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Migrating to Office 365 – things you need to be aware of

Office 365 is a very powerful platform that enables businesses and individuals to consume Microsoft’s Office products in a software as a service model (SaaS), paid for each year as a subscription. You pay for the number of people who are going to be using the service and the cost depends on the package of features you buy.

The benefits of Office 365 are vast, but the key point is that it enables your staff to work together from anywhere on any device – PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, with no loss of functionality. You get enterprise-class security, reliability and disaster recovery for your email system as Microsoft host everything in their data centres.

So what are the main things to consider when planning to move to Office 365?

The single biggest mistake we see is that companies make a number of dangerous assumptions about the features of Office 365 and also about the actual migration process itself.

Cost of features and planning
Spend time carefully planning and thinking through what exactly you need for your users. We’ve seen a number of cases of businesses spending far more than was necessary for features they don’t need.

Remember, not every employee will need the same applications and therefore you can pick and choose the features and apps you need by combining different packages. With Office 365 users can be paying €4.20 per user per month, or you may need one of the Enterprise plans which can involve costs up to €21.60 per user per month.

One Drive and SharePoint
SharePoint & OneDrive for Business are NOT a replacement for a traditional file server. There’s too many limitations – upload file sizes, file number limits, file name and character limits etc.

If OneDrive is really required, then delay the OneDrive role out and phase it in slowly after email migration.

Deleted emails
Once an email is deleted it will remain in deleted items forever, But! once deleted items are emptied the emails are unrecoverable. Using the Legal Hold can mitigate this risk, but Legal Hold is only available in Enterprise plans (EOP2, E3 and E4 plans)

Backup – why your Office 365 data isn’t as safe as you think

1. Compliance.
By default, deleted Office 365 data is non-recoverable after a maximum of 30 days. Longer retention times are only possible with costlier or expensive editions of Office 365. If your Office 365 subscription is ever cancelled, all your data is automatically deleted after 90 days.

Having your own backup copies of your Office 365 data ensures you can comply with regulations regardless of your Office 365 edition or whether or not your subscription is cancelled.

2. Liability.
The Office 365 terms of service currently limit Microsoft’s liability to $5,000 or your last 12 months’ subscription fees should anything happen to your data—assuming you can prove it was Microsoft’s fault. In contrast, the liability you might face if your Office 365 data were lost is potentially unlimited.

3. Audit Rights.
The Office 365 terms of service give you no audit rights. This is problematic if, as part of an audit, you are required to show the physical location where your data is stored. Maintaining a backup copy of your Office 365 data in a secure location that you are able to audit may be an acceptable way to work around this problem.

4. Vendor Lock-in.
Having all your Office 365 data in the Microsoft cloud effectively marries you to Microsoft, for better or for worse. If you want to keep your options open, then maintaining an external backup copy of your Office 365 data makes it much easier to consider migrating to another vendor’s office productivity service.

Migration – Top tips
Don’t try to do it all yourself – seek out a Microsoft cloud partner who understands the platform. If you’re working with a Microsoft partner, don’t automatically just keep buying from the same people you always worked with, as many traditional suppliers are not yet skilled up with Office 365 and would rather sell you an upgrade to the old environment.

Remember that you’ve normally got more mailboxes than O365 licenses, between shared and ex-employee mailboxes. Plan how you’re going to manage this or you’ll be paying a licence fee for each mail box. The 25 MB default attachment limit can block emails from being migrated to O365 – check the sizes of your attachments and make necessary arrangements.

Don’t underestimate the length of time it takes to migrate mailboxes to O365. Your internet bandwidth will be heavily utilised during migration so try to do it out of hours or over the weekend.

After migration internal emails now use Internet bandwidth – make sure your bandwidth is good enough!


If you would like more information or assistance with upgrading to Microsoft Office 365, please get in touch.

Call us on 01 526 7750 or email


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