Email Tenant Migration: Everything You Need to Know

January 2nd, 2024

Email tenant migration is the process of transferring all email data from one service provider to another. Here's everything you need to know about email tenant migration for any service. 

In the present digital age, where everything is taking a digital turn, email migrations are as frequent and essential. Individuals and businesses worldwide often need to migrate data from one service provider to another. Cross-tenant email migration allows administrators to use popular interfaces. Are you wondering how email tenant migration works? Well, let's understand everything from basics to advanced. In this article, our experts from DPC Technology have unraveled the complexities of email migrations. The article also consists of a guide highlighting the features of BitTitan as a robust email migration tool. Whether you're a tech enthusiast, a business owner looking for email migration, or just curious about the process, scroll down the blog to the end to answer your questions. 

How Does Email Flow Work For The New Tenant?

Wondering how email addresses work for new tenants and what is the entire process. Before understanding the process, let's delve into a common concern.

Can I keep my old email address?

One of the most common concerns while email migration is whether you can keep your old email address. Let's try to understand how email flow and migration works by drawing an analogy with a cell phone. And it will answer all your related questions. Just think, who would prefer to buy or upgrade to a new cell phone if you have to change or replace your existing phone number? In simple words, the answer to the above question is yes; you can certainly keep your old email address.

MX Records: Core Mechanics of Email Flows

For email flows, think about the outside world reaching you at your domain. The core mechanics lie in the DNS records, specifically MX records. These records act as a guide for the email flows to the right tenant. All you need is a cautious approach to handling MX records with care to avoid disruptions during the migration and reach the accurate mailbox. The timing plays a vital role in the seamless transition. Premature updates can lead to unintended consequences and pitfalls. And once the MX records are updated, the functions start rerouting them to the new tenants. Additionally, the existing email doesn't need to cease to function as soon as the new tenant activates. Thus, it is advised to inform users about migration to prevent unintentional retention of the old tenant. 

5 Phases of Email Tenant Migration

To make things simpler and more understandable for you, our experts have explained the entire process of intricating email migrations in five simple phases. 

Email Migration Acquiring Essential Information

Phase 1: Acquiring Essential Information

The first phase involves acquiring the essential information. It includes access to DNS for the domain name and existing email tenant. However, since obtaining information from end-users can be challenging, our experts advise using Excel sheets as the central hub of the data. To minimize human errors, avoid manual entry and export all the emails securely via an Excel sheet. The sheet will serve two purposes. First, it will store the emails, and second, it also serves as a template for creating accounts, managing migration projects, sending mass emails, and setting up aliases. Thus, it enhances efficiency and accuracy. 

Email Migration Review and Verify Information

Phase 2: Review and Verification

Once you have exported the information related to the domain and existing old tenants, it's time to verify that again. At this phase, you can also take the opportunity to convert irregular email accounts into shared mailboxes and align them according to the client's preferences. You can collaborate either with the client or end-users to confirm the account for migration. Both parties, the client and service providers, should be fully aware of and agree to the plan. 

Email Migration Setting up Initial Migration Process

Phase 3: Setting Up the Initial Migration Process

Once you have accessed the data in the Excel sheet and reverified the plan, you can proceed with creating new tenants following the required steps. For instance, let's take a look at the process of migrating to an O365 destination tenant.

  • Initial text record: The O365 migration process is initiated by adding a domain name and proving ownership through a text record in DNS. 
  • Verifying credentials: Before proceeding with licensing, verify credentials and ensure read and write access between accounts. 
  • Resetting passwords: In the scenes where access to account credentials is challenging, you might be asked to reset the passwords. This will ensure a streamlined process and identify unresponsive users.
  • Transparent communication with the clients: It takes transparent communication with the users for a successful tenant migration. Notify the clients about upcoming migration, seek necessary information, and obtain approvals for a smoother transition. 
  • Data backfilling: Especially in larger migrations, it is essential to backfill the data up to 30 days ago to mitigate potential throttling issues.

Email Migration Final Cut Over Planning and Migration

Phase 4: Final Cut-Over Planning and Migration

The fourth phase involves scheduling a final cut-over date with the clients and end users. Communicate with them clearly and concisely regarding access and functionality during and after the migration. You can practice smoother communication by sending mass emails describing the instructions about accessing and utilizing the new email platform. Finalize the migration process by securely distributing the final credentials a day before the final cut-over. Once the final cut-over planning is done, the accounts are ready to be added to the new tenant using the PowerShell script. 

Email Migration Post Migration Support

Phase 5: Post Migration Support

The last phase reflects on post-migration support. Here again, the crucial element is communication. Describe the clients about the post-migration consequences and expectations,  including potential delays in setting up local Outlook configurations. Reassure the end users about available expert assistance and dedicated support throughout the transition. Not only the assurance, but you also need to emphasize the commitment to assisting and ensuring a seamless experience for the users to adapt to the new email environment. 

How To Employ Automation Using PowerShell Scripting?

As adding user accounts to the Microsoft 365 tenant based on the information stored in the Excel sheet is a hassle process, automation is the key. Powershell Scripting is a powerful tool for Microsoft Graph API to connect to a Microsoft 365 tenant and automate user creation based on data from an Excel sheet. You can also utilize the PowerShell console directly, but writing a script using PowerShell helps ensure that all steps are covered and reduces the chance of errors. Here are a few steps and features of PowerShell scripting.

  • Microsoft Graph Module: It is an essential module that needs to be installed and imported into the PowerShell script. The module facilitates interactions with Microsoft 365 services through the Microsoft Graph API.
  • The Connect-Graph cmdlet: The Connect-Graph cmdlet is used to establish a connection to a Microsoft 365 tenant. It prompts the user to enter administrator credentials for the tenant.
  • Import-Csv cmdlet: This cmdlet assists in loading data from an Excel sheet into a variable called new users. This sheet likely contains user information such as user principal names, passwords, etc.
  • For Loop Iteration: The for loop is used to iterate through each user in the new user's array. The loop appears to handle processing user information for each iteration.
  • New-Imac User Cmdlet: The cmdlet is used to create a new user in the Microsoft 365 tenant. Various attributes, such as display name, password, email, nickname, given name, surname, etc., are provided as parameters to the cmdlet.

What are the cautions to be kept in mind while employing PowerShell scripting for email tenant migration?

The script utilizes variable referencing, which assists in matching variable names with column headers in the Excel sheet to avoid errors. Additionally, the script includes a section for licensing users after their creation. That establishes a firm identification, but you need to be cautious while licensing, especially if you only want to assign specific licenses to certain users. The script requires the Excel sheet to be in a .csv format for compatibility with PowerShell. Thus, our experts advise using CSP (Carbon Copy) as a throwaway version for modifications and maintaining the original Excel document as a working copy. 

After user creation and licensing, verify the results in Microsoft 365 to ensure accounts are created and licensed as intended.

Using BitTitan for Email Migration

Based on the above information, we can't deny the fact that email migration can be a complex process, especially when transferring data between different platforms or tenants. BitTitan, a robust email migration tool, offers a streamlined solution to navigate the intricacies of this task. Here's a guide delving into the key steps involved in using BitTitan for a seamless email migration.

  • Creating an Email Migration Project

In BitTitan, the process begins with creating a new email migration project. It is a foundational step that provides the groundwork for a smooth migration process. The step involves setting up a new customer profile and specifying a default domain name. 

  • Setting up Endpoints

In the second step, BitTitan simplifies the configuration of source and destination endpoints. For example, consider G Suite. It requires details such as the API selection and necessary credentials for tenant migration. In the same way, Microsoft 365 involves choosing the tenant type, a hassle-free email tenant migration for any service.

  • CSV File for Migration

BitTitan facilitates the email migration process by providing a sample CSV file. It serves as a template for user data. Users can download this file and modify it according to their existing data. Later, they can upload it seamlessly into the migration project.

  • Verification

As we have discussed above, verification is a crucial step for validating every collected data. BitTitan allows users to verify credentials by running tests for both read and write access. Once verified, licenses are applied, enabling the migration process. The migration is set up with a specified data range, and users can monitor progress through a user-friendly interface.

  • Final Migration and Communication

Once the verification is done, the users can proceed with the final migration. In conclusion, the final cut call is by communicating with end-users through a Word document that references an Excel sheet. The inclusion of passwords in the final communication ensures a smooth transition for end-users.

  • PowerShell for User Creation

BitTitan overcomes the limitations of manual user creation in Microsoft 365 by introducing PowerShell as a powerful alternative. PowerShell automation allows for efficient user creation, especially when dealing with a large number of users, streamlining the overall migration process. However, to leverage PowerShell for automation, users need to disable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in the Microsoft Admin Center temporarily. This step ensures a seamless integration with BitTitan for automated tasks. Additionally, BitTitan users can explore and extract user information directly from Microsoft 365. This feature proves useful for creating migration templates and streamlining the data extraction process.

In simple words,  BitTitan emerges as a comprehensive tool for email migration. It offers a user-friendly interface and powerful automation capabilities. With the above features of BitTitan, users can navigate the intricacies of email migration for any service with confidence. It helps in the successful transition between different email platforms or tenants.

A Way Forward

In conclusion, email tenant migration is a crucial process in the digital age, requiring careful planning and execution. Automation, particularly using PowerShell scripting, proves to be a key element in streamlining the migration process. BitTitan stands out as a robust email migration tool, offering a user-friendly interface and powerful automation capabilities. 

The key point to note here is that successful email migration requires not only technical proficiency but also effective communication and support throughout the process. The commitment to post-migration support, clear communication with clients and end-users, and the reassurance of expert assistance contribute to a seamless experience for users adapting to the new email environment. If you have any doubts about email tenant migration for any service, drop your concerns below, and our experts will answer them. For more information, subscribe to our newsletter.