We have provided cloud solutions to asset managers for the past three years and in this time completed various types of email migrations to Office 365. These migrations include a mix of moving clients from an on-premise Exchange or a third-party legacy private cloud provider entirely to Office 365 to working with hybrid solutions that span both own on-premise and Office 365.
During these migrations we noticed a range of issues with clients who opted to set up their Office 365 accounts via a more economical re-seller or through bundled packages with other services.
Here are a few things to be wary of when setting up your Office 365 accounts with the wrong partner:
- Some of these providers offer what is called a “Syndication Tenant”. Microsoft retired this type of subscription but it is still offered by many existing re-sellers. With a Syndication Tenant agreement, the Office 365 account, Azure AD tenant and data is held by the re-seller and can’t be easily migrated away. In this setup, a multiple step process is required to hand over the account to another partner. The data needs to be backed up, the account deleted, and the data re-imported into a new account. All of this means extra complexity, user upheaval and extended downtime.
- Some re-sellers, especially the syndicated tenant providers, do not offer the account holder true admin rights which means only a subset of the Office 365 functionality and management is available.
- You could end up locked into a strict contract when negotiating your agreement. Sometimes your contract could last up to two or three years with no variations possible on the user services and license counts.
- Security options are limited when compared to native Office 365 solutions or conditional access policies.
- Interface solutions from these re-sellers often lack basic functionality such as single sign on tools.
With issues like these it is important to do your due diligence when exploring your options before committing. More likely than not you will find that your safest and most efficient option is to partner with a trusted and experienced service provider or go to Microsoft directly.
How Hentsū does it differently
We are a Tier 1 Microsoft Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and work directly with Microsoft. We are also a Silver partner and specialists in the asset management industry. All of this allows us to provide a range of flexible solutions tailored to the world of fund management.
A good time to reach out to us is when your fund is about to be registered (SEC, FCA, etc). We know the industry requirements and can provide guidance on best practices and compliance. We also have the ability to work earlier with startups to ensure that they have all the tools in place from day one and can scale as they grow.
Generally, we advise to take the following steps when setting up cloud services:
- Create a native Office 365 account through Microsoft directly, or use one of the Hentsū starter packages. We create client accounts directly with Microsoft so you hold the keys to the Azure AD tenant. Your data is always your data so you can migrate to another provider at any time.
- Validate that you hold ownership over your Office 365 account and email domain.
- Purchase license subscriptions and set up users and groups.
- Don’t go for 12 month commitments until you are sure of which services you actually need. We offer all of our clients the same 12 month discounts but on a monthly rolling basis.
- Set up data loss prevention and data retention policies and be aware of two factor authentication and mobile device security. We enable all these features by default as you on-board to our setup.
So be sure to carefully consider all the possibilities before signing on with Office 365 re-sellers or bundled solutions, as there are a range of options for your Office 365 needs. If you are unsure of where to go next for your Office 365 solutions, reach out today to learn how we can best support you.