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7 “Hidden” Costs of Migrating to Office 365

By now it should be clear that planning is key. If done right, you won’t actually experience any hidden costs because you’ll be well prepared from a rigorous planning phase. But, as an added measure, below you will find 7 costs that are often overlooked when planning an Office 365 deployment.

1. Servers

Server costs are two-fold when planning a migration. First, there are additional servers you’ll need for your Exchange Online migration, like secondary servers for AD Connect and specific migration tools. But then you have servers that are spun up for very specific use cases, then left to sit, unused, racking up a bill. Under-communication is a huge culprit here as IT teams often work in silos and don’t realize what resources are available that others have built. Be sure to document your work and audit yourself and your team regularly.

2. Migrating Systems

There are plenty of lesser-known (not actually hidden) fees, especially when migrating whole systems, including recoding applications for virtual environments, reformatting data to work with SaaS provider formats, organizing federated identity and access management, and the cost of actually developing a process for your migration. Running a proper discovery phase will help eliminate surprise costs down the line.

3. Implementing Security Protocols

Whether you’re in a field that requires stringent security policies or not, your data needs to be protected from internal and external threats. You may need additional encryption tools and, depending on your backup policies, there may be additional costs for maintaining backups. A huge mistake we see time and time again is organizations waiting until a security threat to actually address their security protocols. You need to spend the time to develop and actually test your mitigation processes. There are costs associated with testing, but it’s far cheaper than paying the cost of an unexpected breach

4. Over- and Under-Provisioning

You deploy Office 365 and now you have all these cool new applications available for use, so obviously everyone wants to use them and definitely will, right? Wrong. Server costs are easily inflated over time, and while they can be scaled back, it often takes a while to even realize you’re paying more than you need. On the flip side, you underestimate your business needs and under-provision, which of course becomes a funding issue if these costs aren’t appropriately budgeted in the beginning. Take the time to understand the required license type per user and build an effective deployment plan.

5. Storage

It’s so easy to fall into high-priced storage traps. You just need to be honest with yourself: how much data do you have and how much of it do you actually need to access on a regular basis? So many companies pay huge storage costs because they put all of their data into readily-available storage solutions. If you plan your storage needs wisely, you can avoid quite a bit of unnecessary charges. And remember – it’s never worth it to lift and shift mounds of data. Run an audit and ditch the unnecessary items.

6. Appliance Charges

Much like storage solutions, there are tons of virtual appliances available for use (load balancers, databases, etc.), but unless you know exactly how each appliance will be used and how frequently, choosing a billing structure can be tricky and often leads to over-paying.

7. Troubleshooting

Fact is – issues can arise at any point in your migration and deployment. Unfortunately, the cost to rectify those issues can be very pricey depending on the time spent troubleshooting, resources required and downtime incurred. Realistically, impeccable planning is really the only way around this one, but honestly, you’ll likely run into a troubleshooting scenario at some point and need to have padding in your budget to account for it.

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