Be Prepared: Top 5 Questions to Ask to Ensure Continuity in the Cloud Email Era

Microsoft® Office 365™ is proving popular and adoption continues to accelerate. 

A recent Gartner study found that 78 percent of IT decision makers say their organization is already using or is planning to use Office 365. This is 13 percentage points ahead of what the same survey found in 2014.

The adoption numbers clearly indicate that Office 365 is a product the market is eager for. Microsoft is adding over 50,000 customers to Office 365 a month and has well over 60 million commercial users.

While the growth of Office 365 has been explosive, when I talk to CIOs and IT directors, I often hear from them a reminder that the risks facing on-premises environments don’t change when organizations move email to the cloud. The security threats remain and companies need to prepare for, and shield employees from, productivity crippling downtime.

The scale of the platform is massive but it is important to remember Office 365 depends on a number of technologies working in concert to provide a seamless service. In the case of email, this means that Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD), Exchange Online Protection (EOP), archiving and the administration console must be always on and always accessible. If any of these services are disrupted or compromised, the result is stark, employees can’t send, receive or access email—and potentially worse, admins can’t control this critical communication platform for their business.

Mimecast experts have engaged in hundreds of Office 365 migrations and service implementations for companies of all sizes. As part of the process, we find that there are usually five key questions to ask during the migration process:

  1. Do I have a back-up plan if my email system goes down from cyber-attacks, human error or technical failure?
  2. How do I track outages and ensure I engage my vendors with the right language in the contract to cover my organization?
  3. If a system outage occurs, how do I respond in the most efficient way from a technical perspective? 
  4. What other services can I use to ensure 100 percent uptime?
  5. Who within my organization do I need to brief prior to, during and after an outage occurs?

By answering these five questions, organizations can take a proactive approach before a system outage occurs and have a layered cyber resilience strategy to maintain productivity.

There will always be a give-and-take between the benefits and potential limitations of a move to the cloud so it is important to have the facts – as Microsoft Servers and Services MVP and author of “Conversational Office 365” J. Peter Bruzzese frequently says, “Don’t sleepwalk into the cloud.”

If you’d like to hear the answers to these questions and more about the best way to prepare for potential risks of Office 365 register today for the webinar, Cloud Outages Happen – Be Prepared, here.

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