Is it time to migrate to Microsoft 365? If you find that you are over-subscribed to multiple applications to manage business operations, security, communications and file sharing, there’s a better way. Microsoft 365 migration can streamline your IT ecosystem, while giving you the flexibility to scale up as your business grows and technology needs evolve.
Moving to a new platform can be daunting, but a Microsoft migration doesn’t need to be an overwhelming endeavor. The transition can be seamless once you understand Microsoft’s capabilities, recognize the steps, and entrust an experienced IT managed services provider with deep experience in Microsoft 365.
If you are considering a migration to Microsoft 365, here is what to know about the product, the process and what you will gain from the change.
What is Microsoft 365?
Most of us know what Microsoft 365 is and associate it with popular applications like Word, Excel and Outlook. But it offers so much more for businesses of all sizes. At its core, Microsoft 365 is a suite of cloud-based productivity tools and services that acts as a one-stop shop for cloud-based applications that help you collaborate, communicate, strategize, share files, save data and protect devices. Formerly known as Office 365, productivity is the heart of the platform.
Specifically, Microsoft 365 includes:
Microsoft 365 offers different business subscriptions: Business Standard and Business Premium. With Premium, you gain more cloud storage per user, get business-class email with Outlook, and access comprehensive security and compliance protection, along with identity and access management, and data classification tools. If you’re not sure which option is best for your business, it’s a good idea to work with a knowledgeable Microsoft 365 provider who can explain the benefits and how these tools work.
What Is Included In A 365 Business Premium Subscription?
When business owners ask us which Microsoft 365 subscription to choose, we almost always suggest Business Premium because of its security, compliance, identity and data protection that goes beyond what the Business Standard subscription provides. Both plans give you Microsoft’s productivity and communication apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams.
Both plans also offer the same level of support options from Microsoft, outside of the dedicated support and IT management you gain when you partner with a provider like DMC. So whatever you choose, your migration, help desk and troubleshooting needs are covered with Microsoft 365.
The difference is, with a 365 Business Premium subscription, you gain more scale and helpful tools like usage reporting and single sign-on. The security and data protection and compliance tools are essential in today’s dynamic online environment.
What Are The Benefits Of Migrating To Microsoft 365?
Should your business migrate to Microsoft 365? Whether you are currently operating Google Workspace or another platform, there are many reasons to transition to the Microsoft 365 suite of cloud-based products and services. When we talk to clients who made the change, here are some wins for Microsoft 365 that have ultimately increased productivity and profitability.
- Cloud-based collaboration: We learned the importance of remote communication during the pandemic, and now more than ever, businesses across industries depend on tools like Teams to work with team members inside and outside of the office.
- Always-on access: Our clients appreciate that they do not need a VPN or remote desktop solution to access files from any device whether they are working from home, out in the field, in the office or traveling.
- Automatic updates: Unlike software programs that are easily outdated and require you to purchase the latest version, Microsoft 365 always offers the latest version of its applications and services. We make sure our clients have the latest features, security patches and improvements.
- Advanced communication tools: Teams is a game-changer for many businesses because it allows colleagues to chat, video conference and collaborate on the same platform. We find that when businesses migrate to Microsoft 365, they can move away from disparate communication apps that do not “talk” to each other and streamline collaboration.
- Reduced infrastructure costs: When you migrate to Microsoft 365, you may no longer need on-premise hardware or servers.
- Replicated data and loss prevention: for business continuity.
Other benefits of migrating to Microsoft 365 include:
- Integrated services like email, calendars and file storage
- Scalability, whether you’re a sole proprietor or enterprise
- Security features like encryption and multi-factor authentication, along with compliance features that meet evolving regulatory requirements
- Centralized IT administration with a single dashboard
- Backup data and loss prevention for business continuity
Gmail to Microsoft 365 Migration
Gmail to Microsoft 365 migration essentially requires connecting the two systems, as is the case with any migration from other email and office platforms. Because Microsoft 365 is designed for businesses, you will unlock more scalable features, more storage, and more robust security and data protection tools.
We touched on the benefits of migrating to Microsoft 365, but specifically, here are some reasons our business clients have moved from Google’s Gmail to Microsoft 365.
- Office 365 offers more tools for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
- With Microsoft 365, you can take advantage of more advanced collaboration tools like Teams, which allows you to video conference, file-share and work remotely in real-time across all of the Microsoft 365 applications.
- If you need a lot of storage, you’ll end up paying extra faster with Gmail, which offers 15 GB of free storage per user. Microsoft 365 Business Standard offers 1TB of free storage space per user for documents, emails and files.
- Microsoft 365 is compliant with SOX, HIPAA, GDPR and other industry standards.
- Microsoft 365 includes multi-factor authentication, a step beyond what you get with Gmail.
Microsoft 365 Exchange On-Premise or Cloud?
Microsoft 365 offers two versions of Exchange for data backup: on-premise and cloud. When we manage a clients’ migration from Exchange On-Premise, the process is seamless and they save cost. Here’s why. When you use Exchange Online, you pay for licenses per user. This is helpful if your business is evolving because you can add or remove licenses whenever you want. So, flexibility is a main benefit of migrating from Exchange On-Premise.
We also appreciate the continuous security updates Microsoft 365 engineers implement in Microsoft 365 that are automated. No more manually updating on-premise servers.
Overall, migrating from Exchange On-Premise can translate to more uptime, lower upfront and more predictable costs, and scaling flexibility. However, some businesses choose On-Premise because they have total control over their servers, and with an IT managed services partner, they can address any potential downtime or data protection concerns.
How Do I Plan a Microsoft 365 Migration?
As with any transition in business, identifying goals and effective communication are critical. Namely, you want to minimize business disruption so your team can continue working productively and profitability during the migration. Also important is to set realistic timelines, then commit to meeting those deadlines. When you work with a Microsoft Solution Partner like DMC, our tech engineers can lay out exactly what to expect during a Microsoft 365 migration and walk you through the process step by step.
Be sure to inform your team about the migration so they understand the timeline, what to expect, and benefits they will gain from the move to Microsoft 365. Microsoft suggests listing every aspect of your IT environment, from user accounts to network setting and storage details like locations of shared files.
Consider us your partner. DMC will help plan and execute a smooth and successful Microsoft 365 migration.
Microsoft 365 License Review
What are the details of your software license agreement? When do licenses expire, what is required to renew them, and are you abiding by use and distribution terms and conditions? There are penalties for violations and, unfortunately, many businesses can get stuck paying a hefty bill for licensing issues they did not realize existed. Keep in mind, your Microsoft 365 license is legally binding and determines use and distribution, your rights (number of copies), and penalties.
We advise all businesses conduct a regular Microsoft 365 License Review for these reasons:
- Ensure the Microsoft 365 license accommodates your business needs.
- Maintain software compliance.
- Protect your business against losses due to license violations.
Microsoft 365 Exchange On-Premise or Cloud?
When planning a Microsoft 365 migration, we suggest partnering with a managed services provider who can guide you through the process, acting as a quarterback to ensure each step is thoroughly completed to minimize the risk of downtime and data loss.
DMC can help migrate workloads into M365 or manage, monitor and secure them once there. We provide end-to-end migration services, including pre- and post-migration support. Clients appreciate how we customize and integrate Microsoft 365 solutions to suit their business today and well into the future. Additionally, our team conducts thorough Microsoft 365 license reviews and can oversee accounts.
Contact us by filling out this simple form, or call our IT managed services office in Toledo at 419.535.2900.
Posted by Greg Gomach, Business Unit Manager
at DMC Technology Group