Microsoft Experiences Global Office 365 Outage

Microsoft partners trying to send and receive emails from this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference may be wondering at the irony of a global Office 365 outage.

Microsoft late Wednesday afternoon confirmed that it was experiencing an outage for its flagship email solution in a short statement emailed by a corporate spokesperson to a non-Office account.

"We are aware of an Exchange issue impacting some of our customers in North America. We are working quickly on a resolution," the spokesperson wrote.

[Related: Microsoft Struggling With Office 365 Support, Partners Call It Growing Pains]

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CRN first noticed the outage at 2:18 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, and saw multiple reports of the outage via Twitter and other social media outlets. At publication time, email access appeared to have been restored, although performance was lagging.

The outage happened during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference being held this week in Orlando, Fla.

The Microsoft support team posted a statement on its blog in response to requests from users in which it said it is aware of the issue and is actively working on it.

According to the statement: "This issue is now reported at Service Health Dashboard (SHD) as incident EX27794 starting at July 15, 2015, at 9:25 PM UTC. The user experience of this incident is: Affected users are unable to connect to the Exchange Online service when using multiple protocols including Outlook, Outlook Web App (OWA), Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), and Exchange Web Services (EWS). Affected users may also experience delays when sending and receiving messages," the team wrote.

Microsoft has had issues with access to Office 365 in the past. Last year saw issues with access to Exchange and Lync, part of the Office 365 suite, as well as problems signing up for the Office 365 Midsize Business plan.

Microsoft MSPs did not think the latest outage would impact adoption of Office 365.

Anthony Chiappeta, president of Advanced Microcomputing Concepts, a San Dimas, Calif.-based MSP, told CRN that he has seen the issue, but that it fortunately does not happen often.

"Am I worried?" Chiappeta said. "We'll have to see how long it lasts, and how widespread the outage is."

Alan Helbush, president of Where to Start, a Newark, Calif.-based MSP, said that despite the occasional outage, he tells clients that having cloud-based Office 365 is better than having an on-premise email solution.

"If you are using an on-site solution, you typically don't have the redundancy of Office 365, and you have a single point of failure," Helbush said. "And you will have far more trouble getting access to anything on your servers than if Office 365 goes down."

Helbush said he also advises his clients to add the Reflexion cloud-based email security solution recently acquired by Oxford, U.K.-based Sophos to their Office 365 solutions.

"Reflexion sits outside Office 365," he said. "It archives emails outside the Office 365 environment. This lets clients access emails not delivered by Office 365 and respond to them."