Cloud Office 365

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Looking at migrating to Office 365? Or maybe you aren’t ready for a move to the cloud just yet!

Either way it can be a big decision for any business. Here in our Office 365 knowledge hub find out all you need to know to make that decision and plan for a smooth migration if you do opt to go cloud based.

First of all lets look at the pros and cons of a cloud based solution, specifically Office 365.

The benefits of using Microsoft Office 365

  • Simplified license compliance
  • No upfront hardware costs
  • Low cost of entry allows access to enterprise features
  • Scalability allows your business to grow gradually
  • No additional setup for remote\mobile worker such as VPN or Outlook Anywhere
  • High availability with a Microsoft SLA of 99.9% uptime
  • Large mailbox quota by default – 50GB
  • Reduction in storage requirements on-premise
  • Use of latest version of Microsoft Office

Limitations of using Microsoft Office 365

  • Maximum message sixe limit – 25Mb
  • Reduced item retention – Deleted items are kept for a maximum of 30 days with deleted item recovery set to 14 days. After this period there is no way to retrieve the item(s). *
  • Cannot use third party management tools
  • Loss of control – Patch management and software upgrades are handled by Microsoft and individual organisations have no control over when these happen
  • Unknown data locations. Microsoft will not Guarantee exactly where a customers data will be stored.
  • Never own the solution – As a subscription service the solution is never owned meaning on-going monthly payments per user. Whilst this can be the attraction for some businesses for others it can be a real downside especially if you don’t normally invest in upgrades to the latest version of Office or server software as soon as it is released. Some companies choose to skip entire versions making their investment in a software purchase better value over time.

*Legal Hold available at additional fee to increase this period

So you have considered the above and reached the decision to migrate to Office 365 – Planning a smooth migration

There are many more things to think of when migrating than simply which email addresses you will require. It is well worth putting some good time into the planning stage to save time during the migration process and avoid having to clear up issues after.

A good starting point when planning a move to Office 365 is to decide if you will start a fresh in the cloud and create all of your users from scratch or if you will take a hybrid approach (even if only temporarily for the migration) and synchronise your Active Directory user accounts. which one you opt for will need to be based on a number of factors but two of the most vital will be how many users you have and how clean your Active Directory is. Attributes that are set for a user that could be left over from previous systems in place in that organisation can impact on the provisioning of users in Office 365.

Here are some tips on how to avoid or resolve the issues below (Click headings for more information)

Don’t assume that every feature available with an on premise server is available online. This is especially true if you are used to having SharePoint server as email-enabled lists and libraries are not supported neither is claims based authentication

When planning your migration don’t forget any add-on product that may be required by some users that can increase costs and affect the plan you select for those users. Ensure you review all the of the available plans to compare their merits so that you get best value for money. Also consider how to pay for the subscriptions, don’t get drawn in to the low price for an annual commitment if you know you will be reducing staff numbers in a couple of months. In this case select the slightly higher priced month to month plan so you can remove the license when the user leaves.

If you are not performing the migration yourself it is important to use an IT partner that is familiar with this process to ensure you get the benefit of their experience.