Office 365 and Outlook outage: Users across UK and Europe hit by service interruption

Monday morning service issues hit users of Microsoft's online productivity suite, Office 365, and its free consumer email service, Outlook

Office 365 users across parts of the UK and Europe experienced technical difficulties this morning, while subscribers to Microsoft's free email service, Outlook, have been reporting connectivity problems for much of the day.

 In a series of social media posts on the Office 365 Service Status Twitter page, Microsoft said Exchange Online was experiencing “connectivity issues” and its engineers were arranging a fix.

According to the Downtime Detector web page, the problem appears to have begun just before 9am on Monday 18 September, coinciding with the start of the new working week for many users.

Office 365 users reported three types of problem when attempting to use the online productivity suite earlier today, with 44% flagging up problems with Outlook, 33% experiencing server connection woes, and 22% struggling to get Exchange to work.

While the Microsoft Office 365 Service Status Twitter page confirmed all issues with the suite were resolved around midday, users of the consumer version of Microsoft Outlook are still reporting problems sending and receiving emails.  

At the time of writing, the Outlook Twitter account made no reference to the problems, despite users flooding Twitter and Downtime Detector with reports of service trouble, while its official status page said the firm is "running diagnostics" to establish the root cause of the problems. 

Pete Banham, cyber resilience expert and product manager of email management software provider Mimecast, said the Office 365 incident should serve as a reminder to enterprises about the importance of relying on multiple providers to meet their cloud needs.

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“Another headache today for admins and employees alike because of the growing business continuity risks of a software-as-a-service monoculture,” he said. “If work email and productivity are dependent on Office 365, what happens when there is an outage?”

Banham added: “No organisation should trust its critical business communications to one cloud supplier without understanding the true cost of downtime.”

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Every organization, whether one of the Global 100 enterprises or any business with under 100 users - needs to actively monitor Outlook/Office 365 and other SaaS with synthetic monitoring.

There's no other way to know if there's a problem affecting your users before users start complaining. The right tool, like will instantly alert you, plus its the only tool that instantly confirms if the problem is with the provider or is something else, like your ISP or on premise network, AD, etc.
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