The process of moving email to the cloud should not be taken lightly. It requires a lot of forwarding planning, time and resource. However, If you are set on migrating to Office 365 yourself, then we’d like to share some of the lessons we’ve learned to help ensure you have a smooth migration.

These are pointers that you might not have been aware of, so read on.

Managing archive data

Firstly you will need to understand that migrating Terabytes of email archives, compliance journals and PST files to Office 365 is no simple feat. PST data will need to be transferred from potentially 1,000s of individual users’ workstations scattered over your network .  Added to this, they will need to be moved whilst users are connected to the network. To avoid potential risk and disruption to the business our view is that the best way to migrate from archive to O365 is to work with a specialist archive email migration partner.  There’s plenty out there – but which has the best product? Your email migration partner will have done the research for you.

Backing up

Secondly, you will need to put in place a better back up solution for your email data. Within O365 there isn’t a “bolt in ” back up service. You can get access to an online archive but this should not be seen as a back up approach – it’s is an archiving approach only. An archiving policy that moves data that is over a year old to archive is not a long term back up solution and may not satisfy your compliance from a GDPR  perspective. Once an email has been deleted in O365 it can be recovered for up to 30 days in the deleted archive folder. After that time period it can no longer be recovered. There’s a similar situation with OneDrive and SharePoint. Documents deleted in a One Drive/SharePoint library can only be recovered for up to 93 days  – after that period it is lost for ever.

To get round this you will need to integrate a third party back up service which allows email data to be backed up to alternate location , which you can then easily recover in the event of data loss. As with public cloud solutions such as AWS and provide an online copy of all data that has been stored within  One Drive and or SharePoint.

Other things to consider

If you are using a hybrid server as part of your migration activity there are certain dependencies on your active directory to allow you to install the appropriate version of exchange to perform the migration. In that scenario you may not have been able to upgrade your active directory to the appropriate levels – that’s forest level and functional level – because you may have internal applications that require it to be at a lower level of Active Directory. You will also need to go through an evaluation exercise to can confirm what if any add ons are integrated with outlook or office suite and assess whether they can be supported within an O365 environment. From a subscription perspective – home and small business O365 subscriptions don’t allow Azure AD sync. Without this you can’t deploy a hybrid method – you will have to use a cutover migration.

Having second thoughts?

There’s no doubt moving your email platform to Exchange Online in O365 is a daunting prospect. And if you’ve never done it before you won’t be aware of some of the risks involved…until it’s too late. Getting third party support from a specialist Microsoft accredited email migration partner like Acora has many benefits.

  • We have carried out many email migrations for organisations large and small. We know the pitfalls, understand the risks.
  • We help you leverage the wider features of your subscription so you can deliver a better ROI
  • We offer a superior level of Microsoft support than you will get if you go it alone
  • We have researched the market for specialist tools and partners to assist with complex migrations
  • We know how to fully utilise the security features in Office 365 to secure your environment and address mobility
  • We can provide training to end users and ongoing support and management of your email platform if required

To find out more about our email migration service contact us today.


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