Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Work from Home’s Impact on Calendaring/Email and IT’s budget

A consulting company with 100 employees was running a legacy version of Exchange using a VPN to their work from home users.  Their VPN expense average cost was $200/mo/user.  They tested the “free” Microsoft migration tools.  Moving email would take a month.  They considered migrating PSTs in bulk, but the bulk upload turn-around was ten days.  Losing ten days was unacceptable. HYBRID deployment?  Too complicated and arduous for them to even get through the manual.

Free was not an acceptable solution.

What did Sumatra do? 

  • We completed the cut-over from Exchange 2010 to Office 365 during a twelve-hour outage window.  
  • For email, we used imapsync to migrate about 500GB of email. Two weeks before cut-over, we synchronized email between the legacy and Office 365 and then managed a continuous sync to keep their email up-to-date. This reduced server loads, and ensured all email migrated during the cut-over window.   
  • For Calendars, tasks, contacts, we used a Sumatra’s eCalReader to migrate calendars, contacts, and tasks.  All was accomplished during the Friday-night cut-over.

The bottom line Sumatra migrated 100 users in eight hours -- with little involvement from IT.  The customer said Sumatra saved them $100,000/year in expense.

The uncertainty around Covid changed the Sumatra’s customers support their end users. It was a nightmare when IT reconfigured everything so end users could work from home (WFH).  For non Office365 customers, costs included VPN connections at $50-$200/month/user.  Their CFOs realized a Microsoft Office365 license ($12.50-$20.00/month) would save thousands!

There are five themes that run through the inquiries we’ve received and what we've l;earned from our customers in the last few months. 

  1. Cost: The VPN expense is killing IT budgets.  CFOs want to migrate to Office 365 ASAP.
  2. WFH Timeframe: Customers expect employees will WFH for the next six to 12 months.  
  3. Legacy servers and VPN are an expensive way to support WFH.  They both have to go.
  4. Microsoft Office 365’s “Free” migration tools take weeks to complete.  They leave current email/calendar data behind!  
  5. Third party solutions are expensive and don’t move calendars!!

What are customers asking for? Everyone who calls us for help wants:

  • Migration done over a weekend not a month;
  • Migrate ALL CURRENT DATA.  And not just email.  Calendars, contacts, and tasks from legacy(*) on-premises Exchange 2Kxx calendaring and collaboration solutions to Office 365.   
  • The migration cut-over outage limited to overnight or at most during a weekend.:

* Legacy products are pretty much anything except Microsoft Office 365 at this point.  Google calendar is a dark horse, but our experience is anyone who's already gone for Google doesn't want to actually pay to move out.

The other thing we've learned is that imapsync is excellent at the sort of last minute touch-up work that invariably needs to get done: synchronizing a few folders or mailboxes.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

DAVical to Office 365 calendar migration in beta stage

You guys might remember our earlier posting on DAVical migration to Exchange / Office 365.

Well, we went ahead and started it based on a request from Europe.  

If there's anyone else out there who's looking for this please drop us a line.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Corporate Meeting Resources in Office 365 in the Age of Social Distancing

So in the soda straw view of the world we see in calendaring, it was only a while before COVID-19 reared its protein-based heads in our direction.  (and yours, we assume!)

Specifically: how can we make sure we promulgate COVID-19 safety rules to personnel if we (when we) are allowed to authorize them to return to work in our physical locations?

Simplest way we came up with that does not involve any coding or need to involve your Office 365 Administrator is to create a Rule for your Resources, as shown in this screen capture.

The meeting organizer (and ONLY the meeting organizer) will then get an email directly from the resource in your standardized corporate language reminding them to observe safe meeting practices, as the following details show: 

This is the detail from Conference Room 222:

Easy-peasy.  And as you see it works whether you have your conference rooms as auto-accept or managed.

Do you have a zillion rooms?  This is script-able through Exchange Shell.  If you create a solution, please post it here and share it to benefit others!  

Friday, May 08, 2020

How much time is your group / department / division / enterprise spending in Zoom working at home?

After reading How My Boss Monitors Me While I Work From Home in the New York Times I sort of shuddered at the degree of surveillance you can put on someone's machine.

Putting on my calendar geek hat I could see how you could extract this kind of "how I spend my time" information from on Office 365 / Microsoft Exchange server without having to load possibly vulnerable code on a laptop or desktop.

Drop us a line if there's interest in this.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

SOGo calendar and contact migration into Office 365

We have migration from SOGo calendar and contacts to Office 365 working in  our lab.

As usual, drop us a line if you're interested.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

MIT Media Lab investigation uses calendar info

I read MIT Will Investigate Media Lab's Ties to Jeffrey Epstein Following Director's Resignation as just another "yeah, people will do just about anything for money" article until I came to this part:

On Ito’s calendar, which typically listed the full names of participants in meetings, Epstein was identified only by his initials. Epstein’s direct contributions to the lab were recorded as anonymous.
(underlining mine)

THIS is really interesting!

If you want to know how to do stuff like this forensically (or even proactively) in Exchange or Office 365 let us know -- our wheels are already turning on this and a few other things.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Google Calendar Outages

Because this is a calendaring blog and we should be keeping track of stuff like this:

Google Calendar Dies One Hour After Google Tweets About How Great It Is [Update]

The most interesting thing in this article was the  link to the G Suite status dashboard which, frankly, I have difficulty finding off the main G Suite "Give us your money NOW" site.