Microsoft Office 365: Seven Things You Need To Do To Make Sure You Stay Connected
Microsoft Office 365 – be prepared!
Microsoft Office 365 – be prepared!
Many organisations are either considering (or are in the process of) moving some or all of their applications to the Cloud or have already migrated some or all of their applications from their legacy on premise servers to the Cloud. One of the most popular choices for office type applications is (inevitably) Microsoft Office 365.
There are other options including GoogleDocs but for many organisations migrating to the Cloud by upgrading to Office 365 offers the path of least resistance and is less stressful for users. Many of us have ‘grown up’ with MS Office so upgrading to MS Office 365 Cloud is a logical and natural progression.
This blog relates to Office 365 but the principle can be applied to any system upgrade, move or application migration. My focus is specifically on the network aspects of migrating to Office 365 but to understand the networking aspects requires detailed knowledge of the users and the applications so the emphasis as with all projects is on the planning.
As with any systems or network upgrade migrating to Office 365 requires careful planning. In brief we need to know where we are now, where we are going and how we are going to get there. As with any journey there will be obstacles and diversions along the way, but a good plan will prepare you for these.
Knowing where you are now.
Careful planning starts with a thorough understanding of all of your existing applications, initially in terms of what the applications are, who uses the applications and what their contribution to the business. Once this information is established a deeper look into the applications is necessary to understand any inter-dependencies.
It is important to understand as much as possible about the current landscape. Mid way through any IT migration is not the time for surprises. This may seem like the obvious but it is still one of the most common oversights during any migration. Always consult your end users, it never ceases to amaze me how user communities can overcome shortfalls in IT systems through their own intuition. As admirable as this may sound, the situation presents a considerable risk to the business and indicates a lack of communication. Far from ideal!
Understanding where you want to be.
Once you have the detail from the current situation to hand you will have a better understanding of the implications of moving. There may be one or more circumstances that if left in their current state would compromise the viability of the migration.
If there are any inter-dependencies between applications or other services it is important to find out whether the other applications and services can integrate with Office 365. Not all applications have that capability or there may be limitations imposed. This information will have a bearing on the options available to you, it may also identify elements of your existing infrastructure that need to be upgraded prior to an Office 365 migration.
Deciding the most effective route to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
Creating a detailed implementation plan for migration from legacy on premise to your chosen Office 365 option requires expert advice and is beyond the scope of this blog (and any other blog). As part of your implementation plan you will need to take connectivity and networking into consideration. The remainder of this blog explores some of these considerations.
2) Internet Connectivity
Consider upgrading to a business grade ISP. Also, where you break out to the internet may impact on your overall network and application performance. The options are to break out locally on each site or centrally which requires all internet traffic to traverse your WAN links to break out at some point in the centre of the WAN.
Make sure your firewalls are capable of supporting the the number of sessions required for all of your Office 365 users. Your firewall could become a bottleneck and if under extreme load could compromise your network.
4) Proxy Servers
Proxy Servers may cause problems for Office 365 traffic. The Proxy Server serves no real purpose in an Office 365 environment and can become a liability. Consider bypassing or removing Proxy Servers.
5) Remote Site User Access
Consider whether remote users will access Office 365 directly or via a central break out. It is important to understand the implications of backhauling your traffic through the centre and consider whether it is really necessary.
6) Domain Name Service
Consider where your user devices Domain Name Service is hosted. For optimum performance Office 365 addresses must resolve to their nearest Data Centre. Getting this wrong could mean your users are accessing Office 365 in a different continent.
Migrating to an Office 365 environment may extend the life of your otherwise outdated workstations. If you are using older workstations with legacy network interfaces (especially wireless) make sure any perceived network issues are not workstation related.
I hope you have found this article useful. If you would like more information on the networking aspects of Office 365 migration please check out our Office 365 Network Guide which you can access using the form below.
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