This content is part of the Essential Guide: The essential Office 365 migration guide
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Foundations of an Office 365 deployment

There are several steps involved in a successful Office 365 migration, but building a solid foundation with these essentials is the most important.

Office 365 has received a lot of attention as businesses look at the possibility of migrating to the cloud. While it has the potential to lower a business's IT costs and ease administration, the planning to move to Office 365 is extensive and can be overwhelming.

In Office 365: Migrating and Managing Your Business in the Cloud, (available for free download through the publisher's open access program), authors Matthew Katzer and Don Crawford go into detail about everything organizations should consider when planning an Office 365 deployment. They it break down into three phases and say the first part -- and arguably the most important one -- begins with deciding which of the three subscription plans your organization will purchase. Only after purchasing the plan can an organization determine exactly how it will deploy Office 365.

In this excerpt, Katzer and Crawford describe each part of the planning process and break down each step in pre-deployment.

Planning and Purchase Chapter Structure

There are many choices in Office 365: how you purchase, how you deploy, and what is involved in an Office 365 migration project. The purpose of this chapter is to help you through the planning process. At this point, we assume that you have made a decision to use Office 365 and are at the point of "what to do next."

Pre-deployment: This is your preplanning and purchase step. You are collecting information for the deployment and post-deployment phases.

Deployment: You are deploying Office 365. We review the planning areas of an Office 365 deployment and what you need to consider as you manage your project. Typically, this is Lync (voice) and Exchange (email) services.

Post-deployment: You have finished moving your business email to the cloud. You are now moving other business-critical functions (such as SharePoint) to Office 365.

We will review each of these planning areas in detail to help you through your Office 365 deployment. In each of these areas, we will reference the chapters in the book to assist you with additional information about Office 365.


Purchasing Office 365 is the first step in your Office 365 migration. We talk about the purchase process first, because we have found that many people just want to get started (me included) and tend to read anything called "planning" later. The pre-deployment planning areas cover these topics.

Step 1: Purchase Your Subscription(s) (or Start a Trial)

  • Use a sign-up link from your Microsoft Partner
  • Choose your Microsoft domain name: the "xxx" of (this cannot be changed; this is also the basis of your SharePoint site URL)
  • Consider your branding
  • Choose the correct plan. We always recommend Enterprise for price and flexibility
  • You cannot move your brand to another plan (easily)
  • Buy the licenses that you need
  • Combine/Purchase link: Windows Intune and Office 365

Step 2: Choose Your Sign-on Method

  • Office 365 sign-on
  • DirSync with passwords
  • ADFS/single sign-on
  • ADFS/SSO with Exchange Federation

Step 3: Collect Your Information

  • Domain names and DNS
  • Where are your people located? Home? On the road?
  • Users and administrators
  • Distribution groups, security groups
  • Resources and conference rooms
  • "Public" external contacts
  • Email sending copiers
  • Email accounts: aliases and special e-mail address (such as from your website)
  • Use of Exchange public folders
  • Internet speeds
  • Software and hardware inventory; PC updates
  • Hardware/software upgrades
  • Verify version minimums
  • Phone/voicemail interactions
  • Compliance archive requirements

Step 4: Define Your Migration Plan and Schedule

  • Define migration plan and schedule
  • Validate custom domain before user load and Lync setup
  • Pilot considerations
  • Software deployment
  • Exchange Federation considerations

Step 5: Microsoft Account and Organizational Account

  • Microsoft account is one of:,,
  • Organizational ID is an Office 365 login
  • Windows 8 login
  • Effects in SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro
  • Effects in external sharing

Step 6: SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro

  • Microsoft account/Organizational ID
  • Limits and limitations

Step 7: Windows Intune

  • Initial configuration
  • User load
  • User installation
  • Support for pilot and implementation
  • Windows Intune Administration (See Chapter 7 of the book)

"Step 1: Purchase Your Subscription(s)" is the most important step in starting Office 365. If you do not purchase correctly, you must start over. Many of the decisions that you make at the time of initial purchase cannot be changed later.

Excerpted from Office 365: Migrating and Managing Your Business in the Cloud, first edition, by Matthew Katzer and Don Crawford (ISBN: 9781430265269). Copyright © 2014, Apress Media. All rights reserved.

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And the Public Cloud providers are hit hard by the major security issue again.
With Office 365, you can stream full versions of Office desktop software from the cloud from any internet connected Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC. For Office 365 Small Business Premium, you can also download and install Office applications such as Word and Excel onto your computer