Preparing for Your Cloud Migration

So let's say you've read our blog about the wonders of cloud computing and you've taken our advice - you're moving to Office 365. What do you do to prepare? The good news is that you'll probably have an expert, or a Microsoft partner like us at Shaping Cloud, guiding you through the migration. Your IT consultant will handle most of the complicated bits and pieces, but there are still some key things that you can do to prepare for the move.

Plan Phase
The two most important words in the planning phase (apart from 'plan' of course!) are training and communication. Microsoft advises companies to schedule a kickoff meeting so that you can get everyone in your organization up to speed on the changes, including when they'll be made and ensure everyone understands their role in the process. You also need to decide on who within your organization will take the administrator role(s) and arrange training. If you're a small organization and you're only planning to have one administrator, you'll also need to allocate a backup admin person for critical administration requests. If your organization has a lot of employees (and therefore mailboxes) they'll need to be migrated in groups. Put them into groups!

Prepare Phase
Reducing the size of mailboxes and getting rid of any unwanted accounts should be done before the migration. This lets you clean up your existing IT environment, and there's no point moving things you don't need. See it as an opportunity for a spring clean. It'll also reduce the amount of time the migration will take. Then, make sure your Office 365 license is validated in advance, and you'll need to add and verify your domain name with Office 365 online. You'll need to properly prepare your on-premise Active Directory for synchronization with Office 365, and the applications you'll be using, such as Sharepoint and Lync will need configuring online. For the email migration, you need to install and configure an Exchange 2010 on-premise server to communicate between your current Exchange servers and Exchange Online. Finally, Office 365 will need to be installed on desktop PCs. If you've got someone performing your migration for you, you won't need to do any of this. Nonetheless, it's helpful to know what's involved!

Migrate Phase
Once everything is prepared, you'll need to migrate your mailboxes, files, and folders to Microsoft's online services. Before doing so, issue final communications to all employees so they have all the instructions they need to use the new services. When the migration is completed, test all the services thoroughly to iron out any issues. And if you get stuck - just ask us!