How To: Manage an Email Migration

Updated 10/10/2017

IT and Business Operations

Updated February 28th, 2020

Email migrations can be daunting and disruptive to your workers. To minimize the frustration it's important that you know before hand:

1. What's involved

2. How long it will take

3. How much disruption (downtime) is it going to cause

Your Email Migration Questions Answered

  1. What does it involve? The migration process is fairly straightforward. It requires that your IT service provider or in-house staff install an email migration tool on each mailbox, manage the migration, and configure the new services on the new third-party platform.
  2. How long does it take? It depends on the environment, how many users you have, and how much bandwidth you have to migrate the emails from the server to the cloud. The larger the mailbox, the less bandwidth, the more time it will take.Our recommendation, from conception to going live, is to give yourself one to two weeks to complete the process. This will give you enough time to deal with any technical issues. More importantly, however, it will give you time to communicate with your employees about the process.
  3. What are the chances I will lose my emails? While it is unlikely that there will be a disruption to the migration resulting in lost emails, a best-practice to ensure that no data is lost during the migration, is to have an accessible backup of all your emails as a fail safe prior to the migration.
  4. How much disruption will it cause? The biggest problem with a migration isn't the technical issues, but mis-communication with the email users regarding their ability to check email during the migration, and what the new interface will look like.In the case of having ready access to their emails, it may take time for the buildup of the cache on the new system, so they may not have immediate access to their emails while the cache is building.To minimize disruption, we recommend that your service provider or in-house technical team spend time going over what users can expect during and after the migration. We’ve successfully completed email migration for 5 to 200 users and it’s been our experience that outlining the expectations creates a smooth transition.

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