Dubai: Last week’s Microsoft Outlook outage did not end up having a major impact on UAE-based businesses, but it did affect some more than others.
UAE users reported being unable to access their Outlook mailboxes on January 12. Later, Microsoft confirmed the outage and added that the issue was being looked into.
The tech giant’s service incidents’ wing tweeted: “We’re investigating an issue affecting the ability for users to access their mailbox within the UAE.” It later added, “We suspect that a third-party DNS issue is the cause of impact. We’re looking at network telemetry to isolate the source of impact.”
Around 3pm (UAE time), Outlook came back on for some users. “We’ve received multiple reports that impact is no longer happening,” Microsoft said at the time. “We’re continuing to investigate the underlying cause while monitoring the service to make sure it remains stable.”
During the outage, UAE’s businesses were not able to send or receive any mails on the platform. The US-based IT support firm, Rimini Street, said that several of its UAE customers were hit by the snag.
“The MS Outlook services outage in the UAE affected a few of our clients, but it didn’t impact their ability to work with us and leverage our enterprise software support services,” said Emmanuelle Hose, Group VP and General Manager – EMEA, Rimini Street. “One of our SAP clients had several open support tickets and we were able to provide continued support.”
The experience was a little more difficult for courier operator SkyNet Worldwide Express. “Our email was working fine until 10.40am, but suddenly every employee began checking with each other if their email was working as there had been a notification on Outlook saying it was ‘Trying to connect to the server’,” said a spokesperson for the company.
“Emails being down for a business can result in a drop in workers’ productivity. There has been a delay in responding to our customers’ queries, requests for quotations or booking requests.
“The effect wasn’t that major, but the fact remains that a lot of time was wasted catching up on emails one by one after the service was restored.”
The latest incident, although minor in terms of impact, demonstrated how companies and individuals need their online platforms to be reliable 100 per cent of the time.
“The Microsoft 365 outage is a prime example of the importance of assuring reliable operations within the connectivity supply chain — the network of technology and services that enable businesses and individuals to stay connected to the internet,” said Gaurav Mohan, Vice-President for Sales, SAARC and Middle East, Netscout, a cybersecurity firm.
“When outages occur in critical areas of connectivity, they can cause significant collateral damage. These systems serve hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people and are the portals to everything we do online.
“This is true even if the affected component is not entirely taken offline due to the outage. When one element of the connectivity supply chain goes down, it affects many people, businesses, and service providers.”
UAE’s businesses faced a similar situation in October, when popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp stopped working for hours.