For most organisations, it’s hard to see their future email environments continuing to be deployed and supported on-premise. The pros of moving to Office 365 are well documented. However, the act of migration requires careful planning to make it a success.

Having worked with customers on numerous Office 365 projects, we’ve highlighted three major challenges that organisations should be mindful of.

1. Identity follows the user, not the device

In the new Microsoft cloud-first world, Office 365 is licensed per user. In enrolling for the service, separate user credentials are created in 365’s Azure Active Directory for every member of staff. Most organisations operate on-premise Active Directory for identity management, this creates the instant problem of managing two sets of credentials.

Challenges arise for IT teams and users when two sets of credentials are in play. Internal service desks experience more calls as users forget credentials and lock themselves out of systems. Headaches for IT are created as multiple credentials need to be managed.

The good news is there are ways to mitigate these challenges and arrive at a single set of credentials for both on-premise and Office 365 systems.

2. You don’t want your data going dark

Moving to Microsoft Office 365 is liberating for your users. In some cases, users can activate up to ten devices on their Office 365 subscription. This means it’s possible to work “on the go” on almost any device.

Consequently, IT teams need to give serious thought to the data flows that begin to emerge in this new environment. It’s common that company data will quickly reside on a plethora of devices, many of which may not be company-owned. As such, there’s a very real possibility that Office 365 will make it easier for users to create and store “dark data”; that is data that IT teams will have no knowledge of. Office 365 brings into sharp focus the importance of data governance, especially with new laws on the horizon like the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation.)

3. Mobility is great but needs to be managed

Office 365 ushers in a new attractive world of mobile working for users and with it, many of the benefits of more productive working practices. However, it’s possible that Office 365 may bypass some of the Mobile Device Management (MDM) measures already in place. The flexible licensing features mean that a single user license can be used to install Office 365 on a number of personally owned devices. Therefore, when rolling Office 365 services out, it is important to look closely at the MDM investments already made by the business.

There’s no question Microsoft Office 365 is a fantastic service. However, without properly considering these three challenges, migration projects can quickly run into trouble.

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