Microsoft has seen its cloud-based office services hit by a global outage, with people unable to log on to Teams, Outlook or Office. The outage was detected at around 21:25 GMT.
Affected services also include Exchange, Sharepoint, OneDrive and Azure, with users being told a ‘transient error’ stopped them logging in.
Microsoft investigated the issue and was able to restore service to the majority of its customers by 3:25 in the morning, with a few customers in North America and the Asia Pacific still affected.
The company noted that people who were already logged into its service were unaffected.
In a status update, the company confirmed: “We’ve determined that a specific portion of our infrastructure is not processing authentication requests in a timely manner. We’re pursuing mitigation steps for this issue.”
For many across the US, the outage hit during peak afternoon work hours, with close to 8,000 individuals reporting issues at its peak. The outage could potentially have affected millions of Microsoft users, including people attending remote job interviews, university students and workers with deadlines.
The outage was blamed on a recent update that affected the processing of authentication requests. This made cloud-based services inaccessible. Microsoft said on Twitter that the update was rolled back to attempt to fix the issue.
However, Microsoft later said that despite the rollback, it was “not observing an increase” in successful connections.
“In parallel, we’re rerouting traffic to alternate systems to provide further relief to the affected users,” it said. This saw multiple services improve.
Microsoft has made multiple statements to various news media reassuring that the error was not the result of malicious activity.
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Just over a month ago, Google’s online services were affected by a similar outage that hit Asia and parts of the US worst, with additional outages across Europe and the Middle East.
Users were unable to access their Gmail accounts, upload files to a range of Google’s G Suite productivity apps or upload videos to YouTube.
Like the Office outage, this was blamed on glitches in updates to the firm’s cloud service.
With remote working growing during the coronavirus pandemic, cloud-based services have proven a vital way to ensure that workers can coordinate themselves even while physically distanced.