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Why SHOULDN'T we switch to Office 365 for E-mail only

Posted on 2013-11-07
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I'm putting together the final stages of my Disaster Recovery Plan and one of my options is to move our e-mail from our internal Exchange 2010 server to the E1 Office 365 plan.  
My question is "is this really a good idea?"

With 365 e-mail do I get all the controls I have with my own Exchange server in house.
i.e. distribution lists, public calendars, forwarding email, granting other users permissions to a mailbox, limiting mailbox size, sending warnings when mailbox is reaching it's limits,  etc?

Point are high because I'm hoping for multiple opinions.
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Question by:jrsitman
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by:Skyler Kincaid
Skyler Kincaid earned 150 total points
ID: 39632020
If you are looking for only downsides:

1. When we switched we say a lot of intermittent down times but none of them lasted very long.
2. You have all the same control as an internal server but you will have to do everything through remote Power Shell.
3. If you use SSO for ease of use it defeats the purpose of having your email hosted offsite because you need to have a server internally on your domain linked to the online Exchange Server for things to work correctly. If your SSO server internally goes down you can't log into email because it uses it to verify credentials.

That is all I can think of right now, for downsides.
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by:Nick Rhode
ID: 39632028
And how much faith you have in your ISP not to be down :)
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Author Comment

by:jrsitman
ID: 39632033
Don't know what SSO is, so I doubt we use it.  I'm sure I could learn Power Shell
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by:jrsitman
ID: 39632045
We use Telepacific and have a T1 and MPLS both with automatic backup if one or the other fails.  So it's pretty reliable.
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by:Skyler Kincaid
ID: 39632138
It is called Single Sign On:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh852486.aspx

The technet article gives an overview. The idea is beneficial but implementation is the hard part.
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Author Comment

by:jrsitman
ID: 39632322
If our e-mail is currently coming in to our Exchange server using bandwidth, would the mail coming and going from 365 use more or less bandwidth?
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by:Skyler Kincaid
Skyler Kincaid earned 150 total points
ID: 39632332
This is only a guess:

Exactly the same. The messages and attachments still travel in and out. The other thing that might cause it to be a little more is authentication request and public folder request.
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by:Nagendra Pratap Singh
Nagendra Pratap Singh earned 75 total points
ID: 39632644
In office 365 messages may travel on wan multiple times. Server is on the other side of WAN.

In internal server, mail comes down only once on the WAN cable. This uses less bandwidth and actually is more responsive because at least internal mail is sent/recd at LAN speeds. Even downloaded mails transfers faster to your desktop.
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Vasil Michev (MVP) earned 137 total points
ID: 39632749
The biggest concern for you (and the users) should be message recover. In Office 365 you can do the 'recover my mail from 1st of Jan' scenario. You have a lot of recovery options, but you need to plan carefully. Single item recovery is enabled by default and it will be the primary method, but if possible I would suggest getting litigation hold (and all the premium features of EO plan 2).

You also have less control over some features since you are using a shared service. Take throttling for example - you cannot even view the settings, let alone change them.

And I wouldn't agree on the SSO point, AD FS is designed for resiliency and if you follow the best practices you do not have to worry about it.
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 138 total points
ID: 39633144
The biggest issue with Office365 for most of my clients is one thing they cannot do anything about. That is the fact that it is controlled by a US company, and therefore it doesn't matter where the content is located, US law enforcement can look at it whenever they like and you don't have to be told. You are on a shared platform. If one of the other people on the platform is up to no good and the server is seized, that is you stuffed.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:jrsitman
ID: 39633538
This is all great information.

When our data is uploaded from our Exchange server to 365, will everything transfer as is.  i.e. public calendars, mailbox sub folders, etc.?
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Author Comment

by:jrsitman
ID: 39633553
If the server was seized, couldn't Microsoft restore a backup of our data?
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Author Comment

by:jrsitman
ID: 39633563
How long is email retained?  I have a retention policy setup to keep all received and sent e-mail for 90 days.  Can I still do that?
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by:Vasil Michev (MVP)
Vasil Michev (MVP) earned 137 total points
ID: 39633650
You can choose which mailboxes/DG/contacts to migrate. There are different options to migrate to EO, it is best to review them here:

http://help.outlook.com/en-us/140/538c48ad-4a3d-4777-be1b-7fc533ca45eb

The default retention policy is "2 years move to archive". Nothing is deleted unless you choose to do so. Here is a list with the default tags you get and how to change them if you want:

http://help.outlook.com/en-US/140/gg271153.aspx#defaulttags

You can also do it in the GUI if you prefer.
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Author Comment

by:jrsitman
ID: 39633927
Thanks for all the information.  I'll be splitting points today

@sembee2, do you know if Microsoft could restore our data in the event a server was seized?
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Assisted Solution

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 138 total points
ID: 39635542
As far as I am aware, Microsoft operate Office365 in the same way as they operate their internal Exchange platform - no backups. They depend on multiple copies of the data, which potentially could mean that all copies are seized.

You would have to ask Microsoft for confirmation, as for the clients I have spoken to, the fact that it could happen is enough to nix the idea.

Simon.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jrsitman
ID: 39635735
Thanks to all for the information
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