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Your Guide to Migrating Outlook Folder Permissions in O365 Tenant Migrations

Jun 11, 2020 by Mike Weaver

IT pro setting about the task of migrating Outlook folder permissions between Office 365 tenants.

Migrating Outlook Folder Level Permissions in a Microsoft Office 365 tenant to tenant migration is a difficult decision.

If you are concerned about Calendar Permissions, check out my post here instead.  

Folder Permission Use Cases

There are two common use cases for Folder Level Permissions:

  • Workload management
  • Delegation

Both of these practices likely have a better process. However, Exchange was the original collaboration tool and, as a result, many processes are ingrained and hard to shift.

Workload Management

This example comes in a few flavors, but the concept is the same. In this example, I have a folder in the Shared Mailbox called WorkToBeDone. 

Under it, I have five subfolders. I give all five of my colleagues “list” rights on the WorkToBeDoneFolder and then give each person full rights to their subfolder. As the Manager or Team Lead, I have access to all of them.

When we migrate this shared Mailbox, if we don’t migrate all these permissions, we will break this business process. Many will argue it is an outdated business process, but if the company you are migrating has been on Exchange for a long time, this process may be common.

To scope this problem, it may be worth looking at your older and larger share accounts to determine how common this is.


This is similar to above, but on from a person’s User Account. In this example let’s say I had someone that helped me file my Expenses. 

I drag all my receipts into this folder and the person supporting me can read this folder.

A list of years for expense purposes, created in an Outlook folder.

Again, if we do not migrate folder permissions, this will have to be set up afresh.

The more granular, the more impactful

What is hard about folder level permissions is that the more complex and granular they are, the more impactful they are. They are not only impactful for a few reasons.

The obvious reason is someone has to set them up again. They likely have not done it in a while and may need to open a Help Desk Ticket for it. 

They also may not know exactly how it was set up and it can be a big amount of time for something that seems simple. 

If the data is sensitive, and they do it wrong, there could be a data security issue.

The second issue is the process. If something is very complex, there is usually a good business reason behind it. 

It may not be efficient, but it certainly is impactful.

They Go Stale

Folder Level Permissions in my opinion are the most likely level of permissions to go stale. This is compounded by the lack of focus on auditing these items. Many companies do not allow this process, but they never reported or stopped it either. 

Where users can easily circumvent these policies, ignoring them in a Microsoft Office 365 tenant migration may be a very impactful decision.

To learn more about our process for migrating Outlook folder permissions as part of a tenant migration, please contact expert team today.