Given recent Microsoft outages, isn’t there some risk in putting all your eggs in that basket?

One of my favorite things about hosting webinars is the live Q&A. Sometimes we get some real gems, and last week one of our attendees delivered with a stellar question… “Given recent Microsoft outages, isn’t there some risk in putting all your eggs in that basket?” 

TL;DR: No system is fool-proof, but let’s face it, Microsoft’s up-time is likely much better than yours will ever be. Consciously building a digital workspace out of disparate tools for a .01% chance of failure has far greater potential to negatively impact your team’s productivity and the bottom line than building on a sound platform that inherently integrates with your digital tools. 

What does 99.9% uptime mean? 

So, let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. Last month Microsoft experienced a large outage that prompted such questions as the one above. First, let’s define what a reasonable up-time is. 99.9% up-time (which is what most SharePoint Online SLAs promise) equates to about 8 hours of downtime per year. Compare that to telephony or internet providers, and you’ll likely find this to be a pretty impressive percentage. And don’t get us started on cable and DSL providers where our some of our team has been offline for hours on end. 
Sure, you could attempt to beat this percentage with your own network, but the odds are stacked against you. Plus, when you add in the added security features Microsoft offers, there’s really no contest.  

Spreading services across providers

Next, we ask if there is a risk for outages should I build a digital workspace that is dependent on a singular backbone like Microsoft 365? If I spread out my digital tools across multiple platforms, doesn’t that protect me when an outage occurs? This is where you must factor your risk to reward. 

When you look at the data, Microsoft’s uptime is well above 99% and does appear to be close to 99.9%. So the question is, do the benefits of working with the cloud and a service like Microsoft 365 (a feature-rich system that improves collaboration and productivity) outweigh the untapped productivity potential, the cost to maintain your own system, and the cost of tool duplication? Most likely, you’ll find it will be significantly more expensive to do it yourself, and it will still likely go down at some point.   

So, should you split up your digital tools amongst multiple platforms? No. It’s going to cost more, and a disparate system will result in significant loss of productivity, all quickly adding up to and greatly surpassing the consequences of a potential .01 downtime.  

Managing risk 

Then what is the solution? Because the reality is, there are many industries where that .01% is vital, and I get that. Just like having a crisis communication plan in place for an internet outage, or backup generators for an inevitable power outage, you must have a plan in place so people can continue to keep the business moving forward.  

With escalating protocols to keep things functioning in high-stake industries, you can still maximize the cloud’s productivity and security potential and reap the benefits of a holistic digital workspace solution like Microsoft 365, knowing your team is ready for that small amount of time things go down.  

Are you still not convinced? Check out this post for more details on why uptime might not be the most important metric. Did we miss an important piece of the puzzle? Do you need help convincing your stakeholders that Microsoft 365 is right for you? One of our Microsoft 365 productivity experts would love to chat with you today!  

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