Millions of businesses rely on Outlook for their email, calendar, and communication needs. The standard desktop version of Outlook stores emails, contacts, and other information locally in a file format called a Personal Storage Table (PST). The size of a PST file can vary depending on the number of contacts a user has, the number of emails in a user’s inbox, and the size of the files attached to said emails. Often users have PST files that are at least a gigabyte or larger.
An issue that companies face when switching from the desktop version of Microsoft Office to Microsoft Office 365 is getting all of the mailbox data within each user’s PST files into Outlook Online. With multiple users and hundreds of gigabytes of data to import into Microsoft Office 365, the process is time consuming and requires a lot of planning, formatting, and monitoring to ensure a successful move. The good news is Microsoft realized the potential roadblock importing PST files makes for businesses, and as a result they are releasing a Microsoft Office 365 Import Service to make moving mailbox data from the desktop to the cloud much easier.
Import Option via Portable Drive
The Office 265 Import Service has two options for data transfer. One is to have businesses back up their user’s PST files to external hard drives and then mail the drives to Microsoft for import. This method takes a lot of the leg work out of formatting and importing the data into Office 365. Initially when Microsoft announced the Office 365 Import Service, they gave an estimated cost of $8 per gigabyte for their import by drive service. However, they most recently announced that the cost per gigabyte for data import via portable drive will be about $2 per gigabyte when the Office 365 Import Service becomes officially available to all users.
Network Import Option
If companies decide they want to upload their PST files to Office 365 via a network connection, they will not be charged for the service. However, there are a few caveats here. One is that uploads will only operate as fast as the company’s internet allows. The second is that you have to do all of the work to gather the data, upload it, and map it Office 365 – which is why Microsoft isn’t charging for this option of service. However, for smaller businesses with fewer employees, this may be the most cost effective and quickest option for moving to the cloud.
Microsoft Office 365 Import Service Availability
According to Microsoft, the Office 365 Import Service should be available publically in early 2016 (so within a few months from now). An official release date has not been set, but the company has been building a lot of buzz around the service to get more standard Office Suite users interested in switching to their cloud-based Microsoft Office platform.
Even with the low cost option to send Microsoft drives with your data or to upload information directly via a network connection, making the switch to Office 365 does require proper planning and a highly scheduled execution to keep business running smoothly. If you are ready to move to the cloud but want to make sure you have all of your bases covered, contact Privo IT today. We have a team of IT consultants standing by ready to help you with your Microsoft Office 365 migration.