If you’re going to be migrating hundreds, if not thousands of Exchange/Office 365 mailboxes and the complexity of the task ahead leaves you feeling a little uncomfortable, then it is probably best to employ email migration experts who will point you in the right direction and manage the project for you.
This article suggests areas you need to be considering for a successful completion with your migration expert. I’m sure you will have many questions relating specifically to your requirement but we cover the more general considerations you need to be asking below.
Ask most IT professionals how to migrate all their users from one email system to another and they will instantly turn to google for advice. Simply put, it’s not a regular request that your typical IT person will hear. If you’re lucky, they may have completed a migration a few years back and if it went badly they are unlikely to say so.
What you need is an organisation who regularly migrate mailboxes between servers so they are familiar with most of the issues to be expected on route. Also, as mail servers are upgraded and new issues are created your email migration specialist is far more likely to know about the issues and react accordingly.
Detailed questions need to be asked and probably the most important questions are, how many mailboxes, how much data and when the mailboxes have to be moved by? These questions quickly establish the size of the project. Then there are the questions that affect the success of the project for example, do you use a third party anti-spam service, how much internet bandwidth do you have.
Mailbox migrations can be unpredictable therefore migration specialist will allow for this in their costings and will be able to price up a fixed price solution drastically reducing the risk of unforeseen costs. For example, a large company will most likely control and save money with a migration performed at a fixed cost as a migration cost overrun may be significant if you have thousands of users.
If you’re a small organisation you probably be more comfortable with a time and materials based solution and if it goes well, happy to reap the financial rewards. If it goes poorly, the costs probably won’t break the bank.
You need an email migration specialist that is clear about the costs of your migration, transparent about the possible issues and structured in their methodology so all involved know where they are. Choose a partner that has plenty of previous experience with migration planning and implementations.
For your migration, it’s important to have a single point of command and a deputy who is up to speed if your migration is of a significant size. Milestones for the project needs to be clear and can be affected by dependencies that may delay your project. Regular meetings with key individuals so that changes to the plan can be easily disseminated to all involved. How do they plan to communicate changes to the project and timelines? How will they distribute procedures to follow?
Does your provider understand the industry sector you are in and can they maintain your compliance from the start of your migration, through transition and through to the end? Will you be migrating historical mailboxes and can you justify the retention of the data you are migrating? What content of your current user’s mailboxes do you need to migrate?
With the implementation of GDRP in the UK, you will need to consider what information is acceptable to migrate and what should be deleted, permanently removed from your systems. Click To Tweet
Your chosen provider ideally should be able to assist within your industry sector. However, look for a provider who is familiar with common regulations, and who can deliver security measures when migrating and managing your email.
Types of Migration?
Your chosen provider should be able to advise on the type of migration you will need to carry out.
Cutover migrations are the simplest and quickest to carry out but if you have thousands of mailboxes to migrate cutting over to a new system probably won’t be practical. With a cutover you will also need to consider the down time involved and if your organisation is able to cope with this.
If you have more than 2,000 mailboxes, face strict compliance standards and/or have key business users who cannot afford downtime on their email you’ll want to consider a staged migrations or hybrid migrations. Both allow you to take more time planning and implementing your migration.
For both options you will migrate your users over a longer period of time which can be a few days to multiple weeks or even months. Staged migrations are used when you plan to terminate the use of the old system once the migration has completed while a hybrid migration is generally used to allow both email systems to co-exist however this method can also be used with the intention of closing down the original system as well.
As well as the tools provided by Microsoft to migrate your mailboxes there are also alternatives like ours which utilises Exchange Web Service by creating a web-mail connection to both the source and destination servers allowing for a less technically challenging and quicker migration.
Staffing your Migration?
If your current IT team does have someone who is familiar with completing mailbox migrations and have knowledge of hybrid cloud environments, there’s a fair chance they may be somewhat prepared to complete your Office 365 migration, but will they have the time?
With a brand new platform and end users that don’t necessarily know how to use Office 365 to its full potential, your IT team may be distracted from strategic initiatives in order to keep your office running smoothly.
We have talked about mailboxes but what about public folders and the time and tools that are required to migrate your folders. Has this been included in your migration costings? Is your current Exchange system 2013 or younger? Older platforms may push up your migration costs. Who is responsible for creating user accounts, security groups, address books, signatures, email footers, decommissioning your old email system and post migration support as well.
Tools for the job?
Migration Monster is the tool of choice for many migration experts as its simple to use with functionality that makes it easy to isolate problem mailboxes.
DO YOU KNOW – WHAT CAN MIGRATION MONSTER MIGRATE?
If you have any queries related to this, contact our migration experts.