How to Prepare for a GCC Migration


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Prepare for a GCC Migration hero

Publish Date

March 19, 2024



Cloud Migration | GCC | GCC High | Government Community Cloud

Embarking on a Microsoft Government Community Cloud (GCC) migration from a commercial tenant can seem daunting, but with the right plan, it can be a smooth transition. There are many factors to consider including compliance requirements, project budget, desired timeline, and finding the right partner to perform the migration. Let’s dive into the vital steps on how to migrate to Microsoft’s GCC and ensure your organization’s success.

1. Where to Start: Understand Your Requirements

Before diving into a GCC migration (or GCC High migration), it’s important to identify your organization’s specific compliance needs and determine whether there is an operational need to make the move to a government tenant. For example, many government-affiliated organizations have a need for CMMC Certification, so operating within a GCC tenant can aid in this process. In order to be eligible for a GCC tenant, you have to be enrolled in the Cloud Solution Provider program, as it is a prerequisite to being approved. Once you are enrolled, you can fill out the Government Community Cloud Eligibility Intake Form to be sure that you qualify.

Once you are qualified, you’ll need to understand your security requirements, evaluate existing Office 365/Microsoft 365 licenses, and determine the size of data to be migrated. This step is important for aligning the migration process with your organization’s objectives.

2. Budget for the GCC Migration

GCC migration costs can vary greatly based on several factors, such as

  • Size of your organization
  • Number of users and Exchange Online mail accounts
  • Number of Teams channels and SharePoint sites
  • Data volume to be migrated
  • Identity and access management planning
  • And level of security policy configuration needed (e.g., multi-factor authentication).

If you want to obtain an accurate quote for GCC migration services, you’ll need to be able to provide the information listed above. A potential GCC migration partner should spend time with you to understand your security posture and be able to make recommendations where there are opportunities for improvement. Additionally, you will need to assess the internal and external resources required for the migration to ensure you are adequately prepared.

3. Select the Right GCC Migration Partner

Choosing a GCC migration partner with the necessary experience and certifications is key. Ensure they have a proven track record with GCC migrations and can meet your specific compliance requirements needs. There are intricacies that are important for a partner to understand when performing a migration to a government tenant. A certified Microsoft Solutions Partner is a bonus.

To be as efficient as possible, involve all relevant stakeholders in the selection process to align expectations and objectives. This includes technical people that currently work in your environment and/or those who know your licensing and numbers for the list mentioned in step 2 above.

4. Plan for the GCC Migration

A good migration partner will develop a detailed migration plan outlining each phase of the process for you. This plan should include timelines, roles and responsibilities, and a communication strategy to keep all stakeholders informed. Together, you should agree on a clear understanding of the technical and security requirements before the project kicks off to prevent any hiccups during the migration.

5. Test and Prepare for Go-Live

Before fully migrating, conduct thorough testing to ensure all systems and data operate as expected within the GCC environment. The partner should address any issues that arise during the testing phase to ensure a seamless transition. Finally, the partner will implement the migration according to the established plan, with continuous monitoring to address any immediate concerns.

A GCC migration is a significant undertaking, but with careful planning and the right partner, it can lead to enhanced security and compliance for your organization. By understanding your needs, assessing costs, choosing the right partner, and following a detailed plan, your GCC migration can be a success.

Start your Office 365 GCC or GCC High migration journey today by evaluating your organization’s compliance requirements and beginning the planning process. Remember, preparation is the key to a smooth and successful migration. If you’re in the process of researching GCC migration partners, Arctic IT is a Microsoft Solutions Partner with years of experience in migrating organizations to government tenants. Contact us today to learn more or get an estimate for services.

Paul C, Principal Solution Architect for Arctic IT

By Paul Clark, Principal Solution Architect – Microsoft 365 & Security at Arctic IT