Office 365 outage: Users struggle to sign in

Gabriella Buckner

9 Apr, 2018

Microsoft said it has fixed an Office 365 outage across Europe that angered thousands of users last Friday.

The outage hit the UK around 9am BST, creating login and server connection failures that stopped users from signing into the 365 portal and accessing services.

DownDetector, which allows people to log technical issues with various services, said 44% of those reporting problems with 365 said they were unable to log in, with the issue particularly affecting the UK, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. Customers on Twitter said they were unable to send or receive emails and could only log in to certain interfaces – or none at all.

Redmond’s Office 365 Status page on Twitter told followers they should check the preliminary Post Incident Report (PIR) under MO133518, but tweeters quickly pointed out that they could not log in to the admin centre to find out why they couldn’t log in in the first place.

Microsoft said it had “completed all recovery actions related to MO133518 and this issue is fully resolved as of Friday, April 6, 2018, at 11:30 AM UTC [12.30pm BST]. Thanks to everyone who confirmed service restoration.”

However, this stirred up outrage among users on Twitter, who bombarded Microsoft about persisting outages in London, Singapore, Australia, and many other locations.

One commenter said: “Microsoft, please don’t try to sweep this under the carpet and treat the issue as resolved.”

Another complained: “After so many hours no update!!! Please do what you promised to your client next time.”

As Office 365 returned to some businesses, Microsoft added later that day that it was not aware of any other issues with the service. It plans to publish a full report into the issue within five days of the incident. 

Pete Banham, cyber resilience expert at Mimecast, claimed the incident demonstrates that businesses shouldn’t rely on any one cloud.

“Microsoft Office 365 was hit with major downtime on Friday, with customers around the world unable to access their services or admin portals,” he said. “An operational dependency on the Microsoft environment creates business risks that need be addressed. Anyone outsourcing a critical service like email needs to consider who will suffer most from reputational damage, internal operational issues and financial loss. Mimecast is urging organisations to consider a cyber resilience strategy that assures the ability to recover and continue with business as usual.”