The Rackspace Business Productivity Rx: Pursue a Smooth Migration

At some point, your business will probably encounter one of these scenarios . . .

  • Switching from an in-house email system to a hosted email service
  • Switching from one hosted email service to another
  • Changing your company name and, as a result, changing your associated email domain

And when that time comes, you may need to move (or “migrate”) email from one set of email servers to another.

Email migrations are designed to be a seamless transition that happens behind the scenes, so that your business email can keep flowing. There are, however, several important things that you and your employees can do to help ensure a smooth email migration:

  1. Identify POP users. Employees who use a POP connection to access email probably don’t need to be included in the migration, since POP users store their email on their individual computer and not on the email server.
  2. Create new mailboxes first. Before starting a migration, be sure that you’ve created identical mailboxes, group lists, and aliases on the new email system. This way, email will be delivered seamlessly to the new system after the migration.
  3. Gather all user names and passwords. Make note of all mailbox names and passwords—for both the old (source) system and the new (destination) system. You’ll need this information in order to perform the migration.
  4. Avoid password changes. When preparing for a migration, ask your employees to avoid making changes to their email passwords. After the migration has been completed, however, you may want to encourage employees to change their passwords, as a security best practice.
  5. Purge email clutter. Ask your employees to delete unnecessary email (such as spam, mailing list emails, personal email, etc.). This can drastically improve the speed of your migration.
  6. Prepare for app adjustments. Employees who use an email app, such as Microsoft Outlook, will need to make a few changes to the app settings after the migration (so that they can begin receiving email from the new email server). You may want to instruct employees in advance.
  7. Make room. Be sure that the new mailboxes are at least 30% bigger than the old mailboxes, so that storage capacity issues don’t slow down your migration.
  8. Test first. Always run a test migration on a single mailbox before running the full migration, to identify any potential issues.
  9. Don’t cancel your old service too soon. Keep your old email service until you have confirmed that all email has been migrated successfully, and email is now being delivered properly through the new email service.
  10. Schedule your migration strategically. Schedule your migration for a time when email activity is typically light for your business, such as during the weekend and/or in the evening.

With a little effort, you can help create a smooth migration that flows seamlessly, behind the scenes, so your employees and your business can keep running productively.


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