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Office 365 users locked out by authentication failure

Multifactor authentication aims to protect users’ security, but many woke up this morning to find they could no longer access Microsoft 365

Users of Microsoft 365 discovered this morning that they were unable to sign in to any of the services they use, including Office 365.

The Microsoft 365 product, which bundles Office 365 and Windows 10 Enterprise, has been offline since 4.39am this morning.

According to information on Microsoft’s website, “affected users may be unable to sign in using multi-factor authorisation (MFA)” and “may also be unable to carry out self-service password resets”.

Users across Europe and Asia are affected, and Microsoft said users in North America might also be affected. “We’re continuing to develop the code update and analyse fresh diagnostic logs,” the company stated.

Computer Weekly can confirm that access to the Office 365 portal is not available, even if the user has already logged into Outlook.

Skype, the Live.com email service and OneDrive cloud storage appear to working in spite of the multifactor authentication issues. However, users are unable to access Office 365 documents from their OneDrive folders. If they try, they get an error stating: “Our services aren’t available right now. We’re working to restore all services as soon as possible. Please check back soon.”

According to the DownDetector website, none of the methods for connecting via multifactor authentication, such as by using an authentication app, text message or via a phone, are working, even when the user attempts to log in from a “trusted IP”.

This latest service disruption comes at a time when Microsoft is actively trying to get users to buy Office 365 subscriptions and move from on-premise Office suites to Office 365 in the cloud.

In October, Microsoft introduced new pricing for Office and Office 365. Office 2019 commercial prices increased by 10% over the previous on-premise pricing. For a business with fewer than 2,400 users, which previously benefited from an enterprise agreement or a select agreement, Microsoft has dropped volume discounts. Instead, with the introduction of Office 2019, employees can expect to see price increases of around 4%, according to some industry watchers.

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