Your business may be ready to migrate from its on-premise server to the cloud-based Microsoft 365, but without the right planning, unexpected problems can land you – and your company – in hot water.
Whether you plan to work with CCB as your IT partner or perform the migration on your own, there are a number of actions you can take to solve unexpected problems while improving your migration readiness. Doing so means you won’t have to explain to your supervisor why the company is facing extended downtime, noncompliance or unexpected licensing costs because of an unforeseen migration issue.
Nik Lipor, one of CCB Technology’s foremost migration experts, has helped hundreds of organizations successfully plan for and complete their Microsoft 365 migrations — even their most challenging ones. Nik has seen how a lack of preparation before the migration process ends up hurting businesses by slowing down or postponing migration deadlines.
To avoid the same pitfalls, here are 9 tips from Nik that will help you make sure your Microsoft 365 migration goes smoothly.
1. Take inventory of all devices and applications that are going to be impacted by a migration.
By taking inventory of networked devices ahead of time, you will be able to identify which ones will lose functionality during the migration. This gives you the opportunity to research and implement additional configurations to maintain their functionality in the new environment.
2. Make sure your versions of Office and Windows meet the Microsoft 365 system requirements.
It’s always best to deploy the most recent version of Microsoft 365, but if your organization is currently using older versions, such as 2010 or 2007, you can still upgrade to Microsoft 365, but it will have reduced functionality that could impact your users. If your organization is currently using Windows XP or Vista, it won’t be compatible with Microsoft 365. Your organization would need to at least upgrade to Windows 7.
3. Verify that your current DNS provider is compatible with Microsoft 365.
DNS misconfiguration won’t prevent you from completing a migration, but it can prevent Microsoft 365 features from working. Failing to check a key detail, such as whether your DNS provider supports SRV records, could lead to users losing the ability to email, instant message – and more. Email is the communication hub of an organization and losing it can cost you response time and potentially customers.
4. If you’re a nonprofit organization, confirm that you have been approved for nonprofit pricing.
If you are a religious, academic, government or any other type of nonprofit, make sure you qualify for nonprofit pricing before beginning the migration process. Unexpected expenses could be a real headache — especially if you thought your licensing was free. If you’re not sure which pricing plan you qualify for, it’s a good idea to talk with your CCB account manager or start by reviewing eligibility requirements listed on Microsoft’s nonprofit page.
5. Think through your business needs before choosing your Microsoft 365 plan.
Does your company have industry-specific compliances when it comes to data security, confidential information, regulatory reporting or data recovery? Be sure to know your organization’s requirements ahead of time so you know your Microsoft 365 plan will meet those needs.
6. Test your on-prem Exchange server migration readiness.
Microsoft’s Remote Connectivity Analyzer is a useful tool that tests whether your on-prem Exchange server will encounter any connectivity issues during the course of a migration. If your server doesn’t pass the test, the Connectivity Analyzer will highlight any problems that need to be fixed before the migration can begin.
7. If you are migrating files, make sure to inspect them first.
Files that are not supported by Microsoft 365, or files that contain unsupported characters in their filenames can cause hang-ups in the migration process. In addition, failing to account for file permissions will cost you even more time when you realize you have to rebuild security policies on each of the files from scratch after the migration.
8. Confirm that you have properly decommissioned any on-prem servers.
Although you may have already decommissioned your old Lync server before starting the migration, verify that it was properly decommissioned. If you don’t, the Lync server you thought was sent gently into retirement might still prevent users from connecting to new Microsoft 365 features like Skype for Business.
9. Determine ahead of time who will manage your server.
Once your migration is complete, somebody is going to be in charge of administering the Microsoft 365 tenant. With CCB as your IT partner, we can manage it for you, and we will work with you to provide the services that will best fit your needs. If you’re planning on managing the tenant in-house, courses at Microsoft’s Virtual Academy can get you started.
Work with CCB as your IT partner and enjoy peace of mind.
CCB has helped more than 65,000 users migrate to Microsoft 365, helping IT pros navigate the migration process and root out unexpected problems before they begin. Our impressive success rate with all migrations — even the most challenging ones — is one of the many reasons CCB is recognized as one of Microsoft’s top cloud providers.
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