There are certainly a lot of very bright people working at Microsoft. They’ve created some of the most popular software tools of all time, used by millions of businesses and individuals around the world. Its Office suite is the standard by which all other document and spreadsheet software is measured. Microsoft Windows dominates personal computers worldwide. So, Microsoft clearly knows what it’s doing.
Unfortunately, sometimes it’s the little things that can trip you up. That’s apparently what happened when 20 million users were unable to log in to Microsoft Teams–a direct competitor to Slack. Outages like this are always inconvenient, and they can have a real cost in terms of productivity. In this case, it was especially frustrating to discover the outage was because someone at Microsoft forgot to renew the SSL certificate used by the service.
An SSL certificate (SSL stands for secure socket layer) is what allows an encrypted connection between a browser or app and a web server. It’s used to secure transmission of data like online payments, messaging, and other information that should be kept away from prying eyes. Without a certificate, the data can’t be sent in an encrypted form, which would put it at risk. As a result, when a certificate expires, and the browser can’t verify the identity of the server, it won’t send information.
In the case of Microsoft Teams, that means the entire service stopped working. That’s awfully inconvenient if your workplace relies on the platform for staying in touch. It’s also a little bit hard to believe from a giant tech company worth more than a trillion dollars with some of the smartest people in the world on the payroll.
Of course, Twitter users had fun with the irony.
It’s a fair criticism. Then again, we can all relate to the feeling that comes with forgetting to do something really important. In fact, Microsoft’s ToDo app is one of the best task-management apps out there, and it might be a helpful tool for those who are supposed to handle these types of tasks. Especially when forgetting has such a widely felt impact. If you sell a product with the pitch that people should use it to stay connected and be more productive, it’s helpful if they can actually connect.