Coffee breaks for all as Microsoft 365 goes down

Microsoft 365 has gone down, again. Being a Microsoft customer must sometimes be like Groundhog Day. This time, the suite went down across Europe, with users reporting issues accessing cloud-based email servers at around 9.30am on 24th January 2019. According to Microsoft, the outage was caused because “a subset of Domain Controller infrastructure is unresponsive, resulting in user connection time outs”. It’s really a wonder that people haven’t learnt that it’s fairly unreliable and that an alternative back-up solution might be required, rather than just taking to Twitter to vent their frustration in the vein hope that 280 characters will get them back to work. It appears this isn’t the case though, as Microsoft has said it expects 70 percent of its commercial customers to be using Exchange Online in Microsoft 365 within the next year (Osterman, 2018).

Despite years of claims that email is dead, it really isn’t. In 2018, 124.5 billion emails were sent by businesses each day and it remains the primary mode of communication for organisations. As a minimum requirement, it should provide the continuous ability to send and receive messages. Not necessarily a given for Microsoft 365 customers it seems. To avoid the pain of email downtime, organisations need a robust continuity solution in place that will maintain operations and user productivity.

Ups in downs

Email continuity solutions provide users with an ‘emergency inbox’ in the event of an email outage, whether that’s M365 outage or another provider. Customers are able to access their inbox and sent items, often via a web portal, usually from the last 7 to 30 days meaning that if the primary email provider goes down, users are still able to access, read and respond to email, until their usual service is back up and running.

While many email providers, including M365, offer their own email continuity services, if the suite goes down then there’s a chance the continuity service goes with it. Which isn’t a huge amount of use really. Going with a third-party email continuity provider removes that risk. There is a constant backup of all correspondence that can be accessed at any time and that remains unaffected by any issues occurring with the primary provider.

For critical businesses applications organisations need to assume that the worst is going to happen and put in place mechanisms to prevent disruption. Censornet’s Email Continuity provides peace of mind, ensuring minimal disruption and continued productivity. Our advice for anyone affected by the frequent M365 outages? Close Twitter and come and speak to us instead. We’re certain we’ll be more useful.

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