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Microsoft Exchange represents a core part of many business strategies across the globe today. After all, if you want to run a successful company, you need an email environment that’s professional, reliable, and easy to maintain. For years, that’s exactly what Microsoft’s Exchange server could offer.

Not only did Exchange handle your email correspondence for you, but it was also ideal for keeping your schedule on track with calendaring too. However, just like with any software, Microsoft’s Exchange solution has been forced to update and upgrade over the years, adding new functionality and solutions for leading businesses. As time passed by, we’ve transitioned from Exchange Server 4.0 to Exchange Server 2010.

Despite the fact that we’re ten years on from the 2010 version of Exchange, there are still a huge number of companies that have yet to take the next step in their migration. Unfortunately, if you’re still sitting on the fence, wondering whether you should upgrade to Exchange Online, Office 365, or even switch to an entirely new email client like Gmail, your time is running out.

The Impending End of Exchange Server 2010

All things must eventually come to an end. In the case of Microsoft Exchange 2010, Microsoft announced that the official end-of-support date would initially be January 14th, 2020. Following what could only be described as sheer panic from a number of business stakeholders, Microsoft did decide to push that date back a little further to October 13th, 2020.

This means that you have a little more time left to make the move. However, since most migrations can take weeks or even months to complete, you’re still pressed for time. After investigating and analyzing the deployment state of various Exchange companies, Microsoft discovered that its clients simply were not prepared to make the migration into a new email server by the beginning of this year. According to Microsoft, the decision to move the end-of-support date back was one made to serve the evolving needs of its customers.

In a blog post, the Director of Product Marketing for Exchange Server online, Greg Taylor, acknowledged that discontinuing support for a product as popular as Exchange Server 2010 isn’t easy. Microsoft also knew that many companies invested in Exchange Server were also in the midst of upgrading to a newer version of their email service with on-premise technology, or they were moving into migrations in the cloud with Office 365. By giving companies longer to roll out their new solutions, Microsoft believed that it was helping to calm its panicked customers.

However, while moving the end-of-support date back did alleviate concerns for a lot of companies, it has also left some businesses to believe that they could once again put their migration strategy on the back-burner.

If you’ve been putting off moving from Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 up until now because you think that you’ve still got plenty of time to make your move – it’s time to get prepared.

What Happens When Support Stops?

It’s easy for some business leaders to assume that they can continue using things like Microsoft Exchange Server when support for the technology stops. After all, just because Microsoft won’t be updating the tech anymore doesn’t mean that it ceases to exist. However, continuing to use Microsoft Exchange Server past the date of October the 13th could be very dangerous to your business.

Basically, after October 13th, Microsoft will no longer be delivering any technical support for any problems that may occur with your email server. This includes bug fixes that might be discovered in the system, and issues that might impact the usability and stability of the server. Even if your Exchange solution continues to work for longer than October, you’ll be missing the crucial support that makes your email into a secure place of correspondence for your teams.

From October 13th, your server will instantly become more vulnerable to everything from security breaches to little issues that make it harder for you to keep your company running smoothly. To put the end-of-life date into perspective, here’s what you can expect:

  • Greater compliance issues: Running unsupported and outdated products and software could immediately cause problems with compliance in your industry. Depending on the regulations that you need to follow, and your local regional standards, continuing to use Exchange 2010 could open you up to legal problems that seriously disrupt your organization.
  • No more security updates: Patches and updates to tools like Exchange Server don’t just help them to run better, they keep them secure too. Companies like Microsoft use patches to get rid of potential vulnerabilities and windows into your system that could lead to data breaches. After October 13th, there will be no more bug fixes or security updates to keep your business safe. In a world where information is king, you can’t afford to be unprotected.
  • No more documentation updates: If anything goes wrong with your system, you won’t even be able to figure out how to fix the problem by looking up the documentation. No more best practice guidance will be published, and you’ll be on your own.

Preparing for Your Migration

The good news for today’s business owners is that you’re not stuck with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 as your only secure email solution. These days, tools like Gmail are becoming increasingly popular for those who want access to a wider range of cloud tools, combined with in-depth productivity technology. Gmail even comes with a wide selection of add-ons that you can use to make your email experience unique to your business.

Even if you don’t want to switch to a new server straight away, there are migration solutions that will help you to stick with Microsoft until you figure out the next step in your business transformation journey. Microsoft offers plenty of assistance to people who are making the move away from Exchange Server 2010. For instance, if you’re migrating to the Exchange Online experience with Office 365, then you can use the Microsoft Fast Track service.

With Fast Track, you get access to various tools and resources that make migrating to Office 365 online as seamless and simple as possible. There are also various Microsoft Exchange partners in the market that can assist you in making your move too. These partners can help if you decide that you want to upgrade from Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 to Office 365, or if you choose to move to Exchange 2016 or 2019.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you do want to keep your Exchange Server on-premise, then you can’t move directly from 2010 to 2019. You’ll need to start by upgrading to Exchange 2013 or 2016 and moving from there. It’s a little bit of a complicated process, and something that you might not want to tackle on your own. That’s why many business leaders are offering Campaign in a Box migration options for people who want to move outside of Exchange Server.

These Campaign in a Box solutions come with things like:

  • How-to instructions to guide you and your team to the next stage of your communication strategy.
  • Sample calendars that help you to keep track of your migration, and plan for future scheduling endeavors.
  • Data sheet and blog content that can help your customers or clients to understand why they need to move away from Exchange 2010.
  • Social media posts that help you to share your migration with the world.
  • Email templates that boost the performance of your migration.

Taking Advantage of your Microsoft Migration

While it is possible to migrate from Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 onto a newer on-premise solution for your email – it’s not going to be the recommended route for most customers. Businesses of all sizes are beginning to discover the benefits of taking their company into the cloud. Because of this, Microsoft recommends that you take advantage of this end-of-life scenario to embrace the benefits of Office 365 and Exchange Online.

However, you could also decide to explore a completely different set of productivity tools too. If you’ve decided that you no longer want to stick with Microsoft, and many of your team members are already familiar with the solutions available from G-Suite and Google, then now could be the perfect time to make the switch. Google has plenty of guidance to make moving from Exchange and Office 365 into the Google Workspace (G suite) as simple as possible.

You can even migrate your data straight from legacy systems into your new  Google Workspace (G suite) solution so that you don’t have to worry about losing any of your content that could be required for compliance and auditing purposes.

With Google Workspace (G Suite), you’ll have access to Gmail, the world’s most popular email client by far. This unique technology comes with excellent deliverability rates, endless customization options, and a host of useful add-ons that allow you to combine your email environment with things like Slack, Dropbox, and even customer ticketing tools.

The Google Workspace (G Suite) Migrate system is already set up expressly for users who want to migrate email calendar and contact information from Exchange Server 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can also use the same migration service for migrating your email from Office 365, and PST archives. Once you’re set up on Google Workspace (G Suite), with all your contacts and information in the same place, you’ll be able to configure your Gmail experience to suit the specific needs of your team.

You can set up admins for your company, establish a global address book of shared contacts for your team, and even create shared calendars where you can all keep track of your schedules in the same connected space. There’s never been a better time to explore the benefits of a different email server, now that Microsoft’s most popular server is coming to the end of its life.

It’s Time to Transform

Let’s face it – not everybody likes change.

Switching from your old email server with Microsoft Exchange 2010 into a brand new environment can be a complicated process. You’ll need to teach your employees how to use a new range of features, set up your email server to suit your company’s requirements, and go through an in-depth migration process to ensure that you have all of the same information you used to have on the other end.

While a company like Microsoft making the decision to end support for an email server can be a frustrating and worrying experience for business owners, it’s also a moment of opportunity. Whether you’re a company making the switch, or a managed service provider, you can take advantage of this evolution to transform your company.

As companies across the globe continue to step into the world of cloud technology, now is the ideal time to determine whether you should try something new with your email server. If you’re not completely happy with the way that Microsoft has performed for you in the past, then bypass the issues of switching away from Windows 7 and SharePoint 2010 as you Migrate from Exchange 2010 into something new.

Consider giving the Google Workspace (G Suite) a free test run and finding out whether your team members prefer to do their work through the cloud-based technology that Google offers or the latest version of Microsoft’s productivity suite. You’re in a unique position right now to start experimenting and getting alpha testers in your team to figure out whether new technology could be more cost-efficient and effective for you in the long-term.

For some enterprise companies, the impending end of Microsoft Exchange 2010 will mean just making another step in their Microsoft journey. For others, now could be the perfect moment to shake things up and try something new – like G-Suite. Either way, you need to decide how you’re going to move forward. There’s not enough time left to be caught standing still.

Need some extra help? Reach out to the team here at Apps Admins today and find out how we can help you make a more meaningful migration!

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