Office 365 Shared Mailbox


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Migrate Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailbox

An Office 365 Shared Mailbox offers an easy way to give a group of users access to a centralized mailbox without needing to remember separate credentials. Each user is just required to log into their own mailbox to access the Shared Mailbox. This makes it an attractive option for Public Folder content. When wanting to Migrate Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailboxes, it’s important to understand how your Public Folder(s) is being used. In this post, we’ll analyze the key factors that make Office 365 Shared Mailboxes a match for Public Folder content.

Understand Business Process behind Public Folders

Public Folder hierarchies from one instance to another can look similar. However, how they are utilized can be very different. The reason for this comes down the role of Public Folders within one or more business processes. Here are some common examples of Public Folders being used for a business process:

  • Receive and organize Customer communications that trigger a specific follow-up
  • File specific communications from certain users into a central location
  • Share team-critical information in a central location for easy access
  • Share one or more calendars for tracking order fulfillment

What Makes an Office 365 Shared Mailbox a Good Option for Public Folders

Usually, certain parts of your Public Folder Hierarchy will be good candidates for migration to an Office 365 Shared Mailbox. It will be a rare circumstance where your entire Public Folder Hierarchy will transition to Shared Mailboxes. It’s important to know the primary characteristics that can make portions of your Public Folder Hierarchy a good candidate for a Shared Mailbox:

  1. The Public Folder is mail-enabled
    Mail-Enabled Public Folders are assigned an SMTP address and can receive mail just like a regular user mailbox. Since the business process already relies on that SMTP address, you can easily transition it over to a Shared Mailbox and migrate the associated Public Folder content to that mailbox.
  2. You are using Calendars in Public Folders
    Certain Public Folders can be designated as Calendar folders. These are folders that show a Calendar instead of an item list view. The Calendar shows are the same type of calendar that you see in an individual user mailbox. Calendar folders can also be mail-enabled as well, but don’t need to be in order to be a good candidate for migration to an Office 365 Shared Mailbox.
  3. You are using Contacts in Public Folders
    Much like Calendar Public Public Folders above, folders can also be designated as Contact folders. The Contact folder shows the same type of contacts list that you see in an individual user mailbox.


What Makes an Office 365 Shared Mailbox a Bad option for Public Folders

Just as you can make the case for some Public Folders being a good fit for Office 365 Shared Mailboxes, there are also instances where it’s not a good fit. This is where understanding the business process in the Public Folder branch in question comes into play:

  1. Public Folders are not mail-enabled
    Unless the Public Folders in question have a parent folder that is mail-enabled, it doesn’t make sense to convert the Public Folder to a shared mailbox. The Public Folder is not receiving email directly, so storing the Public Folder in another mailbox is bound to complicate matters further for both the end user and the administrator.
  2. Content in Public Folders is stored as if it were a file share
    Organizations with a long-time use of Public Folders often have portions of their Public Folders that look like a file share. Moving this content to an Office 365 Shared Mailbox will not give you any benefits. In fact, you will be limiting storage to 50 GB. In addition, if you intend to include the Shared Mailbox in Legal Hold or assign an archive mailbox to it, then you are required to provide a license. For comparison, that Public Folder can grow beyond that limit without needing to add a license.
  3. Frequently accessed Public Folder content
    Public Folders can be a storage location for frequently accessed documents. This is not a bad use-case for Public Folders, but migrating to a Shared Mailbox doesn’t provide any advantage.

Determine what to Move to an Office 365 Shared Mailbox

As you can tell, making the determination as to what Public Folders can be migrated to Office 365 Shared Mailbox is determined by a combination of the following:

  • Type of Public Folder
  • Business Process

Taking the time to understand which business processes are currently applied to your Public Folders will help greatly. Next, identify the Public Folders responsible for managing that business process. Then, take the Public Folders identified and check them to see if they qualify as an appropriate Public Folder to migrate to an Office 365 Shared Mailbox. Once you have done this, then you will be well on your way to migrating your Public Folders to an Office 365 Shared Mailbox!


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