So you’ve made the decision to move to Office 365 and can’t wait to enjoy the benefits you’ll get from the cloud-powered productivity and collaboration application. However, managing, deploying and driving adoptions of Office 365 require significant time and resources, and is not always straightforward. Downtime, security breaches, and data loss can happen any time during and after the migration. This post will provide some best practices for you to consider before, during and after the migration.

  • Office 365 Readiness Assessment

An Office 365 readiness assessment will look into your existing infrastructure and future growth needs to provide you with the confidence to proceed with migration to the cloud. Using a range of discovery and assessment tools, this first step will identify any potential issues that may impact the adoption of Office 365, including but not limited to:

    • Does Microsoft Active Directory (AD) meet minimum supported level?
    • Do you have a local implementation of Exchange that can support hybrid and cloud deployment of Exchange Online?
    • Do your user identities meet the criteria?
  • Choose the Right Office 365 Plan

While multiple options are a good thing, the amount of options you have for Office 365 plans can make it difficult to figure out which one is the best for your business.  The key here is to know what your needs are and your budget. Don’t forget you can mix and match plans and can always switch to a different plan down the road.

  • Plan Plan Plan

Moving to Office 365 requires lots of planning to make sure your budget, resources and timeline aligned with your business objectives. During the planning phase, you’ll need to:

    • Prepare your data by reviewing your mailbox and active directory data and accounts
    • Eliminate what you don’t need and manage what you do
    • Map out any new workflows, process change or compliance requirements and
    • Build a communication and education plan for your users
  • Migration

Migrating to Exchange Online and SharePoint Online with minimized business disruption can be very challenging if you have limited resources and / or complex environment.  An experienced Microsoft partner can help you choose a migration option that makes most sense for your organization. A good practice is to begin with a pilot migration to test a small portion of content and verify the results. Make any modifications based on the results so when the actual migration is rolled out, you know what type of performance to expect and what pitfalls to avoid.

  • Backup

This is a common misconception and source of confusion for many Office 365 customers. Microsoft has built in redundancy and backups in all of their data centers, just like Google, Salesforce, etc., but these backups are for internal data center recovery only, and not available to customers for restoring their data in the event of accidental or malicious data loss. That’s why you need a complete data management solution that includes backup, recovery and archive capabilities to keep your Office 365 data protected and accessible.

Using Office 365 comes with a number of challenges including end user support, user adoption, security and backup. Blair Technology Solutions provides Managed Service for Office 365 that can help you overcome these challenges. With a team of dedicated Office 365 specialists providing 24×7 administration and monitoring services to support and manage your Office 365 environment, you can focus on your core business and get the most out of your Office 365 investment. Contact us today to schedule an Office 365 assessment.