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At one time or another, companies consider moving to an online collaborative office software suite, and many opt for an Office 365 migration plan. Office 365 is the latest version of Microsoft Office that works on PC and Mac. Offered as an annual or monthly subscription, the licence is connected to a user and no longer to a workstation, and the software suite comes with an assortment of cloud services. But while migrating to the cloud is a solid solution, it’s not obvious, and the success of the migration depends on many factors. Here are 4 tips for successfully implementing your Office 365 migration plan.

1. Take stock of the tasks

Migrating to Office 365 requires planning a large number of tasks that may include:

  • The temporary use of a hybrid system during the transition. For example, some users and storage locations may remain with Exchange on site, while the rest of the data is moved to the cloud.
  • Email archiving with encoding of the existing message formats
  • Migration of the data contained in calendars and applications

Due to the size and complexity of the task, it may be preferable for the company’s IT systems department to rely on a specialized services company.

2. Prepare for the migration

Moving to the cloud demands careful preparation.

  • The data. This is the time to make decisions regarding what you want to keep and what should be archived, migrated, and deleted. For example, it’s possible to archive emails with a third party archiving tool, since transferring all the emails takes up a lot of space and users don’t consult the old messages very much.
  • The network. Business networks are often too slow due to the multitude of users simultaneously working online. While moving to Office 365, it may be a good idea to set up a centrally managed global firewall solution to distribute the data traffic over external networks without jeopardizing security.

3. Ensure compliance and security

While the initial Microsoft Office 365 configuration provides a basic level of protection, before moving into the new environment, companies should establish a security system. This should include advanced protection solutions against advanced, persistent threats.

An anti-spam firewall that’s compatible with Office 365 – in the form of SaaS or a local appliance solution – is essential for ensuring appropriate protection. This system provides several levels of security and effectively protects against threats of phishing and ransomware attacks.

4. Provide a data backup and recovery function

With Office 365, deleted data is lost after 90 days, and there’s also a risk of data loss following an incident, user error, or sabotage. Restoring the deleted files is a long and complex process, since Microsoft does this manually. It’s better to opt for cloud-to-cloud backup technologies, which are faster and more effective, since the administrator can restore the lost files themselves instantly.

Migrating to Office 365 is becoming increasingly popular. But moving to the cloud requires more than just a simple software upgrade: to make the operation successful, the company must be well prepared and follow a complex infrastructure migration process.