Microsoft Office 365 Hybrid Upgrade Hawaii Financial Services

A Hawaii-based Financial Services firm was running an old, legacy version of Microsoft Exchange server. When it was time to decide whether to upgrade to the latest on-premises versions, or look at hosting the Exchange server in the cloud, the costs and benefits leaned toward cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 hybrid upgrade strategy.

The latest version of Windows Server running Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) server-class hardware was deployed and the Active Directory was upgraded and migrated from the legacy Windows server. Active Directory synchronization between the local, on-premises AD was set up with Microsoft Office 365. This allowed username and password synchronization between on-premises and Office 365, which meant that when the user’s password was changed on their local area network (LAN), the changes propagated to the cloud flawlessly. And adding or deleting a user account on the local server, also reflected the changes on the Office 365 admin portal.

Using native tools that were built-in to Microsoft Exchange Server, the huge quantity of mailbox data was migrated over several days without downtime or email outages. In addition, over 100 gigabytes of files were kept on-premises and migrated over to the new HPE server.

By moving Exchange email to the cloud, the firm didn’t need to purchase additional bandwidth. The bandwidth needs decreased because spam and other unwanted and unsolicited email messages were now being directed to Microsoft.

Microsoft Office 365, besides Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, One Drive for Business, included licenses for Microsoft Office Pro Plus which enabled the Partners and staff to upgrade to the latest versions. Office Pro Plus includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, and Skype. Further, with the ability to install Office Pro Plus on 5 computers, it kept license tracking and administrative time and hard dollar costs to a reasonable level.

Once the email was on Office 365, the much needed ActiveSync capabilities allowed the Partners to use their iPhones and Android smartphones for email, document, and spreadsheet collaboration with the office. This was especially critical to have when they were away on business trips.

Like any Microsoft Office 365 hybrid implementation, a local area network with a server, networked computers and printers was essential to the firm. That also meant that centralized network security and monitoring were still paramount. Improvements to security included a next generation WatchGuard firewall with the latest security features enabled, the latest versions of Symantec End-Point Security and Malwarebytes. Multi-tiered backup of files following best practice 3-2-1 Backup methodology was incorporated.

Training wasn’t a huge hurdle because everything was still Microsoft, just newer versions. With low barriers when switching from a fully on-premises to a Microsoft Office 365 hybrid environment, there was very little time lost during the transition, helping to keep the firm fully billable during the project engagement.

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