How to steer a safe path through tenant to tenant migration

By Tosin Vaithilingam, BitTitan

One result of the widespread enterprise adoption of Microsoft 365 is the need to move users from one instance of the suite to a new or different instance: a tenant-to-tenant (T2T) migration. These are high-stakes projects, and downtime during the migration or an incomplete migration can seriously impact the business. On the plus side, organisations are finding that an advanced third-party migration tool will mitigate the business risk.

Such an application can address the security concerns of enterprises undertaking T2T migrations, and deliver an essential structured approach for tackling the multifaceted projects.

Use of a T2T tool allows organisations of every size, shape and circumstance to move safely to the cloud. Like most businesses, the pandemic taught my company many things, among these being the importance of infrastructure that’s flexible and accessible, while supporting collaboration on a global scale.

Consider this: prior to the pandemic, 18 percent of employees were working from home. That rose to 80 percent during the pandemic, and many are resisting the idea of returning to full-time office work. So, it’s no surprise that the acceleration of modern work has paralleled a significant expansion in cloud infrastructure.

Once organisations embraced cloud solutions to support remote and hybrid workforces, improved productivity, and enhanced security, they began to see opportunities for fine-tuning their cloud presence. Migrating between tenants is a strategy that can support enterprise objectives like work group consolidation or a brand spin-off.

Recently my company updated our white paper ‘Secure tenant-to-tenant migrations’, which sets out considerations for the enterprise to incorporate new information from partners and customers who are using an advanced migration tool at the enterprise level.

The document explores the many drivers of tenant-to-tenant cloud migrations including mergers and acquisitions, geographic consolidation and workforce efficiency. There is also a look at the advantages of using a purpose-built 100 percent SaaS migration tool and outline a step-by-step guide to successful enterprise migrations.

Thoughtful, deliberate enterprise migrations are essential. In many cases, the migration itself is a relatively small part of an enterprise IT initiative. That can be deceptive, because it’s still a high-stakes project and, if not done with care, can result in unacceptable downtime, re-work, or frustration.

Even organisations with migration experience often find that a new configuration such as a tenant-to-tenant migration adds complexity. Each workload has its own challenges; it’s important to choose a tool that can handle not only mail migrations but the nuances of OneDrive, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and even GCC/GCC High.

Some migration tools are built with a combination of simplicity and control and have been proven time and again in enterprise organisations with large and complex migrations. The technology is known for its ease of use, and IT teams quickly embrace features that provide nuanced control over migration planning, visibility, timing and testing.

Some of the features that make a tool uniquely suited for enterprise migrations, include:

#    Speed and scalability with a 100 percent SaaS tool.

#    Configuration, control, alerting and reporting through a simple GUI, or full automation with PowerShell SDK.

#    Fine-grained command and control with advanced options.

#    A wide range of support from help centre documentation to available technical support.

#    Continual enhancements to keep up with the needs of technology teams and changing workloads.

#    Focus not only on technical ease and capabilities, but also on a consistent end-user experience.

Remote and secure

Even with fully remote implementation, an advanced migration tool must maintain the highest levels of security protocols, including app-based authentication, token-based modern authentication, and least-privilege access. Technology that adheres to all applicable security standards, practices and controls is both required and recommended.

Before planning a tenant-to-tenant cloud migration, check all the information provided to assure success. A step-by-step guide to enterprise migration is essential, giving insights into the five recommended migration steps.

Start with an assessment of the current and desired data state, then move on to planning the migration scenario. These first two steps are followed by scoping the project and conducting a proof-of-concept, migrating and monitoring the move, then finally wrapping up the project post-migration.

The ideal migration will be a smooth one, using a migration tool should be intuitive and easy to use, ensuring that organisations are well informed before embarking on any project.