In-Depth

Making the Move to Office 365

There are a handful of decisions to make before jumping over to Office 365.

Microsoft cloud is becoming more attractive for both enterprise customers and small businesses alike. Taking that initial step can seem daunting, with a seemingly endless amount of options. These decisions are critical as they can affect how many users you support and the features to which they will have access.

With the small business plans, you can have up to 25 users. While this is fine for small companies, you may need more capacity. The Midsize plan can handle up to 300 users and the Enterprise (whether the E3 or E4) plans are unlimited. So select your Office 365 plan wisely.

There are a few other things to consider as well. Which identity provider are you going to choose? The cloud only option is the simplest, but chances are you'll already have Active Directory in one form or another. So the single sign-on option will probably be most appealing. You'll need an AD forest running on at least a Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, as well as a the Dirsync tool (which you can downloadable via: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj151800.aspx). You are connecting your AD to Windows Azure, but only through specific attributes. Every user must have a valid UPN name (User Principle Name), or e-mail address.

Microsoft recently included a new security feature into Dirsync called Password Sync. This eliminates the need for complex and expensive ADFS configurations and lets you cache passwords. There's a more detailed description here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/dn246918.aspx.

You can learn more about migrating to Office 365 at this year's TechMentor Live 360 event in Orlando, FL on November 18-22. The Office 365 MasterClass will cover identity, migration and hybrid deployments, as well as troubleshooting and security.

About the Author

With a prestigious international career spanning 18 years, Andy Malone is not only a world class technology instructor and consultant. But is also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and veteran conference speaker at such prestigious events as Microsoft TechEd North America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and the Cybercrime Security Forum. In both his training’s and events at which he speaks, his passionate style of delivery, combined with a sense of fun has become his trademark and have won him great acclaim. Although his primary focus is for security. Andy loves to talk technology and with knowledge dating back to the MS-DOS 2 and Windows 2.0 era there is often an interesting story to be told. But technology never sleeps and Andy continues to work with the Microsoft product teams to create and deliver ground breaking material on Office 365, SharePoint and more. Recent projects have included security training & consulting in Kuwait, Dubai, Malaysia and the US for Government, Military and civilian clients. For 2014 Andy is scheduled to deliver content in Europe, the Middle East, and the US to name but a few. Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyMalone

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