Migrating from Exchange to Office365

Cutover or Express Migration

As its name suggests, Express Migration is a quick way to move your mailboxes from an Exchange server to Office 365 with ease.

Check these criteria to assess whether this is the best migration technique for your unique situation:

  • Your current On-premise Exchange version falls into this category: Microsoft Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010 or 2013.
  • Your business manages no more than 2000 mailboxes.

As the criteria of less than 2000 mailboxes show, Express Migration is geared towards small to medium-sized organisations. If your organisation meets these criteria, you can follow these steps to begin your migration:

  1. Create a Receiving Point:
    First, you will need to create an empty mail-enabled security group in Office 365. Do this by navigating to the Office 365 Admin Centre > Group > Create new and simply create a new group.
  2. Create a Migration Endpoint:
    Next, you will need to link Office 365 to your Exchange On-premise Server. To do this, access the Exchange Admin Centre, go to Recipients > Migration > New > Migrate to Exchange Online. In this section, select Cutover Migration. On the next page, you will see the information for your migration endpoint.
  3. Grant User Licenses: For owners of migrated mailboxes to gain access to their mail, Office 365 licenses must be granted to each user.

  1. Re-route the Domain:
    Finally, you will have to re-route your domain from the Exchange server to Office 365, thereby ensuring all sent and received mails go through the new channel.

Staged Migration

Conducting a Staged Migration is the other migration option, ideal if your organisation does not meet the requirements of an Express Migration.

As with an Express Migration, your organisation must fit several criteria to ensure that Staged Migration is right for your situation.

  • Your source email system is either the Exchange Server 2003 or 2007 version (Note: the 2010 and 2013 versions are not equipped to execute a staged migration).
  • Your business manages more than 2000 mailboxes.

These criteria highlight the fact that a Staged Migration is geared towards larger organisations. This means that an experienced IT Administrator is usually charged with this responsibility. But if you choose to DIY, and your organisation meets the stated criteria, you can follow these steps for a full migration.

  1. Synchronize your Users
    Synchronize the list of users using your Exchange Server with Office 365.
  2. Create a List of Mailboxes
    Create a list of the mailboxes to be migrated in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. This allows you to transfer mailboxes without having to input individual addresses.
  3. Complete the Transfer of Mailboxes
    Run a Staged Migration to complete the transfer of mailboxes from your Exchange Server to Office 365 – follow this guide here. Lastly, assign licenses to the approved mailboxes making them ready for use.

Email Signatures and Migration

Migrating can mean the loss of email signatures that were originally set up for users on Exchange On-premise.