A few of our customers are starting to ask about migrating their email systems to Office 365. Whilst this sounds like a great idea at first, you might want to think twice before you let your wallet make the decision for you.

There are a few things that you might want to consider before jumping in and subscribing to Office 365.

1) Migrating is not a simple process

Migrating from one email system to another will always be fraught with tediousness. Copying emails, calendars, contacts, tasks form one system to another.

Sure you can do it, but it’s not a five minute job. Just be prepared for some hard work getting everything right.

2) Do you SPAM Filter? Get ready to start from scratch

One of the biggest things that may surprise you is that spam filtering will have to start all over again. Whatever you were using prior to subscribing to Microsoft Office 365, will be gone.

So all that hard earned effort of getting your spam filters finely tuned just gets deleted. Office 365 uses Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange and whilst this is a great spam filter, you’ll have to take the time to configure it right from the very start again.

3) Your outbound email addresses might change

When you subscribe to Office 365, all user accounts have a default email address that ends in onmicrosoft.com.

Whilst it is possible to use your own domain name, simply accepting mail for your domain name won’t be sufficient. Your outbound emails will continue to use the .onmicrosoft.com domain name suffix unless you make some detailed configuration changes. Good luck with that.

4) You need rock solid broadband

Using a cloud based email service makes you absolutely reliant on your internet network and your available bandwidth.

If your Internet provider goes down, then you’ll have no access to your enterprise software and data. This means that when the Internet is down, so are you and you have to stop working.

Microsoft does not control how you access the Internet and, therefore, cannot account for any of these types of failures.

5) Reduced Feature Set

Office 365 doesn’t have all of the same features as regular Microsoft Office normally installed on your PC. You won’t be able to add in any of those great plugins that you might use as the software isn’t on your PC, it’s in the cloud somewhere.

So you need to absolutely certain that you’ll never want to add on or upgrade your office suite when you migrate over. Can you read the future ?

6) You don’t control your data

Having data controlled by someone other than your or your employees might not sit well with some. Your data is hosted in Microsoft’s data centre. That can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.

If you feel uncomfortable with your valuable and private data living out in the cloud, then we suggest that you research the Microsoft data centres further to calm those worries.

Or just keep your data locally in your own controlled environment.

7) You might have DNS issues

When you add a website domain name to your Office 365 account, you will receive a list of DNS entries that you must make for the domain to function correctly. Although most of these DNS entries are relatively straightforward, Microsoft Lync requires some SRV records to be created.

This shouldn’t be a problem for those who have Microsoft DNS servers, but it can be problematic for non-Microsoft DNS servers.

8) Marketing calls and emails from Microsoft

We’ve heard that a few people who have migrated over to Office 365 have been inundated with phone calls and email messages from Microsoft.

Sure they are just taking the opportunity to ask questions about the migration, but they don’t seem to have got the balance right.

9) Expect a loss of control

Moving to Office 365 means that you give up some level of control. If Microsoft has an outage you have no control over when things come back up. There have been various reports recently of service outages with some reoccurring

10) Our Advice

Our best advice is if you are going to go down the route of moving to Office 365, make sure that you have considered all of the alternatives and are doing this for the right reasons and not to just save a few pounds on your annual email costs.

You may end up spending more time, effort and money on the migration that you will save in many tears email hosting.

If you do make the move, use a local Microsoft partner to do the migration for you so that at least you get some great support. Don’t try to do this yourself.


Inspired by an article on Tech Republic