Managing Security and Resiliency in the World of Office 365

September 29, 2016
Editorial Staff


Editorial Staff

The growth of Microsoft Office 365 continues to bring new mobility to employees and change how organizations deploy software and infrastructure. In June, Microsoft announced the 28th-straight month of adding over 50,000 organizations to the service. There are now 70 million corporate users of Office 365!

In terms of workloads, all signs point to Exchange Online as the number one reason why organizations are adopting Office 365. And this logically makes sense. Many organizations are strategically thinking about how to move to the cloud, and applications like CRM, HR activities, and email are helping lead the way.

It’s important to remember that Office 365 is a broad set of services comprised of the Office applications, OneDrive, Skype for Business, Exchange Online, and much more. In addition to a wide set of applications, the service is delivered over shared infrastructure in a true multi-tenant architecture. Multiple systems need to work together to deliver a seamless user experience for employees and administrators. We’ve seen events in the past where the impact of one problem in Office 365 leads to large ripple effects that can impact millions of end users.

One such event happened on June 30, 2016. For tenants based in the US, a degradation to the processing capabilities in Exchange Online Protection (EOP) led to a slowdown in email delivery that lasted for over nine hours from the first incident to resolution. The event is a good reminder of the importance organizations place on email for internal and external communication. An event that impacts email deliverability during normal working hours – on the last day of the quarter – can have disastrous consequences. A quick scan of social media on that day showed the challenges administrators face when they relinquish control over the service and have few (if any) recovery options.

With over 70 million corporate users and the high growth of Office 365, it’s clear that more employees and administrators are relying on the service than ever before. In fact, Mimecast is one of those organizations! This means events such as the one over the summer are more painful in terms of the numbers of tenants impacted. In on-premises environments, organizations deployed a range of high availability solutions to eliminate downtime. But surprisingly, many are sleepwalking into the cloud without first considering the email risks that can dramatically impact a business.

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