Get Your Head in the Cloud! 5 Steps for Migrating to Office 365

By 2017, the adoption of Office 365 is expected to more than double. And for business leaders, that means not only evaluating if Office 365 is the right choice for their organization, but also how to complete a secure migration.

While the process may appear daunting, don’t fear! We partnered with Osterman Research to guide you every step of the way. Read on for the five simple steps to achieve a successful migration to Office 365:

Steps

  1. Find a 365 Fit

No one Office 365 format fits all, and it’s important that you pick the best fit for your organization. When you’re considering migration, evaluate whether you want to complete an Office 365 hybrid migration, or a full migration to Office 365. With a hybrid migration, you’ll have the flexibility to maintain some capabilities on-premises (such as SharePoint servers holding older content), while moving other features (such as Exchange Online) to the cloud. Also, be sure that you are looking for security features that will help you deploy Office 365 with confidence.

With any Office 365 option, testing is key. Organizations should first prioritize which workload is most critical to migrate (whether that be email, file sharing, or another function). Once one operation has been moved successfully, it can pave the way for other migrations.

  1. Pick Your Price

Next, familiarize yourself with pricing options. Depending on the industry, you may have access to specialized pricing plans. In the education sector, for example, plans are created especially for students and faculty. For government organizations, tailored pricing options are available for Enterprise-level plans, and vary by geography. For commercial organizations, pricing options scale based on the size of an organization. You can even choose a mix-and-match approach, providing Office 365 for just the groups in the organization that regularly use Office apps.

Whatever your industry vertical, be sure to familiarize yourself with the pricing options for Office 365.

  1. Phone a Friend

Have you picked your plan, but not yet started with implementation? According to Osterman Research, between 23% and 42% of companies would use a third party vendor to help them through the migration process. Whether you select a hybrid or a full migration, you can enlist an experienced vendor to streamline the entire process. A vendor can provide tools for migrating .PST content to Exchange Online, move file share documents, notify you of incompatible files, and even redesign information architecture when necessary.

Some vendors can also provide cloud-based services that boost native capabilities of Office 365 or Office 365 hybrid systems. Email continuity, for example, can be secured for times when Office 365 experiences significant outages. Such outages occurred in 2014, and users without the right tools in place suffered through email routing issues, large quantities of undelivered messages, and few email recovery options.

  1. Check Connectivity & Compliance

Another critical consideration when migrating to Office 365 relies on a strong, solid network infrastructure. When you move a large amount of data off-premises to the cloud, stable Internet connectivity is key. Without it, you risk interfering with employee access to email and working documents, thus affecting productivity.

Compliance is another factor to evaluate as you migrate. Before you can make the move, you must know if Office 365 fits within any prior business or legal requirements your organization might have for email security or document storage.

  1. Stay Secure

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: safety first! Office 365 is an essential business tool in today’s digital world, but it can also be a gateway for malicious attacks when not properly orchestrated and secured. With 95% of attacks stemming from spear-phishing attempts, businesses must implement security measures to safeguard user data. Visit our homepage here to learn more about Office 365 security tools.

As with any tool or network configuration, successful migration to Office 365 won’t happen in one day. However, with these five steps you can start the process with confidence.

Want to learn more about how to safely and efficiently migrate your enterprise to Office 365? Check out the full whitepaper published with Osterman Research, here.

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