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How COVID-19 Affects Office 365

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Microsoft Throttles Certain Office 365 Features In Wake of Coronavirus

As the situation surrounding Coronavirus continues to evolve, more and more companies are turning towards work from home solutions to keep their employees working during periods of lockdown and social distancing. Because of this, many services are seeing an unprecedented increased traffic and use that has put strain on their infrastructure.

One of the largest areas that this has affected is Microsoft Office 365. As the premier office suite, many businesses around the world use its services, especially those that are cloud based and allow for teams to operate remotely. This has caused a great deal of strain on Microsoft’s end, and as a result they have had to make adjustment to their services.

In order to handle the load, Microsoft has adjusted how their services are offered to accommodate for the increase in use. While none have been totally taken out of use, many have had their functionality scaled back in some way so that they can continue to be used.

How this will affect businesses moving forward should not be all too dramatic, but knowing what the changes are can help you and your business adjust and adapt so that they do not run into any sudden frustrations

Better Understanding the Limited Services

Many of the things that are being scaled back relate to Microsoft’s cloud based offerings. With the amount of people suddenly increasing their usage of many of these applications, there is a need to ensure that bandwith and memory are available.

As the situation clears and more people begin returning to their workplace, these measures will no doubt be lifted, but as of this article’s writing, these are the services affected:


Backend operations for SharePoint have been rescheduled to regional evening and weekend hours. This impacts several areas, including:

  • Migration
  • DLP
  • Delays in file management and uploading
  • Resolution for video playback

This can have impact on updates to datacenters, but should, hopefully, make things easier to predict, manage, and work around for those that have to work directly with SharePoint.


OneNote, Microsoft’s collaborative note taking app meanwhile is seeing reduced effectiveness as well. OneNote in Teams will be read-only for users excluding EDU ones. If people wish to edit notes, they will have to go to OneNote for the web to do so.

Similar to SharePoint, download size and syncing frequency of file attachments has also been adjusted to help handle the stress of the increased use.

These feature limitations will impact certain businesses more than others, but the limit to the services will allow for others to work unimpeded.


Teams is one of the larger services offered with Office 365. For many businesses it is a key part in day to day operations and has become critical in the current day to day where many are forced to work from home.

For other businesses, Teams is a new tool in their arsenal that has been instrumental in aiding the transition into working out of the office. With the ability to share files, stream video and voice, and a bevy of other features, Teams has become one of the core applications used within the Office 365 suite.

So, it may come as a surprise to some to learn that it also is having some of its functionality limited.

Video recording and streaming resolution has been capped at 720p, and facial recognition has also been disabled. This will impact some visual quality of the service, but the function to use video recording remains intact for use.

How Long Will These Functions Remain Limited?

That is a question asked by many, and the answer right now is: No one is sure.

Microsoft has stated that they are continuing to monitor the situation and are making adjustments as they are needed. This is likely something to be directly tied to the situation surrounding Coronavirus, and how it continues to spread and be fought. As more people need the services, the stress to their systems has to be managed, which as led to the shift in availability in their most recent update.

Should Microsoft have to, further limitations and restrictions could be made to existing services to ensure that others can continue to operate as efficiently as they need to.

How that situation will play out exactly however, remains to be seen. With new updates coming every day, the continued effects of COVID-19 are unpredictable.

However, Microsoft has been committed to ensuring that the most important Office 365 services will continue to be available. Eventually, as the situation calms, and people are able to return to their offices and workplaces, these limitations and restrictions will be lifted, and Office 365 will return to its normal functionality.