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Microsoft Enables Policy Transfers from Exchange Server to Exchange Online

Organizations running hybrid Microsoft Exchange scenarios will soon be able to migrate Exchange Server policies to Exchange Online using Microsoft's Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard tool.

The new capability will become available by the end of this month under the "Hybrid Features" option in the Hybrid Configuration Wizard. It'll be recognizable as a new "Organization Configuration Transfer" checkbox. Organizations will be able to use it to move settings from Exchange Server 2010, Exchange Server 2013 or Exchange Server 2016 to Exchange Online.

Initially, the number of policies that can be transferred will be a bit limited, but Microsoft has expansion plans. There will be a two-phase expansion approach taken to improve the tool, according to Microsoft's Monday announcement.

In the first phase, the Hybrid Configuration Wizard will be able to transfer some (but not all) policy objects in a one-time action. The policy objects that can be transferred in Phase 1 will include:

  • Retention Policy
  • Retention Policy Tags
  • OWA Mailbox Policy
  • Mobile Device Mailbox Policy
  • Active Sync Mailbox Policy

Those policies will be supported in the Hybrid Configuration Wizard sometime by the end of this month, Microsoft's announcement promised. Other policies won't get moved by the tool, though.

However, later in a second phase, Microsoft plans to add more policy objects that can be transferred using the wizard. Here are the policy object additions expected to be supported during Phase 2:

  • Organization Config
  • DLP Policy
  • Active Sync Device Access Rule
  • Active Sync Organization Settings

In addition, Phase 2 will bring the ability to synchronize attribute values to Exchange Online if there's a difference with the attribute values on Exchange Server, Microsoft's announcement promised. Exactly when Phase 2 will start wasn't announced.

In other Exchange Online news, Microsoft indicated that it will be implementing an update that will fix e-mail message forwarding, which is currently broken when used with the Sender Policy Framework (SPF). SPF is used in Office 365 to help ward off spoofed identities and phishing attempts. It does so by "verifying the domain name from which email messages are sent," a Microsoft TechNet article explains. However, SPF also "breaks e-mail forwarding," according to the SPF Project, which has proposed rewriting the sender address as a way to fix this issue. The rewrite happens via a Sender Rewriting Scheme (SRS) that the SPF Project has fostered.

Late last week, Microsoft announced that this SRS capability will be coming to Office 365 tenancies, staring as early as July 16, 2018. "This change will improve deliverability of applicable messages since SPF checks that were failing in the past for such messages will now pass," Microsoft's announcement explained.

In addition, nondelivery reports for e-mail messages that fail to arrive will get sent back to the original sender when this SRS capability gets added, Microsoft promised.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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