Migration of data to cloud is a critical business activity that must be conducted properly and precisely and thus it requires flawless planning and execution.
Based on a recent survey contacted by Osterman Research*, Migration to a collaboration or productivity platform involves a potentially complex set of activities that must be managed properly and in the right order while taking into account a large number of variables. Even minor mistakes in the migration process – particularly for platforms that are business critical such as Office 365 and Sharepoint Online – can have major impact in both short and long term. For example, losing chain of custody for content can render archived data useless for purposes of eDiscovery or regulatory compliance; problems in integrating existing workflows and business processes with Office 365 can create problems in the user experience and lead to a flood of help desk calls.
A seamless migration to Office 365 or Sharepoint Online can be fairly straight forward if it is managed properly. Most organizations will need to spend much more time planning this migration than actually implementing it. Here are some key tasks to consider for migrating to Office 365 or SharePoint Online
Develop a Deep Understanding of the Platforms
Every system has a structured framework of processes and operations, and Office 365 and SharePoint Online are no exceptions. Failure to comply to the system’s designed structured may cause some issues when migrating, or it could create ongoing issues later on. These issues include migration throttling, the length of file names for uploading to SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business, maximum attachment sizes in Exchange Online, the default and maximum retention period for deleted items in Exchange, blocked file types, and unsupported characters in file names. Most of these issues can be addressed one way or another, but they must be identified first.
It is also important to ensure that all data is backed up prior to the migration, and that backup capabilities are in place as the initial set of content enters Office 365. Post-migration issues can include Microsoft’s approach to compliance and ediscovery, anti-malware and anti-phishing attacks, and the inclusion of archived email in the same system as day-to-day transactional email. Many of the issues falling in this category can be properly addressed, usually by embracing third party tools that give organizations greater design control.
Check Bandwidth Availability & Design
Migrating to any cloud-based platform is a bandwidth-intensive task, as hundreds of gigabytes or terabytes of data are moved from on-premises servers to cloud-based repositories. Organizations must determine if they have sufficient bandwidth available for the migration, and explore alternatives for moving current and historical data to the platform without using an Internet connection.
Assess the Health of Active Directory
Hybrid approaches to Office 365 or SharePoint Online require flawless interaction between an organization’s Active Directory and Azure Active Directory. Assess the current health of the Active Directory setup and resolve any issues.
Assess Exchange Server Health
Prior to migrating from Exchange to Exchange Online, it is important to check the health of the current Exchange Server infrastructure. Any corruption, configuration problems, or other sub-performing aspects will either degrade the migration experience or be amplified after migrating to Exchange Online.
Assess the Health of SharePoint Server
Microsoft SharePoint is a comprehensive and complex product, and organizations that have taken advantage of its custom development capabilities are likely to need to re-think their approach to SharePoint when embracing SharePoint Online.
Catalogue the Dependencies with Other Applications
It is important to determine which applications and systems rely on or work alongside the current Exchange environment. If an organization is going to change its approach to Exchange by embracing Exchange Online, it will need to undertake remedial work to re-connect other systems
Review Compliance Obligations
It is essential to review current compliance obligations and evaluate how the organization will achieve these in Office 365 and SharePoint Online.
Review Requirements for Data Privacy
It is important to check the data privacy requirements for data that would be stored in Office 365 or SharePoint Online, particularly in light of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation that went into effect on May 25, 2018.
Assess the Firewall Architecture
It is important to review the current firewall architecture, as Office 365 requires certain firewall rules to be established.
Develop a Plan for the Migration
It is essential to develop a migration plan based on a solid understanding of the current state of the IT infrastructure, the business goals being pursued, and the way in which Office 365 and SharePoint Online will be leveraged to enable this pursuit.
Create a Backup and Recovery Plan
Office 365 offers only basic backup and recovery capabilities for customer use, such as the ability to retrieve a deleted mailbox item for up to 14 days through the Recoverable Items folder (this default can be increased to 30 days), and a way to retrieve a deleted user mailbox within 30 days of deletion. What it does not offer, however, is the more traditional concept of backing up servers and data at a point in time, to enable recovery or rollback under disaster scenarios, the ability to recover individual files, or data beyond the recoverable windows. A number of third-party vendors offer backup and recovery services that significantly extend what is available from Microsoft, adding an essential level for the management of corporate data.
The importance of Migration tools
Migration tool vendors can offer guidance and assistance along the way. This is particularly important given that migration is only an occasional activity for most organizations and does not occur with sufficient frequency as to allow in-house staff members to develop the requisite skills for the migration to go smoothly.
In Logicom Cloud Marketplace, we partner with leading vendors like Skykick or BitTitan to help our resellers and their end-customers experience a smooth transition to the new platform. Together with Logicom Cloud Experts, they are available to provide a step-by-step guidance during this process.