Fred’s Top Tips for Office 365 Greatness!
Are your companies and customers starting to show an interest in cloud computing? How do you migrate your customers email and data? What is the best way to deploy Office Pro Plus? Is your data safe with Office 365? Where do you start?
In this TechNet NZ article I’ll be sharing a few tips on how prepare your company to plan & successfully deploy Office 365 – in your organisation, or for your first customer – and we will highlight a couple of pitfalls along the way.
1. Where do I start?
Head over to the Microsoft Virtual Academy then select the Office 365 for the IT Pro – Platform as a perfect introduction. I’d also recommend that you see how different a day can be for an IT professional with Office 365, versus Google’s offering here. I can guarantee you will find the answers to the majority questions answered about the different offerings in the service descriptions for Small Business & Professionals and Enterprise Plans. If you are a Microsoft Partner, Quickstart Online Services (Live ID login required) includes a wealth of partner resources around, sales, technical, and programmatic information for Office 365 and Windows Intune. For more in-depth technical training videos, access the Office 365 Jump Start series that was made specifically for IT professionals.
What tools & resources are available to me?
Choosing the right Office 365 plan is essential. The Office 365 Advisor tool is great for this. The tool will ask you a series of questions and, based on your answers, it will propose the either the P (Small Business) or E1 – E4 (Enterprise) plans. The tool only covers the P and E plans and does not cover standalone plans.
Note that there is no migration path between the P & E SKU’s. Think of the P Plan as an island onto itself in that you cannot mix and match other plans with it. In the event you have a customer that needs to migrate from P to E, see steps on how to achieve this manually here, or see how IT Professional Services achieved this with the third party tool MigrationWiz.
For those of you familiar with PowerShell, Office 365 cmdlets are available. Also recently released is the Microsoft Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell. Script Explorer provides an integrated community and Microsoft resources to help you unlock the power of Windows PowerShell, as well seamless searching across online repositories to locate script samples relevant to you.
Is your current internet connection going to cope with the additional demand on latency? Use this Performance Test for Internet Connection to Microsoft Online Services. The tool will measure the response times, bandwidth, and overall connection quality from your site to the Singapore Datacenter.
Within the Office 365 Admin portal, you have the ability to create an Office 365 custom deployment plan (O365 Login required) which provides more detailed information about topics such as self-deployment, partner-led deployment, domain re-delegation to Microsoft, single sign-on, Active Directory synchronization, and mailbox migration. For large enterprises with cloud and on-premise deployments whose users require single sign-on with corporate credentials, you can get started with our Microsoft Office 365 deployment guide for Enterprises.
3. Any common issues in deployment?
DNS Re-Delegation is the component within Office 365 which either goes off without a hitch, or ends up stopping a deployment dead in its tracks. There are a few pointers to remember here.
Firstly, Office 365 Enterprise Plans use a partially re-delegated model where you manage your DNS settings at your registrar, or at another non-Microsoft DNS manager (i.e. SRV, TXT, CNAME records maintained at the Registrar). Office 365 Small Business uses a full re-delegated model, where you point your DNS name servers to Microsoft (MS) and the DNS settings are then managed by MS. If you do this, then any DNS changes you make at your registrar other than to the name server have no affect – since the name servers point to MS and MS is managing your DNS. Note that most registrars won’t allow you to make any other DNS changes once the name server settings have been changed.
It is possible to use partial re-delegation with Small Business; however, you can’t use full re-delegation with Enterprise and the MS DNS Manager.
Secondly, when planning DNS re-delegation, find out who has administrative access to the DNS hosting tool and test access by adding a TXT record in. You will be asked to do this as part of the DNS verification process. Some tools will not allow you to enter SRV or @ records. In this case, contact your DNS Registrar and request for these records to be inserted manually by them.
Also take a look at a few more great links for technical and support resources. The Troubleshooting Tool – Answer four easy questions about the issue you’re experiencing and you’ll instantly be presented with links to possible solutions. The Office 365 Community page is full of information from Microsoft and people who are using the product every day. This site also includes information about product updates and commonly asked questions. The Office 365 Technical Blog is a great technical resource as it’s managed by our engineers, so you truly get answers straight from the source. And finally, the Office 365 Forums & Wikis cover just about everything related to Office 365.
4. How secure is my data and are there any inbound/outbound email limits?
Data Security and Sovereignty have always been important topics raised in relation to Cloud Computing. Learn how Microsoft adheres to these by visiting the Office 365 Trust Centre. Microsoft proactively answered a broad range of security and privacy questions the Cloud Security Alliance suggests every customer should ask of their cloud service provider. The products that are covered by the trust center content are mentioned here. If you or your customers are likely to be sending mail to a large list of recipients learn about Office 365 Mail Limits.
Thank you for reading!
I hope my article has given you enough information to get you started with Office 365.
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