Hosted mailing technologies with cloud-based communication, collaboration, and ease of access provided by Microsoft 365 or Office 365 have been highly recommended for business organizations. With Microsoft taking over the management and filtering of mailboxes and a straightforward setup and configuration, handling mail flow couldn’t get simpler.
Regardless of how effortless the whole process is, there will no doubt be a handful of considerations to make before a company decides to opt for cloud-hosted mailing. The first and foremost effects will be seen in the employees who might find it tedious to switch from legacy systems to hosted systems.
There’s also concern about privacy, security, and confidentiality when moving a personal service such as mailing to the cloud. However, once familiarized with the concepts, benefits, and usability of cloud technologies, people will certainly be less and less reluctant.
Migrating an in-house email organization to the clouds can be executed in several ways. When making the plans for migration, the reliability of cloud systems, optimization of data migration and the employees’ response to switch to a different platform are all to be carefully considered. First and foremost is the volume and time consumption of data migration.
Depending on the volume of data, varying lengths of time will be required to migrate the whole mailing system to the clouds and necessary provisions must be made to ensure service continuity during the migration. Next comes, the budget. Although cloud technologies offer a much more economic solution to different service requirements in the long run, companies must definitely consider setting aside enough funds to cover the initial expenses. Similarly, there are considerations of backing up data, compatibility of existing mailing servers and email systems
Overview of Migrating to Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 allows the migration of email; calendar and the user’s contact data from existing mailing servers such as Exchange Server or from IMAP-enabled email systems. Depending on the customer’s migration workload and migration requirements Microsoft offers the following migration methods:
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) allows the migration of the user’s mailboxes from other hosted email services like Yahoo Mail or even Gmail gave that these services support IMAP messaging. This migration simply requests for the user’s mails from the source mailbox and passes it on to the servers of Microsoft 365. During the migration, no other information is stored or migrated irrelevant to the mailboxes.
However, users are required to create a mailbox on their own in Office 365 prior to the migration from their current hosted mailing service. IMAP allows a maximum of 500,000 items (user’s email) to be migrated with a maximum size for a single email to be no greater than 35 MB. Read more about the details of Microsoft’s IMAP migration here.
If you’re planning on migrating all of your company’s mailboxes to Office 365, Microsoft recommends a staged migration. In an Office 365 staged migration, the entire organization’s mailboxes can be migrated in batches. This method is best suited for small and medium-sized businesses with just a little over 2000-3000 mailboxes that use the Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007. However, companies that use the Microsoft Exchange 2010 or even 2013 cannot use this method for migration.
A staged migration is executed in batches, migrating certain volumes of mailboxes at a time over a period of predefined time. During the migration, Office 365 users can still exchange emails among users that haven’t migrated yet but these users won’t able to access other resources like their contacts and calendar.
An Office 365 cutover migration allows users to migrate the on-premises to Office 365 over a short amount of time. This method can also be used to migrate the entire organization’s email and manage the user accounts. Although, a maximum of 2,000 mailboxes can be migrated using the Cutover migration, Microsoft recommends 150 mailboxes to be migrated as it can compromise the performance with any number beyond that.
The advantage of cutover migration is that it allows all the resources to be migrated which include contacts and distribution groups along with the mailboxes. However, once the migration is completed, everyone is obliged to use an Office 365 account so users will not be able to exchange email with other users who do not have an Office 365 account.
Finally, if you’re looking for a customized solution to your migration needs, Office 365 hybrid migration facilitates Office 365 services to be integrated with your own on-premise mailing servers. Therefore, you get the best of both worlds by being able to synchronize and manage your user accounts for Office 365 environment as well as the on-premise exchange servers.
A hybrid migration, allows users to move mailboxes in and out of Exchange Online. There’s the flexibility in deciding which mailboxes to host on-premise and which to have migrated over to the cloud. Similarly, Office 365 hybrid migration allows passwords to be synchronized across the premise allowing single sign-on making it far easier for the employees to access both the current exchange server and Office 365. The catch is that their needs be over 2,000 mailboxes for companies to be able to use hybrid migration and have Exchange 2010 or any later version of it. If not present, you’d be required to have at least one Exchange Service pack to deploy the hybrid migration.
Choosing the right migration plan requires the right kind of consultation from the right team, which is where we at Fridell Solutions are here to make things easier for you. Contact us and explore the endless possibilities and implementations of our cloud services and discover the migration plan best suited for your organization.