When planning your roadmap, it’s best to start with your end goal in mind. IT teams should ponder whether they’d benefit the most from a cloud, on-premise, or hybrid deployment. The ideal answer can differ from organization to organization, so let’s take a closer look at the three key ways to upgrade:
Migrate to the Cloud with Office 365
Migrating to the cloud is often the simplest upgrade option for Exchange 2010, and has certain best practices suited for businesses of any size. Businesses with less than 150 mailboxes (also known as seats) can upgrade in a week or less using cutover migration. Or, organizations with tens of thousands of mailboxes can use full hybrid migration to transfer all capabilities in a matter of weeks.
Organizations can enjoy many benefits and features through their Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscriptions. To name a few:
- Greater Compliance Capabilities – Exchange Online intrinsically includes both default and custom retention policies. Users can also preserve emails and inboxes via in-place holds and litigation holds. They can also use eDiscovery to identify and deliver information that could be used as evidence in legal cases.
Access to Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams enables unified communications (UC) through a single hub for your entire communications infrastructure. Within Teams, employees can communicate via video, voice, and instant messenger, while housing and sharing documents within your organization.
Access to Power BI – Power BI provides an array of software services, apps, and connectors that are able to associate datasets and turn them into interactive visualizations of business insights.
Focused Inboxes – Focused inboxes help your employees see their most important messages first, while still having access to an “Other” mailbox that contains emails that may be less important.
Access to MyAnalytics – This application analyzes a user’s activities to better understand their work habits, and provide constructive paths to improve productivity.
Best of all, Office 365 eliminates many small, maintenance-related concerns that were present in many Exchange 2010 deployments. Since Office 365 is hosted in the cloud, there’s no need to purchase and maintain dedicated hardware. Additionally, Office 365 will automatically ensure your entire organization is up-to-date on security and product updates – and you’ll always be running the most recent edition of Exchange Online through your subscription.
Stay On-Premises with Exchange 2016
While it’s generally recommended to migrate to Exchange Online to achieve the best value and user experience, some organizations choose to keep their Exchange deployment on-premises. This is often done to stay compliant with industry regulations, but some organizations may have unique business requirements that only a fully on-premises deployment can provide.
There are a few notable improvements that Exchange 2016 users will experience:
Intrinsic Malware Protection – All emails that are sent and received within your organization will enjoy built-in, automatic malware scans. This provides an additional layer of protection from security threats.
Improved Collaboration – Exchange 2016 introduced the capability for organizations to share documents from OneDrive for Business, which lets users edit or view the file from within Exchange. This is more efficient than attaching documents directly to an email.
New Data Loss Prevention Capabilities – Organizations often transmit secure or sensitive data through exchange. With Data Loss Prevention, Exchange 2016 users can set new compliance policies to ensure that people follow your organization’s transport rules.
Use Exchange Online and Exchange 2016 for a Hybrid Approach
This method is most common for organizations that want to migrate their mailboxes to the cloud, but would still like to maintain an on-premise requirement. With this process, organizations will keep a small Exchange environment in their on-premise data center, which will allow them to meet any on-premise requirements for applications or devices not compatible with Exchange Online as well as make changes to Exchange receipts on-premises.
There are two primary ways to conduct this migration, which depend on when your upgrade process is slated to finish:
Migrating Before October 13, 2020 – This is the recommended method. Simply connect Exchange 2010 to Office 365, and migrate all of your mailboxes to the cloud. Then, migrate your Exchange 2010 deployment to Exchange 2016, eliminating any remaining Exchange 2010 servers.
Migrating After October 13, 2020 – If your organization falls behind on your upgrading initiative, upgrade your on-premise Exchange 2010 servers to Exchange 2016. Then, you will be able to connect your Exchange 2016 deployment to Office 365 and migrate your mailboxes.