After Office 365 Cloud Outages, Partners Calling For Better Communication From Microsoft

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Microsoft has suffered major outages to Office 365 cloud services for two straight days now, and some partners are calling for it to change how it notifies customers when things go wrong.

Microsoft currently provides status updates on cloud service availability on its Office 365 Service Health Dashboard. During Monday's Lync outage and Tuesday's Exchange Online outage, Microsoft pointed customers to the dashboard for status updates.

But unlike Amazon and Google, which make this information available on public web pages, Microsoft requires customers to sign into the Service Health Dashboard to see if Office 365 services are working or not.

Plus, only Office 365 users with administrative privileges can access the Service Health Dashboard.

"This is to ensure that companies own the messaging for their internal users. We do not maintain a public instance of the Service Health Dashboard, as our customers prefer targeted messages specific to their company when they are impacted, rather than generic messages," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email.

[Related: Microsoft Suffers Another Cloud Outage As Exchange Online Users Left In The Lurch]

Microsoft's log-in requirement has long been unpopular with some partners that sell Office 365, mainly because they feel it makes customers jump through unnecessary hoops.

Several partners told CRN they think it's long past time for Microsoft to make its Service Health Dashboard information publicly accessible. They're also calling on Microsoft to get better at communicating in these situations.

"The silence from Microsoft is deafening on this issue," one Microsoft partner said of this week's cloud outages. "We have over a thousand Office 365 customers and our phones have been lit up all day with questions about when the service would be restored. All we have is the service dashboard, which doesn’t give us a lot of detail."

Adding to the confusion, some customers said the Service Health Dashboard wasn't indicating problems with the Exchange Online service, even as customer reports of problems piled up on Microsoft's Office 365 user forum and on Twitter.

"An accurate public status is critical," said another Microsoft partner who sells Office 365. "Our clients are complaining more about the lack of communication than the actual outage."

"The portal system for identifying issues is obviously not a working solution for us," said one customer on the Office 365 user forum. "We need accurate and timely updates, and we are not getting them."

NEXT: Why Office 365 Outages Are Sure To Attract Attention

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