I wanted to take a moment to share an interesting acquisition scenario which was skillfully pulled out of the fire. This happened to be an on premises Exchange to Exchange Online migration.
The child entity with several thousand mailboxes and a ton of data was migrated from Exchange on-premises into the parent company’s Exchange Online (EOL) tenant.
This particular scenario illustrates the vital necessity of proper alignment and continual realignment between the business and technology.
Here’s how it rolled out:
After significant review and discovery of the source (child) and destination (parent) business and their environment, including all business and management roles, we began the mailbox migration/synchronization. The particulars surrounding this mailbox migration involved performing a full sync of mailboxes wherein all mailbox data was pushed to the parent company’s EOL tenant. Then, at a predetermined future time, the child entity cut over.
Although we had gone through and performed all necessary due diligence with the business and technology, it was determined roughly 3/4 of the way through the data migration (synchronization) that a vital understanding and decision point hadn’t properly connected.
Many businesses maintain retention on their data. This particular client maintains strict data retention policies. These could not be altered (if over a year, move to online archive; if over 2 years, delete). However, the child company had no such retention, where mailbox data, including that of shared, equipment and room mailboxes, dated back some 5 plus years.
The parent company’s email retention policies were automatically applied via self-healing checks and balances upon existing and new mailboxes, thus maintaining ideal continuity and standards. During the migration, when the child company mailboxes were created in the new environment, these inherited the parent’s retention policies. As child data was being sync’ed into the parent EOL tenant, all data over 1 year was being pushed to archives. If data exceeded 2 years, it was being deleted.
Additionally, during a routine project review, multiple child mailboxes were identified for litigation hold, as well as sensitive archives; both of which required to be maintained minimally for 30 to 60 days post migration. We were able to successfully backtrack and temporarily suspend retention policies, for these migrated (child) mailboxes. Later, after cut over, these mailboxes were placed back within scope of approved business retention policies.
Standard project reviews, as well as break-glass planning, allowed for quick identification and remediation of these data retention challenges.
Retention of data is just one of the thousands of elements and important details which must be properly understood and addressed for any type of data migration. Haphazardly jumping into any sort of migration can lead to data loss. In addition, due to the insurmountable number of details associated with a migration, these can be easily lost and not properly understood.
Sidestep unintended consequences – engage DTS to transition your email services to Exchange Online.
DTS Inc. | Principal Architect & CEO