Migrating local Exchange to Exchange online: How to

Migrating local exchange to exchange online: How to

By Christodoulos Antoniadis – Systems Engineer

The invention of the transistor has been described by many as an earthquake of innovation with its aftershocks still being felt today. More specifically internet transformed our lives the way fire and the discovery of the wheel did. Since then, it caused a series of innovations from the internet to the smartphone and the cloud. One of the aspects of our lives that got affected the most is communication. Email and instant messaging have become the norm these days due to their unlimited benefits compared to traditional means of communication (phone, post, mouth-to-mouth). Responsible for these tools and others are the data centers. In this article, I will explain how the Microsoft Exchange server works regarding data centers, list its drawbacks compared to the exchange online, and finally provide a detailed guide on how to migrate from the Microsoft Exchange server to Microsoft 365.


At its core a Microsoft Exchange server is a mail server and calendar server by Microsoft, run on Windows OS. Exchange Server is licensed both as on-premises software and Software as a Service (SaaS). This version of the mail server was the first and until recently the most standard used method.


The exchange online server is the on-ground exchange server in essence but in its online form from Microsoft. It is an email platform best suited for enterprises. Apart from standard email, It provides the user with Microsoft Applications and capabilities of shared calendars, contacts, and tasks very suitable while on the move and it can be accessed from almost any platform with access to the internet.

The maintainer of the online exchange solution is Microsoft itself with the data stored in Microsoft’s secure data centers. By doing such Microsoft offers their customer an astonishing 99.9% application uptime and availability. The conglomerate offers its customers a subscription to their services as a standalone or through the Office 365 subscription. Being compatible with Outlook as well, it provides users with email access while on the go and away from corporate networks.


Microsoft Exchange Online is the cloud version of the on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server. It provides the advantages of a cloud-based email service with the same features, capabilities, and customization options as an on-premises server deployment. Simply put, Microsoft will store, manage, and secure your business email for a fixed monthly cost.

In the following paragraph are the main benefits of migrating from a typical on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server to Exchange Online.

Microsoft Exchange Online provides the same advantages as on-site while also providing certain extra benefits at the same time. Firstly, it gives the user the benefit of easy access from everywhere, meaning that only a platform with internet access is necessary. In addition, as stated above Microsoft being a conglomerate has the recourses to provide its customers with reliability and availability around the globe. Another great benefit is E-Discovery which enables the admin to search the entire cloud to find specific data. In the aspect of compliance Microsoft Online meets the standards of HIPAA / HITECH, ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27018, SOC 1, SOC-2, DISA, FDA 21 CFR Part 11, FERPA, Argentina PDPA, CSA-CCM, CS Mark (Gold), ENISA IAF, EU Model Clauses, FedRAMP, FIPS 140–2, FISC, FISMA, GxP, CCSL (IRAP), Japan My Number Act, MTCS, NZ CC Framework, Section 508 / VPATs, SHARED ASSESSMENTS, ENS Spain, UK G-Cloud. Another function users find beneficial is the Anti-SPAM filters that prevent malicious emails from accessing the company’s networks. This comes in addition to E-mail encryption to the emails sent and received by the user. Furthermore, it has measures to prevent data loss. Lastly, it takes away from the end user the responsibility of updating and maintaining the servers since they are being automatically conducted by Microsoft.


There are a few different methods of migration and in this article, I am going to explain cutover. Following is a step-by-step guide to the cutover method.

Before beginning the migration process, we follow a certain plan. Firstly, we must make sure that the mailboxes being transferred to Microsoft 365 are less than 2000 mailboxes. In addition, the Microsoft organization must accept the domain owned by you. Each user with an on-premises Exchange mailbox will become a new user in Microsoft 365 or Office 365 when the migration is finished, but you must still issue licenses to users whose mailboxes are transferred.

Post-setup actions may have an impact on your users after your on-premises and Microsoft 365 or Office 365 companies are prepared for cutover migration. To do so we must update and set up local user credentials to sign into Microsoft 365 or Office 365.


Step 1: Add your domain to Microsoft 365 or Office 365 account.

Step 2: Connect Microsoft 365 or Office 365 to your email system.

Step 3: Create the cutover migration batch.

Step 4: Start the cutover migration batch.

Step 5: Route your email directly to Microsoft 365 or Office 365

Step 6: Delete the cutover migration batch.

Step 7: Assign licenses to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 users (Source)

              To conclude, Exchange Online possesses significant benefits when compared to the onsite servers. Even late adopters are faced with significant advantages that cannot be easily ignored. Microsoft 365 is indeed the way forward. IBSCY is a Microsoft gold partner in Cyprus and an expert in the migration of servers.


   Christodoulos Antoniadis is the Systems Consultant of IBSCY LTD since 2021. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Sunderland. As a member of our technical department, he is responsible for day-to-day customer support and technological duties associated with cloud computing, planning, management, maintenance, and support.
Latest Articles
Movember Campaign 2023

Movember Campaign 2023

IBSCY Ltd is proud to announce our Movember campaign in partnership with Movember Cyprus, as part of our CSR initiatives.more