Migrating services might be the right choice, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore common Google Suite to Office 365 migration pitfalls. Even if the software suits you better, you have to make sure that your organization experiences a smooth transition from one platform to the other. Change is difficult on its face, and only strategic migration allows you to maximize the potential benefits of the software.
Forget about your teams’ natural resistance to change for a moment. The migration to Office 365 offers some very real technical challenges that you have to keep in mind. Google for Business might have caused you to switch; now, you have to make sure your organization gets the switch right.
9 Google Suite to Office 365 Migration Pitfalls to Avoid
Any experienced IT professional knows that every migration brings with it potential challenges that, if ignored, can prove to be devastating. Knowing what you can expect, and what you should avoid, is, therefore, crucial preparatory work. Consider these 9 things to watch out for when migrating from Google Suite to Office 365.
1) Falling into Potential Gmail Traps
Moving from Gmail to Outlook 365 is not without its challenges. For instance, Gmail keeps its emails stored in an all-mail folder that doesn’t actually exist in Outlook. Look into the exact transitional points first, before you move forward. Depending on the user or environment, the all mail folder might just be copies of other emails - but it doesn’t hurt to check.
A second pitfall, and one that depends on the organization, might result in a mutiny if not prepared for, is the fact that Gmail filters don’t automatically migrate into the equivalent Outlook rules. Instead, they’ll have to be manually recreated. As part of the migration, build in a plan to record these rules and help end users recreate them for full functionality on the new system.
2) Ignoring OneDrive Complexities
Anytime you create a new Office 365 user within your organization, their OneDrive is not automatically provisioned as it would be in Google Enterprise. Instead, each user will have to log in first to kick it off. This PowerShell script can start the pre-provisioning process to minimize complications.
Another potential complexity within OneDrive is its file size limit of 15GB. Before the migration, inventory any files larger than that 15GB limit, and make a place to save them in an external spot like Azure file servers. That way, you don’t lose them in the transition or have to figure out a solution for large files on the fly.
3) Getting Eaten by Zombie Accounts
You might have needed Zombie accounts in your Google Suite to maintain licenses for compliance purposes in order to retain crucial data. That doesn’t have to happen in Office 365. Instead, you can use Google Takeout to download the files from OneDrive, then back them up to an Azure Backup platform to save money on individual licenses not actually backed up by real end-users.
4) Failing Out of Your Migration Tool
Automatic migration tool promises simplicity, but can actually lead to problems that naturally come with a lack of control. For instance, some of them will fail testing on their first attempt. That’s because some of the Microsoft services you’re about to deploy have never been touched by a user. They need to be provisioned first. If you fail out of your first attempt, wait 30 minutes and try again. If that doesn’t change things (and 90% of the time, it does), you might need external help.
5) Waiting for Endless Email Delays
Email will likely be the tool most prominently used by your end users right after the migration. That means you have to make sure it works right. To avoid potential delays, use the TTL (Time to Live) settings on your DNS to determine how often the platform should check for DNS updates.
Your TTLs need to expire as quickly as possible after your migration, so mail is routed correctly to the new mail server. Before you begin the transition, set your TTL at least as low as 3,600 seconds (one hour), if not shorter. Keep your current TTL in mind, as well; if your current timing is set at 24 hours, and you want to set it to 1 hour, set the lower value at least 25 hours prior to the migration.
6) Leaving Old Google Drive Links in Place
You no longer use Google Drive for collaboration and productivity. Unfortunately, your links may not have gotten the hint. Run a check to ensure that no live links point to Google Drive files before you migrate. If they do, reset them to OneDrive links shortly after the migration is complete.
Additionally, depending on the compliance requirements your business is subject to, failure to properly remove old data from your google environment can leave you vulnerable to regulatory action in the event of an audit or cybersecurity incident. For example, read about meeting CMMC in Google Workspace.
7) Falling Victim to File Extensions
Similar to old Google Drive links, be careful with file extensions that make sense for the old, but not the new system. That’s especially true for any Google Docs files. Most tools handle that transition, but be sure to check your files to avoid any loss of functionality.
8) Failure to Plan For Your Pilots
Don’t ever make the mistake of moving over your entire structure and user base at once. Instead, start with a small pilot group of about 10% of your users. Ensure a smooth transition for that group, and identify pain points. Then, migrate another 30% to 40%. Only once that goes smoothly and you have eliminated bottlenecks or sticking points should you move on to the remaining users.
Should things fail for your pilot group, have a fallback in place. Identify a group with common off times, so that the impact of failure will be at or close to zero. Choose users who can survive the lack of email for a while, should something go wrong. The right selection of a pilot group can do wonders for a successful organizational transition.
9) Ignoring Rollbacks as a Potential Safety Valve
Finally, you need to have a backup plan in place. Even with the most thoroughly planned migration, you need to account for the possibility that something goes wrong. Build out a rollback, and test it with test users to make sure you can reset the systems if needed. That way, you can back out of the larger migration should any issues arise at any point.
Ready for a Successful Transition Away From Google Apps?
Knowing about potential migration challenges is the first step. Understanding how to avoid them is second. Finding the right partner in helping you ensure a smooth transition away from Google Enterprise is the final piece of the puzzle. Fortunately, we can help. Agile IT has successfully migrated over 1.5 million accounts to the cloud securely and seamlessly. Our fixed price guarantee ensures that even if the migration proves to be more complex than anticipated, your budget will remain predictable.