How to Do Email Migration to Office 365 – What You Need 

Email migration to Office 365 is no easy task and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a process that is not without risk, and since email is considered a business-critical system for most enterprises, you can’t afford to get it wrong.

We’ll be breaking down the entire process to help you get started on your virtual migration journey. We’re talking about everything from defining email migration to discussing types, planning, and getting external help.

What Is Email Migration?

Email migration refers to the process of moving from one email client to another, and it’s usually done to improve the overall email environment. Businesses also consider doing migration during mergers, and acquisitions, and for better user experience or better email consolidation.

What Are the Types of Office 365 Migration?

When considering doing the big move, there are four different types of Office 365 migration to consider.

Staged Migration

In a staged migration, everything is moved in batches over a determined period. All of the resource mailboxes and existing users transitioned from Exchange 2003/2007 to Exchange Online.

A staged migration is a solid method for medium-sized companies and businesses that utilize over 2,000 mailboxes. Unfortunately, it isn’t available for organizations that are using Exchange 2010 or 2013.

Cutover Migration

During a cutover migration, the transition from an on-premises Exchange system to Office 365 is immediate. All resources migrate at once, including distribution groups, contacts, and of course, mailboxes. 

With the cutover migration, you can’t select the specific objects that you want to migrate. It’s currently the most popular method of migration for those using Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013, and who have less than 2,000 mailboxes.

Hybrid Migration

Hybrid email migration to office 365 allows businesses to integrate Office 365 with existing directory services, as well as on-premise Exchange servers. Thanks to that, organizations can manage and synchronize user accounts for both environments.

To use hybrid migration, a business has to have Exchange 2010 or later and more than 2,000 mailboxes. But one benefit is that it can synchronize passwords and introduce single sign-on. 

IMAP Migration

The Internet Message Access Protocol or IMAP migrations allows companies to transition users from Gmail or any other type of email system. It doesn’t depend solely on Exchange and pulls all information from source mailboxes and delivers it to Office 365.

One thing to keep in mind is that IMAP migration only transitions email, and nothing else. So tasks, contacts, and calendar items will stay in the source mailboxes and have to be manually migrated. Also, IMAP migration has a limit of 5 million items and 50,000 total mailboxes.

How to Plan Email Migration to Office 365 

When it comes to email migration, the key to success is in planning. So before you do anything, make sure you know exactly what you want to migrate, how you’re going to do it, and what’s your timeframe.

Know What You’re Migrating

As we’ve seen earlier, different types of migrations will allow you to migrate different items. So the first step has to be understanding what needs to be migrated or reconfigured. Here’s a quick checklist to go through to help you figure out this task:

  • User mailbox data: The highest risk items, which include emails, contacts, tasks, and calendars.
  • System mailboxes or application mailbox data: Often overlooked by migration novices, system mailboxes play a critical role in the transition.
  • DNS records: They will need to be reconfigured during the migration to work on Office 365.
  • User devices: Also require reconfiguration in order to connect to new mailboxes.
  • Distribution lists: Used to send emails to predefined lists, these are an integral part of any organization.
  • Shared mailboxes

Make and Share the Plan

One of the biggest risks of doing email migration to Office 365 is the potential for data loss and downtime. If you don’t plan it right, migration can have a massive impact on users and the entire business. So doing extensive planning is an absolute must.

First off, you need a licensing plan, which will map old emails onto your new Office 365 tenant. It should also verify what you want to happen to each account. To do that, you need superb licensing skills.

Also, you should have a user-by-user plan, which will give you the perfect opportunity to do some tidying up, as well as review. You can see how many accounts you have, whether you need them all, and which ones are now obsolete. You can also consider merging the email addresses of employees who have multiple and defer mailboxes from ex-employees to a shared mailbox.

To reduce spam and malware risk, you also need a solid plan or a good mail filtering service. Fortunately, Office 365 already has three layers of anti-malware and anti-spam filtering built-in. 

Execute the Plan

Once you start your migration, your users shouldn’t experience any disruption to their day-to-day operations. They should be able to carry on with their daily email use on the former platform and just smoothly transition to Office 365.

While they’re doing that, there should be many different processes happening in the background. You should be creating the Office 365 tenant, adding the correct licenses and domains, creating users, and copying content.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Those doing the migrating should also change DNS records, as well as perform hourly sweeps for the next 72 hours to ensure all emails are being delivered to the right place.

To Sum Up: Email Migration to Office 365

We hope that we’ve helped you understand just what email migration is, what the process looks like, and how it’s done. And remember, the only way to ensure avoiding email failure is backing up. Don’t move your data, copy it, and always back it up whenever and wherever you can.

Work With a Partner to Migrate the Email

If learning how to do email migration to Office 365 sounds complex or convoluted, it’s because it is. If you don’t think that you can confidently pull off a migration yourself, you should get in touch with us.

With no data loss and zero downtime, we at Coherence can take care of the entire migration process for you. Our email migration includes the discovery, architecture, build, alpha, beta, pilot, and finally, the production stages. That way, we can ensure minimal disruption and impact on our clients’ systems.

Here’s what we can do for you:

  • Exchange To Office 365 Migration
  • Office 365 Tenant To Tenant Migration
  • G Suite To Office 365 Migration
  • IMAP Migration
  • Gmail Migration Services
  • Office 365 To Office 365 Migration

No matter if you need a completely managed solution or consulting services, we’re here for you. So get in touch with us and start your migration today!