6 steps to get ready for an email migration

You might need to move users and mailboxes for many reasons. Maybe it’s time for a refresh. Or you’re in the middle of a merger or acquisition. Or it could be as simple as users moving to a new department or area of the world. Whatever your reason, here are some key things you can do to get ready.

Cloud E-mail Migrations | Binary Tree

Step 1: See what you’ve got

The first step is to make a list of everything you might need to move. You need to do a complete survey of everything in your email ecosystem. Here are some things to look for:

  • Users, groups, and distribution lists
  • Active mailboxes (number and size of mailboxes)
  • Legacy, inactive mailboxes (number and size)
  • Public Folders
  • Mailbox delegation
  • Other applications that rely on email
  • Compliance measures like legal holds

Step 2: Plan what you’ll move—and what you won’t

Now you can look over your list of assets and figure out which ones to migrate, archive, or delete. As you can imagine, this step can get a bit political. At the end of the day, the less you have to move, the faster your migration will go. But you don’t want to unnecessarily deprive your users of content they might need later. (Or that you might need for legal reasons.) So there’s a tradeoff here between speed and user disruption.

We suggest that you categorize your content like this:

  • Current corporate (content that’s valuable to the whole organization)
  • Legacy corporate (content that’s no longer current)
  • Personal legacy (content that’s important to a user, but not the whole org)

You can consider limiting or filtering out content based on your organization’s guidelines for data storage and compliance. For example, you might want to save large attachments in a document management system, not in email.

Another approach is to plan to migrate almost everything. Maybe there’s no compelling reason to limit how much data you migrate. If you merely retire or archive some content, the transition might take longer, but there’s even less of a chance of disrupting users. It might be worth spending a bit more time on the migration if it means fewer support calls from concerned users trying to find missing content.

Step 3: Keep everything compliant

When you’re migrating email archives, a big challenge is to make sure everything stays compliant from a legal perspective. You often need to be able to easily search for and find older emails. They also need to come across with all their important metadata intact, like the original date and author.

So this is a great time to revisit your email and content retention policies and make sure everything’s up to date on your process and tools. Make sure you understand exactly how your new email tool will support your legal requirements. Sometimes, things might behave a bit differently than your teams are used to.

Step 4: Keep your users in the loop

It’s not enough to merely get ready to move data. You also need to keep your users up to speed about what’s happening when and if there’s anything they need to do. At a minimum, plan to answer questions like:

  • Do I need to do anything to get ready for the move?
  • Can I change my date if I need to?
  • Will there be any delays or interruptions in my email during the move?
  • Will I be notified when the process starts and when it’s done?
  • How will I get help if something goes wrong?

For example, our Exchange Pro has a built-in portal that automates some of this communication. Users can see when their migration will happen, sign up for SMS and email notifications, and even choose another migration date.

Step 5: Plan for coexistence

When you move to a new email system, you often can’t make the switch overnight. It can take weeks or months to get everyone back in the same sandbox. So as you migrate, you can coexist two platforms to keep your users collaborating smoothly.

This makes sure users can do all of their usual tasks during migration. Examples:

  • Look up everyone in the directory
  • See free/busy time for everyone in their calendars
  • Send, receive, reply to, and forward email from and to everyone
  • Schedule, update, reschedule, or cancel meetings with everyone

It also makes sure email keeps flowing between applications or between users and applications (like project management tools).

Step 6: Choose the right tool

Email migration tools like our Exchange Pro can automate and simplify your move. The right tool can keep you on schedule and on budget, and keep your users on task. Our solution is a great choice because it:

  • Does a lightning-quick migration that’s 10 times faster than other tools
  • Gives you accurate metrics that help you estimate how long your migration will take
  • Migrates everything you need, including public folders and mailbox delegation
  • Lets users see the migration schedule and pick a new date if needed
  • Keeps users working smoothly during the transition
  • Keeps your content compliant
  • Offers advanced reporting that lets you easily follow along with your status
  • Supports coexistence

Contact us to learn how Binary Tree can help you and your organization with a successful migration.