your organizations from Exchange to Office 365 as new emails will then be sent and received directly to the new Office 365 mailboxes. Beware as email synchronization misconfiguration during the migration could flag emails as spam and will disrupt complete communication process.
Migration Type Selection
Migration plans are different based on organizations need and should be chosen carefully and those that fit your need while performing Exchange to Office 365 Migration. Office 365 migrations can be performed by following these three methods:
- Cutover migration – This method is a single provisioning while the transfer of mailboxes, users, mail groups, contacts from Exchange to Office 365. It has one shortcoming that cutover process can handle only up to 2,000 mailboxes, and the time taken for migration vary according to the number of users and mail volume.
- Staged migration – This method is well suited for migration of Exchange server mailboxes to Office 365 for organizations that cannot halt operations for even hours and due to this, it processes over a much longer period of time. Staged migration allows you to migrate mailboxes in smaller batches over a much longer period of time.
- Hybrid migration – Choose this method if there are resources which need to be on-premises while others may be migrated to Office 365. It is perfect for organizations having more than 2,000 mailboxes and provides access to both local Exchange servers and Office 365 simultaneously.
Testing Migration Process
This is the last and most important step of our office 365 implementation checklist for migration of Exchange to Office 365. Once the migration process is divided into different phases, you can design a testing procedure for every phase. The testing process includes testing over a test account by migrating a small amount of data, sending and receiving emails, and trying out applications, which ensures that the applied settings are working as per expectation and the office 365 implementation checklist is followed. It is advised to test more and more components before actually migrating to the platform as the chances of issues while migration gets eliminated.
There are solutions available for migrating mailboxes from Exchange to Office 365 using Cutover, Hybrid, and Staged Migration. After planning the migration there are third party tools available which provide simple and secure migration environment namely, Exchange to Office 365 Migration. Engineered so that it moves the complete data from On-Premises Exchange Server to Office 365. Advanced features of this tool include Exchange Mailbox Mapping, View Active Directory Details, Apply Email Filter, Empty Exchange Server, etc.
We conclude that one should follow the office 365 implementation checklist stated above and then proceed for migration process either manually or by employing a third-party tool such as Office 365 Migrator to ease the process of moving Exchange server to Exchange Online.