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5 Essential Questions to Ask Before Transferring Your Company’s Email to Microsoft 365

Microsoft’s product suite is a great fit for businesses that want an all-in-one productivity and collaboration solution, though many are first drawn to it because they want a more reliable email service.

Thinking about making the switch to Microsoft 365 for email? Ask these questions before migrating. 

Company working on email.

At Codepoet, we’re big advocates for Microsoft 365. Microsoft’s product suite is a great fit for businesses that want an all-in-one productivity and collaboration solution, though many are first drawn to it because they want a more reliable email service.

Microsoft 365’s email services are reliable, secure, and cost-effective, but that doesn’t mean you should jump right into a migration without doing your homework.

When we do an initial consultation with a client who’s thinking about migrating their email to Microsoft 365, here are some of the questions we ask to help determine whether it’ll be a good idea for their organization.

1. Why do you need a new email provider? What are your current pain points and how will Microsoft 365 solve them?

First things first, figure out why you want to migrate.

You don’t necessarily need a major reason— wanting a well-known, easy-to-use, cloud-based email solution is absolutely good enough to migrate— but if pain points are driving the decision, get clear on those.

For example, if spam, email deliverability, and customer support are three areas you’re currently struggling with, vet those categories extra carefully before migrating to Microsoft 365. Other common issues we see include downtime due to network outages and maintenance, expensive storage, security issues, tricky user interfaces, lack of integration with other tools, and overall cost.

The good news is that Microsoft 365 can solve these issues and others. It’s still smart to write down your reasons for migrating and exactly how the migration will solve any problems, though.

2. Will you use the full Microsoft 365 software suite? If yes, how will you facilitate the transition?

Microsoft 365 includes Outlook, but the subscription includes so much more than email.

You’ll get an entire suite of productivity and collaboration tools, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Sharepoint, and more. Assuming you want to get the most out of your subscription, it makes sense to migrate people over to these tools in addition to Outlook for their emails and calendars. 

If your team currently uses a different software setup, like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you’ll want to approach a potential migration with caution.

Making the switch over to Microsoft isn’t too difficult in theory, but switching tools does represent a foundational change in the way people work. People will need time to learn how Microsoft’s tools fit into their workflows, and they’ll need support during and after the migration.

For many companies, it’s worth the extra training and support when you factor in the total cost and productivity savings of moving to a solution like Microsoft 365.

But, if you don’t plan to use all (or most) of the tools available in Microsoft 365, migrating may or may not be a smart investment. 

3. Do you have enough technical resources to facilitate an email migration?

Migrating email can be a surprisingly complex process.

Getting it done correctly and without downtime or disruption requires lots of planning and technical expertise. Some companies have enough internal resources to manage the process without any extra hassle.

Others don’t, and in these cases, it’s best to get some assistance from an external partner.

Extra help doesn’t have to be expensive and oftentimes, it doesn’t cost anything at all.

When vetting external migration partners you may notice that many offer free migrations. That’s not a typo and there’s no catch. The migration is truly free, though you will pay the per-user licensing cost for whichever plan you choose. 

Microsoft makes it easy for trusted third-party partners to provide this service and it's a win for everyone involved. If you want to learn more about our migration process at Codepoet, this page has everything you need to know.

4. What’s your plan for ongoing support and management?

In addition to the technical resources required for the migration itself, you should also consider what ongoing resources you’ll need. 

Companies with 50+ users generally benefit from having a defined plan for user, data, device, and security management and support. Ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and reporting will also help you proactively identify issues and plan for future needs.

Keeping up requires technical resources, so make sure you have a plan for handling ongoing, post-migration IT needs. 

5. What security and compliance requirements, if any, exist in your industry?

Before doing anything with your email, it’s vital that you understand what compliance requirements exist for your business.

If you’re responsible for complying with laws like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), or FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), you need to triple-check that any email solutions you use are compliant. 

Fortunately, Microsoft 365 has strong security features and it’s possible to set up your environment in a way that meets various compliance obligations.

Even if you aren’t technically responsible for meeting any industry standards, it’s still wise to pay attention here — implementing security best practices like Two-Factor Authentication (TFA), password policies, regular backups, data encryption, and user access management are non-negotiable practices that protect your company and its data.

Additional areas to assess before migrating email to Microsoft 365

These five questions will help you figure out whether it makes sense to migrate your company’s email to Microsoft 365. Once you understand why you want to migrate, how you’ll accomplish the migration, and how you’ll resource ongoing support and maintenance, you can start planning the details to ensure a smooth transition.

For a more detailed look at how we plan and execute email migrations, check out our Rackspace to Microsoft 365: Pre-Migration Guide & Checklist. The general steps can be used for any email migration to Microsoft 365, not just Rackspace.