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article imageWhat were the implications of Microsoft going offline in October? Special

By Tim Sandle     Oct 2, 2020 in Technology
At the start of October 2020, Microsoft reported that its services were down worldwide. What could be behind this and what were the implications for the company and its millions of users.
The Microsoft incident struck widely used services, like Outlook. This was an outage that also brought down Microsoft’s cloud-based office services including the meetings software, Teams, worldwide. The issue is under investigation by Microsoft, but some kind of software bug is thought to be responsible.
"We’ve collected additional data from the affected infrastructures to determine the impact to our Exchange online protocols. Additionally, we’ve identified this issue to be affecting users worldwide. Further details can be found in your admin centre under EX223208" (Microsoft)
To gain an insight into the issue, Digital Journal caught up with Ed Macnair, the CEO of Censornet.
According to Macnair: "In a world relying on continuous usage of applications like Microsoft 365 while we work from home, the impact on business when these go down can be serious. Email is still the lifeblood of many organisations and so protecting it is important to ensuring business productivity remains."
He adds that: "Despite Microsoft tying itself to a 99.9% uptime SLA, this actually equates to 8 hours and 45 minutes ‘allowed’ downtime per year. This could be planned or unplanned. Businesses therefore need to factor in that downtime will happen eventually - and so have the right backup systems to ensure business continuity."
In terms of the wider implications, Macnair notes: “Providing users with emergency access to mail traffic, isolated from Microsoft infrastructure, can be a vital lifeline when these services go down. Such emergency email solutions provide a webmail style interface in the browser with access to inbox and sent items that can be used in unexpected situations, such as an outage of the primary email service provider."
Moreover, Macnair says: "With these ‘emergency inboxes’ users are able to read and respond to new messages even whilst Exchange Online is offline. Alongside this having an email archive function will provide access to all historic email – with the ability to quickly search for messages helping to ensure business continuity even when Microsoft is down.”
It was also reported in October that Microsoft's Bing search engine went off line in China, with users unbale to access services for several hours.
More about Microsoft, office365, Outlook, Offline
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