Microsoft Exchange is the most commonly used mail management and delivery system by most organizations. This flagship enterprise application is used by millions of businesses to send, receive, and manage email. As long as the exchange server is working smoothly, things are calm and business is humming along, but as the hardware begins to age and requires multiple reboots and instances of troubleshooting, it’s time to think of a solution.
Sure, your network may have a backup exchange server specifically for fail-over purposes and of course there would be multiple methods of keeping ready-to-go back ups at hand, but when it comes time to upgrade the Exchange set up within a network, it doesn’t hurt to think about cloud-based solutions that eliminate the antiquated practices of a physical exchange server.
Microsoft released Office 365 in 2011, and it has steadily become a steady and reliable solution for organizations spanning all industries. Office 365 is sold as a SaaS application (software-as-a-service) which places a company’s exchange server in the cloud and provides a level of management and reliability that was never possible to achieve with on site exchange servers.
Law firms stand to benefit specifically with many of the features offered by Office 365. From security to manageability, Office 365 is a no-brainer for any law practice. Some of the benefits of Office 365 include:
- No on-site hardware to maintain and upgrade
- No need to consider scaling
- Easier central management
- Better webmail
- Cohesive workflows between on-site and the cloud (anywhere access to
documents and emails)
- Security and protection far better than on site servers
- Multi-factor authentication and device data management are easier to enable
and execute than ever
Law firms often struggle with the issue of employees leaving and still potentially having access to sensitive data, Office 365 provides an intuitive administration console with several methods of blocking unwanted users from accessing the firm’s data. Furthermore, Office 365 is compliant with most commonly required modern day security standards such as ISO-27001, HIPAA, FISMA, and GDPR. The best thing is that as more compliance standards become required, Microsoft continues to update Office 365 with minimal to no disturbance to users.
The San Francisco Bar association also recommends Office 365 for Bay Area law firms.
Migrating to Office 365
Migrating to Office 365 from an on-site Exchange server is a fairly simple process, but it’s best to consider the following before embarking on the leap into the cloud:
- Consider an MSP or consultancy to lead and administer the migration so complexities such as user permissions and public folders aren’t lost in translation.
- Consider unused mailboxes since Office 365 has a per-license cost
- Note down any third-party add-ins such as document management software
and ensure compatibility with Office 365
- Time the migration properly to avoid downtime and confusion
- Ensure users bring all devices previously configured with the on-site
Exchange settings to the office so I.T staff can configure everything at once
- Office 2007 is no longer supported by Microsoft, so users will be required to
upgrade to the Office 365 desktop application in order for mail-flow to work
- Have your I.T service provider educate users on the different user interface
and features of Office 365
With great migration tools and features available by Microsoft, migrating to the cloud can be a painless process which will launch your firm into the future. Simply take the time to consider the factors associated with the migration, get a plan in place, and have your I.T team be on-site for any issues before, during, and after the migration.
Living in the San Francisco Bay area, it's best for your firm to stay on the cutting edge of technology and Microsoft Office 365 enables any firm to implement and utilize all of the benefits that cloud computing has to offer.
Once you’ve been working with Office 365, you will be in awe of the features and ease of use compared to how it was with an on-site exchange server environment.