back to article 'Our entire corporation cannot send or receive emails from Outlook'

This was the week when Microsoft’s top legal eagle said the fallout from the NSA snooping scandal was only getting worse for US tech companies. In a speech at the GigaOm Structure conference, Redmond’s general counsel Brad Smith said that unless the US government started taking control of its spy agencies, the country’s tech …


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  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    'Our entire corporation cannot send or receive emails from Outlook'

    Is it mere coincidence that Microsoft went on record as saying the NSA is making life difficult for them on the same week? Perhaps they're getting tired of them messing round with Online Exchange's forwarding rules.

  2. dan1980

    There are always trade-offs

    What the Office 365 e-mail outage shows is not an inherent vulnerability so much as the helplessness of clients that use these services.

    I have clients on the cloud but for each and every one I have made it VERY clear that, while having someone else managing your e-mail might be seen as a benefit, there is a very real flipside, which is that they are the ONLY ones who can manage it.

    It doesn't matter how urgent it is or how much you are willing to pay, if something goes wrong, you just have to sit there and let the cloud provider manage it. It does matter if you have to submit a $20m tender or are waiting to receive crucial information from an investor - it will take as long as it takes.

    Without going into depth, when I setup an onsite mail system, I provide as much redundancy as the budget will allow and, with a very modest outlay, you can provide quite a lot of options.

    The system won't be as reliable day-to-day - sometimes e-mails will bank up if their server has an issue - but the point is that almost any issue can be fixed and fixed relatively quickly.

    As I've said many times, that doesn't make cloud services bad, there are just always trade-offs, just as there are with on-site systems. The important point is REALLY understanding those trade-offs and the potential risk to your business.

    1. BillG

      Re: There are always trade-offs

      Office365 is Cloud services are beginning to look like a very poor choice for mission critical services.

      1. Rottenham

        Re: There are always trade-offs

        Maybe we should go back to calling it "the remote server."

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: There are always trade-offs

      dan1980, you should also point out that if you were unavailable, another IT professional could be brought in to troubleshoot the system and get it back working.

      1. dan1980

        Re: There are always trade-offs


        Absolutely! That's of course in complete contrast to most cloud services.

        If your local IT monkey goes under, you can get another in. Again, it's about the flexibility.

        With my clients I always fall back on car analogies. In this case, explain on-site systems to clients as being like car ownership - they come with responsibilities and on-going costs and when things go wrong it can sometimes be expensive to fix but the flexibility of owning your own car is unequalled.

        There's no direct analog for a cloud provider but I tend to contrast it with the GoGet type cars that are parked all-around the city. They are fantastic and you can use them much time a personal car most of the time but there's always the possibility that one won't be available when you really need it!

        1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

          Re: There are always trade-offs

          It doesn't matter what the basket is or where you keep it, you still shouldn't put all your mission critical eggs in it.

  3. Anonymous Blowhard

    "Hacking Team says the software should only be used on criminals"

    But governments are free to define what's criminal so no problem then?

    1. Cipher
      Big Brother

      It will only get worse...

      'Hacking Team says the software should only be used on criminals'

      AB responded:

      "But governments are free to define what's criminal so no problem then?"

      Worse, as some governments have demonstrated, criminals are not the only ones impacted by this tech. Political enemies can be monitored as well.

      Another chilling thought: How long before this tech is sold to criminal enterprises outside of government, When some 3rd level assistant minister decides to enhance their retirement fund and this kit slips into the wild?

      1. DragonLord

        Re: It will only get worse...

        How do you know it hasn't

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The "cloud." Mainframe level loss of local control *without* mainframe reliability.

    But boy is it cheap.

    Until it fails.

    When it's not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The "cloud." Mainframe level loss of local control *without* mainframe reliability.

      I like it. Another definition to add to the list.

      Not original, but whenever you see the word cloud used in reference to IT, simply substitute "someone else's servers" and see if it still sounds like such a good idea.

  5. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Google can't find a good enough problem?

    "we're now trying to identify a class of problems for which the current quantum hardware might outperform all known classical solvers. But it will take us a bit of time to publish firm conclusions."

    That sounds pretty damning. If Google of all people can't find a problem "hard enough" for "quantum" tech to outperform older tech, then the new tech is pretty much the definition of a solution that can't solve any problem. Surely Google's "soft" analyse needs are the perfect use case for something like quantum computing?

  6. Fatman

    Office 365 troubles

    And MacBuffalo said:

    Office365 is beginning to look like a very poor choice for mission critical services.


    Any IT staffer with half a brain would have recognized it.

    But, nooo, damagement knows best.

    Fire the ID10T who made that decision - without severance pay. That must be the price paid for such incompetence.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Office 365 troubles

      "Fire the ID10T who made that decision - without severance pay. That must be the price paid for such incompetence."

      That's been done where I work, but we're still stuck with Oriface365 (amongst other things: they limit the amount of resource IMAP and SMTP clients can use. Guess what happens during busy periods?)

  7. Arctic fox

    The effect of the US' hysterical attitude to "homeland security" is something.......

    ...............that several of us here in our little congregation have already commented upon. Particularly with regard to the likely effect on the capacity of US tech companies to do business abroad. Only recently we saw the German government cancel a large contract with Verizon citing security concerns. The US already has enough difficulty facing the new economic challenges from the BRIC countries (if memory serves I believe that stands for BrasilRussiaIndiaChina) without shooting themselves in the foot in this way. I suggest that the current generation of American politicians review the slogan than one of Bill Clinton's advisers gifted his boss with when the aforementioned stood for reelection for the presidency, "It's the economy stupid".

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  8. Kubla Cant

    Using random spin glass instances as a benchmark, we find no evidence of quantum speedup when the entire data set is considered, and obtain inconclusive results when comparing subsets of instances on an instance-by-instance basis.

    That's the way it is with quantum computers. You either know where they are or how fast they compute, but not both. If you don't watch them they're really fast, but as soon as you try to measure the results they're no better than ordinary computers.

    1. DNTP

      When you think about it the Cloud is already a quantum computer, because you never know if its being up or whether your data is there until you are doing the need of it, and then that indeterminate state is a good chance of collapsing to either of probability.

  9. Rottenham

    A "journo?" Used up all the words in the dictionary already?

  10. Rottenham

    We don't export a lot

    After reading this article, I searched on "Top 5 American Exports." I saw oil (!), plastics, pharma, even cars (?) but no IT. As a country, we're not as big on tech as we think we are. A large part of the tech we do export was offshored, then stamped with an American name.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: We don't export a lot

      You don't export that many cars. Your export clients for that are the immediate neighbours and only because protectionist barriers keep the rest of the world at bay. Noone else who cares about reliability will touch an american-made car with someone else's 10-foot bargepole.

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Key places.

    key places like Brussels and Berlin and Brasilia.

    You heard it here first folks. If your city doesn't start with "B" it's not important.

  12. kevin biswas

    Single point of failure fails

    And the excrement hits the extractor. Who'da thunk it, eh. ?

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