A revamp of the sign-in portal for Office 365 Microsoft has been rolling out to customers over a period of weeks has created unexpected issues, with some people unable to access it.
The changes the tech company has been applying to the log-in pages have been undertaken with minimal fuss, amounting to a redesign available on an opt-in basis. To ensure the updates were applied in as coherent a way as possible, Microsoft also launched the Azure Active Directory access changes at the same time. This latter product is a cloud-based one that manages Office 365 users.
This new revamp of these log-in pages sees the user interface being given some small adjustments, but also features some changes which are rather more significant. One of these is a brand new paginated log-in that consists of two pages. The customer types a username into the first of these, before inputting something Microsoft is calling a 'credential' – which likely means a password – into the second.
Microsoft says this redesign has been subject to a rigorous series of tests, with the results of these indicating a much higher number of successful sign-ins were achieved by those taking part in this testing process, using the revamped version. The changes are also set to render the implementation of other methods of authentication Microsoft is planning for the future – for example signing in using a phone – easy to carry out.
This all seems straightforward enough on the surface, but best laid plans do not always turn out quite as intended, and a number of teething issues were almost immediately reported by the Microsoft Tech Community. One of them was that making changes to Office 2010 content via SharePoint was proving to be impossible. Other problems included difficulties in deploying some of the authentication features and smart links.
One of the people from this community who remarked on the problems made the point that during the spring, Microsoft had stated it would provide a clear advance announcement of any alterations to the log-in process for its customers, as well as a period of opt-in applicable to any that were likely to cause notable amounts of disruption. He went on to add this had not happened when it came to these updates, meaning users were not properly prepared for them.
In response, the software giant stated that customers on the private preview programme received the updates first, with the public preview set to last for over 30 days and be available as an opt-in. It also apologised for the delay in posting the blog announcing them, adding:
A spokesman said: "The dev team surprised us by getting the changes up and running a few days earlier than planned, and we had to scramble to get the blog post up as fast as possible. We will figure out how to make sure that doesn't happen next time."
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