Microsoft unwittingly let an online security certificate expire Friday,
triggering a worldwide outage in an online service that stores data for a
wide range of business customers.
The sloppy housekeeping represents
an embarrassing lapse for Microsoft Corp. as the software maker tries to
bring in more revenue from the storage service, which is called Azure.
expired certificate is needed to properly run online services such as
Azure which use an "https" protocol to block unauthorized users from
Microsoft's failure to renew the security
certificate apparently caused the Azure service to go down shortly
before 4 p.m. EST Friday. The breakdown prevented Azure customers from
accessing files kept in Microsoft's data centers.
The service still hadn't been fully restored more than four hours later, according to a post on Microsoft's website.
"We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers," Microsoft said.
failure illuminates the pitfalls of storing important information in
remote data centers. Online storage, often called "cloud computing," is
growing in appeal because it allows workers to pull up data, wherever
they are, to an Internet-connected device.
convenience can turn into a major aggravation when a problem crops up
like the one that tripped up Microsoft Friday.