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With the recent rise of Office 365 subscribable services it’s hard not to evaluate their product range when planning your next big IT project.
By Nick Hughes, Client, Solution and Strategy Manager
If you currently have aging infrastructure, or your hardware is at the end of its life cycle, and you are running an onsite Exchange Server for your email, the Office 365 hosted email service provides a great opportunity to migrate over to a cloud email system and take advantage of its security and redundancy features which are usually unattainable for the same cost of an onsite Exchange solution.
So what’s the actual difference between onsite Exchange and Office 365 Exchange Online?
An onsite Exchange server sits on your local network in your office on its own dedicated server, whereas Exchange Online sits in Microsoft’s multi-tenant environment located in data centres around the world. By hosting your emails through a cloud service like Office 365, you are off-loading upfront licensing, hardware, maintenance and support costs usually incurred by an on-site Exchange solution to a monthly subscription cost to Microsoft.
What to consider before migrating?
There is a bit to evaluate before migrating your company emails to Office 365, such as: company size, mailbox requirements, security, data retention and the monthly cost of the Office 365 plan that fits your needs. An onsite Microsoft Exchange environment can be a complex and powerful tool but in turn requires maintenance and support to ensure stability and performance. This can come at a high cost depending on the complexity of your company’s requirements, but if you have simple mail requirements (which most organisations do), why waste time and money when Microsoft’s Office 365 infrastructure takes care of it all for you? You can find that in certain situations, the cost of maintaining your Exchange environment itself on a monthly basis could cover the cost of the Office 365 hosted mailboxes.
Specifics areas to analyse:
Before migrating, check if your company’s security guidelines can impact on the process, if you organisation’s compliance policies can interfere with having data “in the cloud” and ensure that you won’t encounter technical barriers such as slow network connections.
How does the migration process from onsite Exchange Server to Office 365 Exchange Online work?
A reasonable amount of labour is required to migrate emails from your onsite Exchange environment to Office 365 due to the planning and preparation to achieve a successful and smooth migration. There are multiple ways of performing a migration, but the two most common ways are:
- Through a 3rd party migration tool
- Through hybrid Exchange setup
It’s recommended to gain advice from an IT services provider to do the due diligence and identify if a 3rd party migration tool is right for you, or if a temporary hybrid Exchange migration is more suitable. A 3rd party migration tool can be simpler, however, incurs a high cost for the tool itself, whereas a hybrid Exchange migration is complex to setup, but provides options to stage the migration of the mailboxes and provides a smooth cutover if done correctly by an experienced IT specialist.
How to ensure a smooth transition?
There are certain risks with the migration as there are with any big IT project. You are moving important company information from one on-site location to another off-site location and trusting an external source to hold that data for you. Therefore, it is important to find the right provider to perform the migration for you, someone who will put in the time to investigate your email requirements, mail flow, data policies and security compliance which will ensure a safe, risk free migration of your valuable data.
What can you expect after the migration?
Once all your email is migrated into the Office 365 cloud, your onsite Exchange environment can be decommissioned, meaning resources, time and expenses usually used on the onsite Exchange system can be spent elsewhere to keep up with advancing technologies (why not now purchase that MS Surface Pro 4 you’d always wanted?!).
If you are unsure about Office 365 for your business and would like to discuss your requirements with one of our IT consultants, contact us on 1300 991 351 or email us on email@example.com. Our consultants are highly experienced and can do an evaluation of your systems to advise if the solution is suited for your requirements.Back to articles