On December 15, 2021, at ~8:48 pm UTC, Microsoft communicated via tweet (@MSFT365status) that they were investigating an issue in which users were unable to access Outlook.
If you are an IT pro with Microsoft admin center access, the initial service incident # Microsoft disclosed was EX305722.
Using the portal.office.com/servicestatus link, provided by Microsoft in their tweet, more than likely showed a user the following status screen, indicating there was an issue, but only as to Outlook.com:
Twitter followers of @MSFT365status were quick to respond that the issue was much larger in scope than just an impact to Outlook. Within minutes of their first report on Twitter, Microsoft had also provided extensive service issue details at status.office.com.
Microsoft was now advising that the impacted services included (but were not limited to) Exchange Online, the Microsoft 365 admin center, and the Partner Portal. Clearly, the issue was greater than first reported. Additionally, Microsoft suggested that users in active sessions were likely not affected. Public responses on Twitter continued to mount, with some users indicating several additional impacted areas of Microsoft 365 services.
Some 30 minutes after their first alert on Twitter, Microsoft was now providing a new issue #, MO305726, and more importantly they were confirming that the access issue involved multiple Microsoft 365 services.
Minutes later, and approximately 55 minutes after their first report, Microsoft announced it had identified the cause and they were working to remediate.
Microsoft announced further that remediation efforts were having some success. Some public responses to @MSFT365status were confirming service access restoration.
At approximately 10:15 pm UTC, 90 minutes after Microsoft's first reporting the issues, a second check of portal.office.com/servicestatus provided users the "all signals green" banner and page:
At 10:56 pm UTC, approximately 2 hours after first reporting the service incident, Microsoft indicated in a final tweet that the issue had been resolved.
The Importance of Office 365 Monitoring
In a cloud-world, outages are bound to happen. While Microsoft is responsible for restoring service during outages, IT needs to take ownership of their environment and user experience. It is crucial to have greater visibility into business impacts during a service outage the moment it happens.
ENow’s Office 365 Monitoring and Reporting solution enables IT Pros to pinpoint the exact services effected and root cause of the issues an organization is experiencing during a service outage by providing:
The ability to monitor networks and entire environments in one place with ENow’s OneLook dashboard which makes identifying a problem fast and easy without having to scramble through Twitter and the Service Health Dashboard looking for answers.
A full picture of all services and subset of services affected during an outage with ENow’s remote probes which covers several Office 365 apps and other cloud-based collaboration services.