Our Top Tips for Migrating Your File Share to SharePoint

A file share migration, while crucial for optimising operations and ensuring data integrity, is not without its challenges. The process involves transferring extensive quantities of vital information from one system to another, and missteps can result in disruptions, data loss, and frustrated employees. If you are trying to migrate file share to SharePoint without the right help and tools, you might be headed for trouble.

From underestimating the complexity of the task, to overlooking crucial stakeholder involvement, the list goes on. But by identifying these potential pitfalls and providing actionable strategies to circumvent them, you can execute a seamless and successful file share migration.

That’s where Propelle comes in. We’re a team of experienced SharePoint consultants, and we’ve got the expertise to guide you through this transition with useful SharePoint migration tools.

We’ve taken our know-how and packed it into an easy-to-read eBook. It’s all about steering clear of the most common slip-ups during file share moves. In this post, we’re giving you an exclusive sneak peek into our top tips for migrating to SharePoint. Read on to learn about the two main challenges organisations face during file share migrations and how we help our clients conquer them. We’re here to make sure your shift to a more efficient, collaborative workspace is as smooth as possible!

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1. Don't Move Unnecessary Content

When organisations migrate file share to SharePoint, the most common mistake we see is content being moved that isn’t used, accessed frequently, or actually needed. 

We understand the thought process – it makes sense to hold onto every piece of information that has accrued throughout the lifetime of your organisation. You never know if you’ll need that one policy/template/contract, even if it was from a decade ago. But for large migrations, why waste time and space moving unnecessary files that aren’t relevant to your business today? 

It can be hard to define what is ‘relevant’, and difficult to predict what might become important as your organisation grows and changes. However, moving everything you have from a file server across to a Microsoft platform like Office 365 & SharePoint Online, for example, can create issues in the immediate and distant future. If you’re pulling personal information, financials, and content (that may have been put in the wrong place to begin with) from the distant past, they may have outdated or undefined permissions and metadata. SharePoint search is so powerful that if a user was to search ‘confidential’, then they will be able to find those sensitive files. 

We recommend that you take stock of your current trove of information and draw a line in the sand (e.g. three years). Prioritise moving everything from the past three years to the new location, with an emphasis on tagging, permissions and the business process. Remember, you want to have room to grow beyond the initial load of your data.  

If you really need to hold onto historical information (compliance data, financials, etc) from before your cut-off date, look at other ways to store it that won’t impact the effectiveness of your new file storage in 365. This could be on an encrypted USB drive or in Azure File Services, for example.

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2. Remember to Migrate Permissions

There are many scenarios where you may want to restrict a user’s ability to access, edit, or share certain documents. However, files shares are notorious for bad and broken permissions, meaning that people are able to access files that they shouldn’t be able to. We find that many clients don’t take the time to implement correct permissions before migrating to their new file share, just bring things across as they are. This means that until the correct settings are applied, your network could have access to sensitive information with SharePoint’s powerful search feature. 

The way Microsoft 365 manages permissions is different to file shares. In Microsoft 365, you have the ability to map and automate permissions. This can be done using a combination of tools and processes. Here are some general steps you can follow to accomplish this: 

  • Identify the roles and permissions required for each user or group within your organisation. This involves understanding the different Microsoft 365 services and the specific permissions required to perform certain tasks within those services. 
  • Leverage Microsoft 365 Groups, you are able to assign ownership of the group to the business. This allows them to manage the membership of the group without needing to involve IT. How great is that?! 
  • Create role-based access control (RBAC) policies that define the permissions required for each role. RBAC policies are used to control access to Microsoft 365 services and resources, and they allow you to grant or deny permissions to specific users or groups. 
  • Use PowerShell scripts to automate the process of assigning RBAC policies to users or groups. PowerShell is a command-line tool that allows you to automate administrative tasks in Microsoft 365. 
  • Use auditing and reporting tools to monitor and track user activity within Microsoft 365. Auditing and reporting tools provide visibility into who is accessing what resources and can help you identify any security issues or compliance violations. 

If your team understands how to leverage ownership and delegate access management, you won’t have to rely on your IT department to adjust permissions.

Want to learn more about migrating file shares to Microsoft 365?

You’ve just read the first two chapters of our eBook, ‘10 Common Mistakes Organisations Make When Moving File Shares to Microsoft 365’. If you want to learn more about the file share migration process, just pop your email into the contact form to get our guide delivered straight to your inbox. 

It covers:  

✅ The top 10 mistakes to avoid during your file share migration process.  

✅ Insights from Microsoft 365 experts on how to navigate common challenges.  

✅ The best practices for a seamless and secure transition to Microsoft 365.  

And if you’re looking for file share solutions ahead of a migration and want a team of experts on your side, give our in-house solutions consultants a call. We know the ins and outs of all things Microsoft and Office 365!