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Microsoft Office 365 is the gold-standard for office collaboration, but migration from older versions of the popular software can be challenging for small- to medium-size businesses in Melbourne. With the latest versions of Microsoft’s software plus collaboration tools such as SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online, this suite of cloud-based services is structured to scale and meet the needs of organizations of all sizes. However, planning and rolling out a shift from an established infrastructure to a cloud environment is a project to be taken lightly. It’s important to have a trustworthy technology partner in the Melbourne or Brisbane area to help with your Microsoft Office 365 migration.

Benefits of Moving to Office 365

While your users may still be comfortable with their local software versions, and your technology staff may not be sure they’re ready to trust the cloud, there are a variety of reasons why upgrading to Microsoft Office 365 makes sense for your business:

  • Data control and security: Perhaps the most important concern for technology professionals today is the security of data, and Office 365 helps alleviate that concern to a great extent. You can remotely wipe all of your data off of a mobile device, you have continuous security compliance and built-in backups.
  • Business Continuity: When your business goes down for even a short period of time, there are ripples of damage that many small businesses can not overcome. With Office 365, you have continuous access to your data, servers, applications, and website regardless of your physical location or the challenges posed by any natural disasters. As long as your employees are able to access the internet, you’re always up and running.
  • Remotely available: Employees today want the ability to work wherever and whenever they want to, and Office 365 covers that requirement with ease. The days of requiring a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection are gone — and working from tablets and phones has never been simpler.
  • No more storage woes: Perhaps one of the biggest complaints from business users is the mailbox size limit, but with Office 365 that challenge is behind you! With 50GB of email storage, even the worst of the digital pack rats will be able to access their email without the dreaded warning message.
  • Ultimate in organization: When your contacts, email, calendar, applications, and documents are all available regardless of your physical location or device, then teams have ideal productivity. Share documents across your mobile devices and PC to make quick updates once you’ve left the office.
  • Easy licensing models: Forget the days of tracking down devices in order to ensure that all of the licenses are intact. With Office 365, all licensing is deployed company-wide, so everyone is always on the same version of the software and collaboration becomes seamless.
  • Predictable cost structure: Investing in a large upgrade can be challenging for businesses of any size, but Microsoft’s easy monthly billing for Office 365 allows you to have the latest and greatest software versions while managing your ongoing cost structure. Need to scale your licensing up or down? No problem with this cloud-based collaboration solution.

Migration Challenges

Perhaps one of the first issues you’ll encounter as you prep for a shift to Office 365 is the need to transition your organization’s domain names since Lync, Exchange, and SharePoint all require access to Active Directory. Regardless of whether you decide to utilize on-premise Active Directory or identity federation, it is critically important to understand the differences in configuration. Some businesses determine that the best option for their needs is to have Microsoft Office 365 manage domain names by partial redelegation — or a way to allow your organization to retain ownership of domain names while redirecting sub-functions such as web hosting and email to Microsoft Office 365 servers. While the process is fairly painless overall, a missed step in the process could cause widespread havoc within your organization.

User and Group Definitions

Defining users and group is another opportunity where professional support may help mitigate challenges that can occur in setup. The administrative console is significantly different than the Active Directory and Users panel that many network administrators are accustomed to. Instead, Microsoft has created a new mechanism for creating and maintaining user accounts that can establish a relationship between your current Active Directory and the Microsoft Office 365 cloud. This one-way sync to the cloud allows administrators with a friendly way of making changes, but it is important to know that any changes made inside the cloud tool will not be replicated back to the local Active Directory. There are a variety of ways to create users within the interface, but determining which option is best for your organization can easily be recommended by an implementation consultant.

When you’re ready to get started with your custom migration strategy, give Steadfast Solutions a call at 1300 739 335. Our Microsoft-certified professionals will work with you to define the best upgrade path for your particular situation. We will help smooth your transition to ensure that none of your business-critical files, emails or calendar entries are missing from your newly-configured setup. Your business users will love the easy synchronization across devices, and your IT staff will be impressed at how quickly you’re gaining value from the upgrade.

Published on 5th July 2017 by Ian Brady.

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