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The Office 365 error

28. January 2019

How users can protect themselves against an Office 365 error

IT portals around Europe have been reporting an extensive Office 365 error since Thursday last week. Microsoft cited the cause to be an error in a domain controller infrastructure subsystem. Despite the quick diagnosis, it took until yesterday afternoon for the required fixes to be installed for affected Exchange Servers. The error was a problem especially for companies in Germany, Switzerland and other parts of Europe whose employees couldn’t log into cloud services. Their business email traffic came to a standstill for days. The incident is an example of what VENDOSOFT regularly refers to: the use of cloud services is both a blessing and a curse. But there are alternatives.

Fixing the error, which brought users of the online service to a halt on 24th January 2019, turned out to be a lengthier process than initially thought. The statement from a Microsoft spokesperson, who said only a limited number of business customers in Europe were affected, also proved to be inaccurate. According to online IT portals, the Office 365 error, which reached as far as Africa, could have been caused by too many authentication requests to the Microsoft cloud. If requests can no longer processed, they stay stuck in the processing queue or trigger a timeout. This would explain why not all users were affected.

It is still not possible to quantify the financial damage companies have incurred as a result of their restricted email traffic. However, Björn Orth is of the opinion that it’s been known for a while that such incidents could happen. The managing director of used software dealer VENDOSOFT has often talked about the security risks hidden in online services like Office 365.


The current Office 365 error makes it clear that the cloud can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it allows remote access to data, emails and information for all company employees. But on the other hand, the outage of the same cloud system also affects all employees, paralysing wide-ranging business areas. In a best-case scenario, only for a few hours. But here – as we’ve now seen – companies went four days without being able to do anything. “This wouldn’t have happened with an on-promise server,” said software expert Björn Orth. He advises companies that can’t do without Office 365 and similar services to use a hybrid solution. His recommendation: “Use the cloud where you need to and purchase licenses for the rest of your software.”
This set-up means that data centre outages or online provider errors won’t affect all business processes in a company.


As well as the security aspect, on-promise software also offers something else positive: it is significantly cheaper than leased models – particularly if bought as used software. Microsoft Exchange Server 2019 Enterprise, for example, costs around 5000 euros.  However, the latest version doesn’t offer much new in terms of functionality. That’s why VENDOSOFT’s managing director Björn Orth advises the following: “Get the previous version as its support ends at the same time as Exchange Server 2019.” The previous version – Exchange Server 2016 – is available from VENDOSOFT as used software for around 50 percent cheaper!

This is the case with almost all Microsoft and Adobe software products. “Our customers save between 30 and 70 percent in comparison to licences bought new,” explained Orth.

VENDOSOFT is there with its certified Microsoft Licensing Professionals to give consultance to companies who have been affected by the Office 365 error and who want to learn more about the more secure hybrid solution described in this article!



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