After following the previous seven steps in the Business Email 101 Guide, you should have selected a solid email hosting provider and are deciding how to handle your existing email data.
Some businesses choose to archive the old email data into an archiving solution and allow new emails to run through the new system. This can create issues when searching for older emails from your inbox. Retrieving the older emails may require using a different system or contacting the IT team to pull.
To avoid that headache, most businesses migrate their existing email into the new provider's system. This migration might be a one-time data dump or a stepped data migration over time depending on the size and requirements of the business.
Migrating email data is the both the most risky and the most time-consuming part of moving to a new business email provider. A poorly planned migration can result in extended downtime, data loss or lengthy post-migration troubleshooting. Though each migration has its own unique requirements, in conjunction with the Business Email 101 Guide, here are a few areas of focus as you plan your email migration:
- Migration Method: Your provider should offer options to take the email migration off of your hands completely or offer migration tools to help you easily migrate your existing data. Which method you choose is based on the size of email data stores and the level of in-house expertise available.
- Data Hygiene: Migrations are an excellent opportunity to clean up directories, merge duplicate accounts and get rid of unneeded data so you’re not clogging up the new system with dirty data.
- Parallel Activities: Be sure that you’re not scheduling an email migration during busy holiday periods, high vacation periods or other times where resources are slim.
- Pre-migration Testing: Before moving everything, build time into your migration plan to test a few accounts before initiating the full migration. This step can help you identify gotchas that need to be addressed before undertaking the full migration.
- Internal Training: For both the technical and general user, pre-migration communication and training are essential to both avoid hindered productivity from navigating an unfamiliar system and to increase user comfort and satisfaction with the new interface.
Rackspace email hosting services offer a full migration service to handle your entire email data migration for you as well as a self-service tool for do-it-yourself email migrations. Learn more about our easy email migration services now or read Chapter 8 of the Business Email 101 Guide for more migration tips.