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Migrating On-Premise SharePoint to Office 365

SharePoint is one of those Microsoft applications that is growing, and continuing to grow, in popularity. Businesses are using SharePoint to manage data, workflows, files and more. But there are two ways to use SharePoint: on-premise or online (in the cloud). Since more businesses are adopting SharePoint and using it daily, we thought it might be a good idea to go over the differences of on-prem vs. online, why operating in the cloud is the better choice, and what the migration from on-premise to cloud looks like.

First, lets take a look at what the differences between SharePoint on-prem and SharePoint online. There are so many advantages to SharePoint online which is what makes it the best choice for your business. You're going to get a lot more versatility and ease of use with SharePoint in the cloud, so here are some of the more important differences:

  1. Versions - There is only one version of SharePoint online and it is updated automatically without the user having to manually do this themselves. The updates are pushed and performed by Microsoft. With SharePoint on-prem, a business could be running any of a number of different versions, including old, unsupported versions, which can cause a deep rabbit hole that you may not want to go down. This happens a lot because the on-prem application needs to be updated manually, and we see a lot of business where this does not happen regularly.
  2. Flexibility and Functionality - SharePoint online has endless ways to integrate and develop workflows through it. We have been able to perform many integrations for our customers in SharePoint online with Microsoft applications like Forms, Power Automate, Flow and Logic apps. This is not something that SharePoint on-prem has ever been able to do and probably never will. Using SharePoint online as a secure platform to internally manage sensitive data, while exposing an interface to the public that allows the capture of end user input and put into SharePoint, is simply amazing.
  3. Security - SharePoint online aims to keep bad actors out, so by design, external users are no longer automatically allowed to access SharePoint content.
    1. External user must be enabled at the tenant level in SharePoint admin. This makes it harder for anyone to gain access as someone with admin privileges over the tenant has to be the one to add access.
    2. Permissions can be as macro or micro as you would like them to be. Access can be given to an entire site, or a user can simply have access to only one library, list and even a single file.
    3. Anonymous users are no longer supported. In order to access the shared content, an external user must have a Microsoft account and the content has to be shared with that account. This helps to know who has access to what so there are no secrets as to who could be making changes to things or who is seeing the sensitive data that could be stored in the SharePoint site. However, it is possible to share content with a non Microsoft domain For instance, if you are sharing with a Gmail address, that user just needs to make sure to register the email address upon login to SharePoint.

Now that we gone over why using SharePoint online in the cloud is the clear choice for many reasons over SharePoint on-prem, let's go over what a migration to the cloud could look like. There are two ways that this can be performed: with a migration tool or manually. Obviously, using a migration tool is going to be the easiest, and probably most reliable option. When using a migration tool, the sites need to be re-created on the cloud tenant and then mapped from on-prem to the cloud tenant correctly in the tool. After that, the migration can be initiated and the tool will copy the data over in the background. One thing to remember when using a tool is that a lot of them say that they do pull over site permissions as well, but we have not seen that to be the case, so they may have to be re-created manually. We can help with this and mimic permissions for/with you, even if the tool does not pull them over.

When doing a migration manually, the sites need to be re-created on the new cloud tenant the same as one would do with a migration tool. Once that is done, it's really as simple as either doing manual uploads of content and/or dragging and dropping to correct locations. This can be very time consuming and includes the extra factor of human error that you may not want to deal with.

If you are currently using SharePoint on-prem or are considering adopting SharePoint in some fashion, hopefully this has helped make it clear that SharePoint online is the obvious choice for many reasons. Here at RyanTech, we have SharePoint experts that have experience in all aspects of SharePoint. We can help train, develop or consult in any capacity that fits in the plan of using SharePoint, so please reach out to us if this is something that you are considering. We can help you make the right choice!

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