How to Migrate Your Business from Google Workspace to Microsoft Office 365

Planning the Migration

Planning is critical to the success of your Google Workspace to Microsoft 365 migration. It all starts with evaluating the status of your Google Workspace environment and knowing what your organization uses. This goes a long way in helping you formulate a suitable migration approach.

Most organizations prefer “lifting and shifting” data to prevent potential losses. Others prefer to migrate essential data such as cloud files and emails. This allows them to create their new solutions from scratch after migrating. Thanks to the differences in Microsoft’s and Google’s data handling approaches, there’s an inherent risk of losing conformity.

For this reason, understanding the differences between the two cloud environments can help you craft a suitable migration approach and increase your chances of success. It will also be easier to set and communicate your expectations with your end-users. The migration is likely to affect most aspects of your organization. You should also consider your data structures, workflows, collaboration, and compliance requirements.

Backing Up Your Google Workspace Data

It’s essential to back up data in your Workspace environment before you start migrating to Microsoft 365. Data backups are critical because:

  • They protect your data from ransomware and accidental or intentional deletions during the migration.
  • Backups make the migration safer and quicker.
  • You can conveniently restore your data in a matter of minutes.
  • You can use your backup as a cheaper version of 0365 Litigation Hold or Google Vault.

Remember that the migration process always has the risk of data loss. Even if you hire a managed service provider to oversee the migration, the chances are that they’ll back up your files before mapping and transporting them. After moving your data from Workspace to Microsoft 355, it’s essential to keep backing it up to prevent potential data loss down the line.

What Migration Tool Should You Use?

There are dozens of native toolsets you can use when migrating to Microsoft 365. These help you migrate your data into the platform from Google Workspace and other environments. Besides these tools, you may want to utilize third-party migration tools that suit your organization’s migration goals. The essential considerations for choosing a migration tool are:

  • The supported migration environments.
  • Data security, privacy, and compliance with regulatory standards (PCI-DSS, GDPR, HIPAA, etc.).
  • What will and what won’t be migrated.
  • Support availability and options.
  • Endpoint configuration and management.
  • Licensing cost and options.

Indeed, leveraging third-party tools and managed service providers for your migration may come at a cost, but it makes things more straightforward. With the right migration tool and MSP, there’ll be less post-migration stress.

Finding a Suitable Migration Strategy

After finding the migration tool of your choice, settle on a strategy to drive the process. There are three main Google Workspace to Microsoft 365 migration strategies. These are:

  • Pre-staged cutover.
  • Big-bang migration.
  • Co-existence migration.

Pre-Stage Cutover is undoubtedly the most used migration strategy and helps you move most of your organization’s data. It also allows for space and time to complete other critical tasks related to the migration. This helps reduce the time required for system cutover. However, this strategy comes with the risk of the changes on the source failing to replicate to the destination. Most tools will only help you to copy data instead of syncing it.

The Big-Bang migration strategy often gets deployed by smaller organizations that can cope with service disruptions. It’s also the most cost-effective migration strategy, so smaller organizations prefer to deploy it. On the flip side, the Big-Bang migration strategy may lead to drawbacks such as delays in data access and availability, missing data, and prolonged downtime depending on the volume and scope of data getting migrated.

The Co-Existence approach is primarily reserved for large and more complex organizations that can’t migrate everyone and everything concurrently. For instance, if your organization opts to move each business unit independently with minimal service disruption, the Co-Existence approach will suit you. Nevertheless, this approach is expensive and may take months to complete.

Documenting Your Migration

As with any data-related process, documentation is critical to your migration from Google to Microsoft 365. Your team should document every step for reference and compliance purposes. Furthermore, documentation makes post-project evaluation easy since you’ll quickly tell how each step was undertaken.

When it comes to documentation, end-user instruction is one element that often gets overlooked. For this reason, as you plan how you’ll communicate with your team and document the process, consider what the team and end-users need to know. You may also want to simulate different scenarios and document the experience yourself.

An effective way to document your migration is by using a centralized and organized repository. Most organizations use File Share, but once you operationalize your Microsoft 365 tenant, you can use Teams, SharePoint Site, or OneNote Notebook to document and communicate essential tasks.

Executing the Migration

Once you’re ready to migrate from Google Workspace to Microsoft 365, the process shouldn’t be too difficult. Microsoft provides a clear outline of how to move your email, users, and data from Google Workspace. Following the guide makes the migration straightforward and stress-free.

Final Thoughts: Why You Need an MSP

Migrating from Google Workspace to Microsoft Office 365 can cause service disruptions, not to mention the risk of data loss. You need an MSP partner with cloud migration expertise to oversee the process while implementing practices suited to your organization.

At White Mountain Computer Consulting, we’re committed to providing best-in-class outsourced cloud migration services and tech support to businesses. We’re based in Nashua and Manchester, NH, but serve clients throughout the US. Contact us today to learn more.

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