Implementing Office 365 for business

Posted on 2014-03-28
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-03-28
Hello all:

I am looking to move my existing company from an internally domain controlled environment to Office 365.  Our company has contracted considerable since its glory day, where we had over 50 employees to now only having 4 (actually three because I am in the process of transitioning to a new company).

Because I am leaving I do not want to leave them high and dry, and wanted to create something that would be relatively easy to maintain.

My scenario is the following:

I have Win Server 2008 R2
Exchange 2007
MySQL Server (not a dc)
NAS Device

My domain is MyDomain.local with an external name of MyDomain.com with web presence (hosted, not internal - so this probably does not matter much)

What I want to do is move everything off premise with the exception of the MySQL server.  I've been looking at Office 365 and it looks to be all they really need at this point.  They have online storage (which will replace the NAS device), host exchange (will remove the Exchange Server), and of course MS Office.

Now while I understand this all from a high level, I want to really understand how to implement this solution.  My main concerns are as follows:

1) How would I migrate the Exchange Store?  Would I just copy mail to a pst file and then upload them?

2) Would I be able to create a sign on where once they log onto their computers locally, they will always be connected to their shares, etc?  I looking to see if there is a way to emulate a locally networked environment.

These seem to be my two biggest hurdles as I want it to be as transparent as possible.  I looked online, but could not find any numbers to call MS directly regarding this and everything seems to point to MS partners, and I do not want to go that route.

Any help with these items and any other items you may think of would be greatly appreciated.  I may ask other questions on this thread as I deem fit for the overall discussion as I cannot think of any other major humps besides the two I mentioned.

Many thanks!

Question by:Juan Ocasio
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
Scott Fell,  EE MVE earned 800 total points
ID: 39961666
> but could not find any numbers to call MS directly regarding this

You will see there is a chat where you can get started http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/business/compare-office-365-for-business-plans-FX102918419.aspx?tab=1  Once you start your free trial, there is a number that will be  provided and the help is pretty good.  If you always contact help at the same time, you are assigned the same team each time.

>Would I be able to create a sign on where once they log onto their computers locally
You can sign in using http://office.microsoft.com/  Once signed in, you can go to online outlook or sharepoint etc.  If you are in the desktop software, you can point to save online.  In the event you do get logged out, simply signing in again does the trick.  You can choose to stay logged in and I believe it is for 90days.

It is best to not rely 100% on office365 for word, outlook and excel as the web versions are not full functioning.  When you sign up, make sure you already have licenses for the desktop software or sign up for the version that comes with both the software and cloud.

You should really sign up for the 30 day trial.  You will get a temp domain to use like yourdomain.onmicrosoft.com or you can add a subdomain of your own to play with.  

I would also suggest test driving google apps for business and have the end users try both.  As somebody that is well versed in IT, you will probably like what MS has to offer better and the amount of control is finer.    If the users after you leave just want something easy they don't have think about, google apps will be that.  Personally, I don't like gmail interface and office365/outlook.com has done a good job to emulate the desktop version but I use my phone/desktop for email and rarely rely on webmail myself.

There is a migration tool to move your data over.

Start with the trials.
LVL 42

Accepted Solution

Vasil Michev (MVP) earned 1200 total points
ID: 39961670
There are several migration types from existing Exchange, you can review them here:


Cutover migration should give you least trouble, and it's easy to set up. You will need a valid certificate for it, and you can get one for free from comodo or startssl.com. For 4 mailboxes, every method will work fine, even manually copying all the content between the accounts.

For the 'network share' equivalent, you can use OneDrive Pro application, which is part of the Office Pro Plus suite , or you can directly map their Personal SharePoint Online folders (again named OneDrive). You can even redirect their Documents folders to it. Just be warned, it's not an actual replacement for a network share. But it can be configured to work much like it.

if they want to be able to login with the same credentials, you can also install dirsync with password sync, though for that many users it's a bit overkill IMO.

P.S. you can get the Office 365 Technical support numbers here:

LVL 14

Author Comment

by:Juan Ocasio
ID: 39961738
Thanks for the speed replies.  I greatly appreciate it.  Scott: I'd definitely implement the plan with the desktop versions (I believe the plan was E2 or something like that).  I, too, am not too partial on the web based email or office (so google apps would not be a great fit).  Additionally, I want it to be as familiar to the remaining employees as possible.

Vasil:  With respect to the login issue, I want this to be as seamless as possible, so that's why I am trying to figure out if the user can log into their computer and be automatically logged into the shared folders with Office 365.  I know when I played with SkyDrive before, there was actually a way to create a mapped drive to it.  Can this be done with Office 365 and One Drive?  I'm not sure if they would really need SharePoint as they do not do a lot of collaboration, unless there is another really useful reason to implement it.  I'm not too familiar with it.

Any other thoughts are most certainly welcomed.  I will check out some of the links provided to see how I fare.

Many thanks!

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LVL 14

Author Closing Comment

by:Juan Ocasio
ID: 39961857
Thanks for the info.  I am very appreciative of your help.  I awarded a bit more points to Vasil as the link provided was great.

Thanks again,

LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:Vasil Michev (MVP)
ID: 39961892
In office 365, the personal OneDrive (for business) is part of SharePoint. So if you are not planning to use SharePoint, OneDrive will not be available. You can use the free one, but that one is not related to Office 365 (apart from the fact that it's again called OneDrive, but without the 'for business' label).

Another important thing to understand is that in Exchange Online, there is no true backup and item/mailbox recovery is responsibility of the end user (the admins).  If for example someone deletes an important mail, there is only a limited period in which it can be recovered, and Microsoft will not help you with any request of the 'please recover my message from Jan 1st' type. The more expensive plans include In-place hold, which can preserve mail indefinitely, though again some knowledge will be needed to recover the mail.

It's not really a rocket science, but they will still need someone with experience for this and few other things. They can always open a case with Microsoft, but even if they end up with a good agent, they will still need to know they way around the service. Microsoft agents are not allowed to perform any tasks on behalf of the customer, they can only give you instructions.

The good news is that there are tons of materials over the net, and most common issues have already been described in details.
LVL 14

Author Comment

by:Juan Ocasio
ID: 39962004
Thanks again Vasil:

I will probably still help them out, so we should be OK.  I just didn't want something to happen during the day that needed immediate attention, ie, the server going down or exchange store being stopped or some other whacky issue that would stop them from doing their day to day business.

BTW:  Do you know if there is a way to add alias to the email addresses?

LVL 14

Author Comment

by:Juan Ocasio
ID: 39962017
Never mind about the alias.  I got it.

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