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5/15/2013
05:45 PM
Larry Seltzer
Larry Seltzer
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Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons

Switching from Google Apps to Microsoft Office 365, you will find good and bad surprises. But overall, Microsoft's Web apps make the migration worthwhile.
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One of the precipitating events for my decision to migrate from Google Apps to Office 365 was Google's decision to restrict Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) support to paying customers. This rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. The alternatives Google suggests -- IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV -- are not only harder to configure, but they don't work all that well. Google's CalDAV implementation, for example, doesn't let you invite another user to a calendar event.

Even the fact that I was a paying customer didn't stop me from being affected -- Microsoft changed the Windows 8/RT Mail, Calendar and Contacts apps to blacklist all Google users from EAS access. Microsoft provides alternative means for syncing email and contacts to Windows 8/RT. For Calendar, Microsoft's official advice is to use Outlook.com instead.

Both Google and Microsoft came across as petty and unhelpful in this episode -- but I wasn't prepared to dump both of them. I decided I wanted to have EAS support and Office 365 was the way to get it. Since I set up Office 365, I have connected from Windows 7 and 8, Windows Phone, an iPad and iPhone, Android 2.3 and 4.2 phones and an Android 4.1 tablet. No problems.

There was an unexpected bonus: EAS provides some basic mobile device management (MDM) tools and Office 365 lets you use them. You can make users set complex passcodes, force a device wipe after a set number of failed attempts to connect, and use other measures to improve security. These are the kinds of security features users love to hate, but short of a full-blown MDM product subscription this can do some good. (To be fair, Google Apps lets administrators remotely wipe devices that have been connected through EAS.)

RECOMMENDED READING:

Skykick Tackles Microsoft Office 365 Migration Headaches

Microsoft Office 365 Steps On Google Enterprise Ambitions

Microsoft Office 365: How One Company Saves Big

9 Google Apps Security Secrets For Business

Google Apps Service Restored

National Archives Picks Google Apps For Government

6 Ways To Strengthen Web App Security

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AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/17/2013 | 5:10:12 AM
re: Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons
Hi Larry,
Great article and thanks for sharing your experience. I too ran into the same problem that you did early on in my learning of how to migrate users to Office 365. Namely the issue where your email address is in use as both a Windows account and as an Office365 email address. Before setting up my own Office365 subscription, I had my custom Domain hosted at a major ISP. My email address had been in use for years and I intended to keep using it once I migrated my custom Domain to Office365. I also happened to have had a Microsoft account that was setup using this same email address. This presented the problem you highlighted because Office365 setup using my custom Domain created a new O365 account with that same email address as well. The Office 365 account is completely different from the Microsoft account and will cause confusion to many users who are unaware of this distinction and its impact on working with the two Microsoft signons for their online services.
Microsoft needs to somehow address this issue because I'll bet it comes up often.
Other than that, I am glad you like Office 365. It has turned out to be one of the best products that Microsoft has created and it is only getting better.
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