A migration to the cloud seems easy, until it isn’t.
Even in a world saturated with chat and conferencing applications, email remains the most essential form of communication in the business. The move from the email system to Microsoft’s Office 365 is typically done to increase availability and reduce the costs associated with maintaining and supporting the on-premises Exchange server. But there are also other business assets and data just as critical as email, including SharePoint and file servers. Since these systems can also be moved to the Microsoft cloud, more and more organizations are looking to consolidate the migration effort now that many of the tools available used to migrate email also support the transfer of these systems. to the cloud.
There are several third-party email migration tools, such as BitTitan MigrationWiz, SkyKick, and CodeTwo Office 365 Migration, which have additional functionality to handle other types of data. These tools transfer email from multiple sources, such as Google, POP3 / IMAP, on-premises Exchange tenants, and Office 365. They also support SharePoint and file server migrations. The benefit is that IT can plan a migration project that processes corporate email, files, and intranet content at the same time with a single migration platform. But to choose the right migration tool for the project, IT needs to consider several key steps and features that the migration platform should have.
Find support for other components beyond just email
Email is only part of the job when moving the email platform for today’s business environments. End users use several other components in their email client that may not be part of default email migrations, including email signatures, disclaimers, public folders, and shared mailboxes.
It is critical that the IT department properly prepare for the transition by selecting the right tool to move the content and configuration data that end users need. To avoid any issues with missing hardware after migration, administrators should take an inventory of content, its source, and future state in Exchange Online. The list may include these features and functions:
- archived emails or PSTs;
- electronic signatures and disclaimers;
- shared mailboxes;
- SharePoint calendars in Outlook;
- automatic responders or automatic responses;
- personal address book;
- OneDrive personal files;
- data from the server or network drives;
- SharePoint document libraries;
- SharePoint personal pages;
- Metadata of SharePoint documents; and
- versions of documents.
Check for compatibility issues between source and destination
After you have established all of the content types to migrate from the computer systems, the next step is to confirm support for the current versions of the source and destination systems. An organization can have a wide variety of versions for Exchange, SharePoint, and file servers.
IT should compare what they currently have or intend to migrate to see what the migration tool supports by looking at the vendor’s website. Other factors to consider before a purchase should include pricing and support options.
Carry out an environmental discovery and assessment
Before any migration, IT should examine the environment to identify any potential issues or risk areas with the source data. Mailboxes that may be too large, long file path issues, or invalid characters in file names are just a few examples of potential issues during migration that can lead to data loss.
Some tools perform pre-migration discovery and assessment to determine any risk areas or potential issues that might arise during the move. These types of preflight checks give IT time to resolve possible issues and attempt to resolve them before the scheduled content transfer to Office 365.
Make sure you combine management and support with migration
Because organizations vary in size, a migration can take weeks or months to move content from the source environment to the cloud destination. Administrators should consider this period and select the right migration tool that is user-friendly and supports remote deployment, remote management and a level of automation to free IT from the need to continuously monitor project progress.
A migration project is an opportunity not only to move systems and services from on-premises systems to Office 365, but also to redefine data governance policies and reorganize data. Before migration, companies should archive or delete unnecessary data on different systems. This job might include archiving mailboxes of users with large Outlook data files or saving files that may not have been viewed on the file server for more than five years.
All commercial migration tools have evolved to offer more than just email migration support. The ease of use and the automation of the migration process itself make these tools worth a closer look. Microsoft has its own set of free tools for to help with the migration of emails and SharePoint content to the cloud, but this type of project may be worth the extra cost – not only to access the migration tool, but also to have access to the experts who work for the vendor who can help if needed.