Exchange to Office 365 Migration: Four Best Practices

Since Office 365’s market debut in 2011, the process Migrate Hosted Exchange to Office 365 is one of the most regular migrations performed each year. Despite its popularity, each migration project is different and presents special challenges before, during, and after the move.

Let’s walk through four best practices for this specific source to destination path. This includes a host of factors like migration type, Outlook configuration, as well as methods to avoid downtime and maintain security throughout the transition. 

1. Impersonation v. Delegation

An early decision service providers will require to make is between impersonation and delegation. It’s necessary to understand the differences between the two and where each makes the most sense. The delegation consists of logging into individual user mailboxes using an admin account that has complete access rights to each mailbox. Impersonation, on the other hand, means the admin will have the power to impersonate each user when performing the migration and can use credentials in the email to scan or copy data without requiring passwords in the mailbox process.

2. Enabling Advanced Options

Because there are so many variables in each migration project, having access to deep customization options on Citrix Virtual Workspace is crucial to keeping the project on track. Notification settings scratch the surface here, keeping project stakeholders aware of migration progress while helping determine and remedy errors as they arise. Notifications even relieve project owners from sitting and monitoring the entire migration, enabling them to focus on other work while Migration runs in the background. 

3. Understanding Data Speeds

Like a fine wine, whiskey, and cheddar cheese, migrations don’t happen overnight. A wide range of variables impacts the speed of migration, making the overall time difficult to predict. These elements include source, system load, internet bandwidth, and even folder structure. Cloud providers like Microsoft and Google have their throttling limits, which don’t do IT teams or service providers any favors, especially if expectations haven’t been set as to the true duration of the migration. For Exchange to Office 365 moves, we see average speeds of around 750MB per user, per hour, with the high end at 1.25GB and the low end at 250MB. Performing a shorter trial move with a handful of mailboxes – always a good pre-migration step – is a good litmus test for the pace of the larger project.

4. Hot Cut or Cool Phase?

A “hot cut,” also known as a “quick switch,” is best for clients on a tight timeline who need to be live in the destination environment from day one. In this scenario, users are moved over with the last 90 days of data and then MX records are updated to direct mail flow to the new goal. IT can go back and copy or backfill the rest of the data before those 90 days while the users are live on the destination to prevent any downtime. Phases are usually determined by department, seniority, network dependencies, or other factors that make the most sense for the end-users.


When you are planning a migration project, regardless of where you are transferring from and where you are moving to, always consider how this migration will impact your end-users. Secure and smooth migration can enhance organizational execution throughout the infrastructure. Acquiring expert migration assistance from service providers like Apps4Rent is essential if you’re planning an Exchange to Office 365 Migration. These providers even have the expertise to Migrate Dropbox to SharePoint into business processes across the United States. 


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