Moving from file server based document storage to SharePoint Online opens a world of capability for users. Lower barriers to working remotely, better collaboration internally and externally, document management functionality, better compliance and many would argue better security.
Before you begin
Before you start the migration it is important to develop a plan.
- Is your infrastructure up to scratch?
- Do you have the licensing you need?
- What will you migrate?
- Will old content be archived?
- What training needs do users have?
Migrating your files
Microsoft provides a free SharePoint Migration Tool, that is great for migrating files from both file shares and SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint Online. It supports incremental migrations so you can pre-migrate all content and then rerun the migration tool to move any difference before your final cut-over. You can also create a JSON file to map folders on your file server to corresponding SharePoint document libraries.
SharePoint Migration Tool overview video
The migration tool maps folders to document libraries in SharePoint Online. It is usually better to migrate to a number of document libraries rather than one big library. For example, create libraries in a departments Team Site for meetings, presentations, budget, management, admin etc. Using multiple libraries has many benefits including:
- Security configured at the library level is easier to understand and maintain than at folder or file level
- Metadata and views are configured per library
- Users can choose which libraries they want to sync offline
- Easier navigation for copy and move operations
- Workflow is configured on libraries
You do need to think about file path length and avoid deep layers of folders.
I have written a few blogs to help with document migration. See them all here!