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As an MSP, should you be concerned about Office 365 outages?

Late in June, the MSP online community was “shaken to its foundation” when a Microsoft Office 365 outage occurred. Frustration from Managed Service Providers spread like a California wildfire.

Was this frustration warranted?

Many MSPs aren’t 100 per cent comfortable with Office 365, due to the inability to control its back-end infrastructure, and their perceived lack of support from Microsoft. These concerns may be warranted. However, if you look at cloud solutions in general, they are all prone to these problems.

Let’s face it — more and more businesses want to migrate services, such as email and conferencing, to the cloud. Cloud technologies allow a business to spend less on IT and invest in other business priorities. Because of this, Microsoft Office 365 is one of the best solutions for many small to midsize companies.

As an MSP in Canada, how can you lessen the impact of Microsoft Office 365 outages for your clients? Here are a few pointers”

Think business continuity – You probably offer a business continuity solution. However, if you’re like many MSPs, it only includes data backups and doesn’t provide for cloud storage. Think about it – email continuity is a vital component of business continuity. You should provide for this to protect your clients from a serious outage.

Build Office 365 monitoring into your RMM solution – You may think that monitoring your clients’ network, servers and computers is all you need to include in your remote monitoring solution. However, it’s important that you also monitor Office 365, and include this in your RMM solution.

Communication – Constant communication during service downtimes is vital for your clients’ peace of mind. This means also communicating about Microsoft Office 365. Stay on top of your clients’ issues, and stay connected via ongoing communications.

Have a back-up plan, just in case – How quickly can you switch a client’s MX record? Can you move them to another service without a major interruption to their email functionality? To ensure your clients’ business continuity, you must have a backup strategy in place for when outages impact their operations.

These are just some things to consider when your clients use Microsoft Office 365, or any other cloud service provider for that matter. No solution is perfect. Even on-premise solutions rely on Internet providers and other factors.

Abandoning Microsoft Office 365 isn’t the answer. One thing for sure, Microsoft will learn from their most recent outage and improve their service.