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Exchange to Office 365 Migration in 2020

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Is your business ready for the On-premise Exchange to Office 365 migration? No doubt, migrating from one system to another is a challenging process.

While it can be argued that on-premise Exchange and Office 365 are better compatible with each other than most other systems, there could still be quite a few hurdles for businesses to overcome while switching services.

This writeup should be of help to you and your organization regardless of your level of expertise. As with most IT tasks, this too can be achieved in multiple ways. We shall discuss two simple methods for Exchange to Office 365 migration.

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Cutover Migration

Office 365 Migrations

A cutover migration is one of the simplest ways to move mailboxes from the legacy Microsoft Exchange Server to Office 365 without any hiccups. Keep in mind the following criteria to assess if this is the best migration method for your requirement.

  • You are using currently using one of Microsoft Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010 or 2013 on-premises versions.
  • Your business has fewer than 2000 mailbox accounts.

As evident from the fact that this method applies to less than 2000 mailboxes, cutover migration is best suited for small and medium businesses. Here’s how you perform the migration.

  • Navigate to the Office 365 Admin Center>Group>Create new to create a mail-enabled security group.
  • The next step involves linking Office 365 to the On-Premise server. Go to Exchange Admin Center and perform the steps in this order. Recipients > Migration > New > Migrate to Exchange Online>Cutover Migration.
  • Select the product licenses from the list of available items such as Microsoft 365 Business plan and assign them to the appropriate users.
  • Re-route the domain from the existing Exchange server to the new Office 365 subscription.
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Staged Migration 

Office 365

A staged migration is the other option for more complex requirements. Below are the criteria to be taken into consideration for performing a staged migration.

  • You must be using Exchange Server 2003 or 2007 versions.
  • You are moving more than 2000 mailboxes.

These criteria demonstrate that staged migration is a better option for larger enterprises. It must also be noted that you might require the assistance of an experienced IT Administration for executing the process. Here are the steps to be taken for the migration.

  • Synchronize the user list on the existing Exchange server with Office 365.
  • Generate an Excel sheet with the list of mailboxes that have to be migrated. This simplifies the transfer of mailboxes without inputting the email address individually.
  • Perform a staged migration to move the mailboxes from Exchange Server to Office 365. Finally, assign licenses to the list of mailboxes that have been approved to make them ready for users.


Migration from one system to another entails significant changes in the way operations are performed. Even minor settings like user signatures will have to be carefully replicated in an Exchange to Office 365 migration.

As a trusted Microsoft CSP, Apps4REnt has performed several migrations for clients across the globe with 24/7 assistance via phone, chat, and email. Contact our Office 365 experts for assistance.