Policies and Communications for service incidents

Applies to Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.x

Microsoft regularly maintains and updates Dynamics 365 (online) to ensure security, performance, and availability, and to provide new features and functionality. From time to time, Microsoft also responds to service incidents. For each of these activities, the Dynamics 365 admin for your organization, or recipients added to the notification list by the Dynamics 365 admin, receives email notifications. During a service incident, a Dynamics 365 (online) customer service representative may also call and follow up with an email.

If you’re not sure who your Dynamics 365 admin is, see Find your Dynamics 365 administrator or support person.

If you want to change who receives email communications, see Manage email notifications.

If you’re a Dynamics 365 admin, you can also see the latest status of updates and incidents in the Office 365 service health page. To learn how to get to the Office 365 service health page, see View the status of your services.

To learn more about each type of maintenance and update activity, as well as the communications your organization receives, click on one of the following, or scroll down:

Planned maintenance

Planned maintenance includes updates and changes to the Dynamics 365 (online) service to provide increased stability, reliability, and performance. These changes can include:

  • Hardware or infrastructure updates

  • Integrated services, such as a new version of Office 365 or Azure

  • Dynamics 365 (online) service changes and software updates

  • Minor service updates to Dynamics 365 (online) that occur about 10 times per year

How do I find out about planned maintenance?

Your organization will receive a Maintenance notification through the Office 365 Message Center. Additionally, for maintenance activities that impact your ability to use the service, Dynamics 365 (online) System Administrators will receive an email notification.

You can also view notifications in the Office 365 Admin mobile app on your mobile device.

In addition, you can see the schedule and status of planned maintenance activities on the Office 365 service health page. To learn how to get to the Office 365 service health page, see View the status of your services.

Unplanned maintenance

From time to time, Dynamics 365 (online) inevitably encounters unplanned issues that require changes to ensure availability. Microsoft strives to provide as much notification as possible during these events. Because these events can’t be predicted, they are not considered planned maintenance.

How do I find out about unplanned maintenance?

Your organization receives an “Unplanned Maintenance” email. These emails go out to all Dynamics 365 (online) System Administrators in every Dynamics 365 (online) instance that is affected by the unplanned maintenance.

You can also see the status of current unplanned maintenance activities on the Office 365 service health page. To learn how to get to the Office 365 service health page, see View the status of your services.

Planned and unplanned maintenance emails can be identified by the light-orange banner.

Planned and unplanned maintenance banner

Security updates

The Dynamics 365 (online) team regularly performs the following to ensure the security of the system:

  • Scans of the service to identify possible security vulnerabilities

  • Assessments of the service to ensure that key security controls are operating effectively

  • Evaluations of the service to determine exposure to any vulnerabilities identified by the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), which regularly monitors external vulnerability awareness sites

The Dynamics 365 (online) team identifies and tracks any identified issues, and takes swift action to mitigate risks when necessary.

How do I find out about security updates?

Because the Dynamics 365 (online) team strives to apply risk mitigations in a way that doesn’t require service downtime, Dynamics 365 administrators usually don’t receive emails for security updates. If a security update does require service downtime, it is considered planned maintenance.

For more information about Dynamics 365 (online) security, see Dynamics 365 (online) Trust Center.

Service updates

Dynamics 365 (online) typically releases two major service updates per year. Service updates provide new features and functionality to Dynamics 365 (online).

Improvements in the update process put the power in your hands for scheduling your organization’s service updates. You can choose from a list of available dates. Service updates are only applied after they are approved by the Dynamics 365 (online) admin - please review the important note below outlining the Dynamics 365 online update policy. This helps you to plan well in advance for your upgrade path, while using your sandbox organization to properly test and evaluate the service updates with your existing production code.

Important

Be sure to check out Update policy for important information about updating to the latest version.

How do I find out about service updates?

The Dynamics 365 (online) team preschedules customers for the service update and emails Dynamics 365 (online) admins 90 days before the scheduled update. Dynamics 365 (online) admins receive additional emails at 90 days, 30 days, 15 days, 7 days, 0 or day of, and post update.

In the email, you have the opportunity to either approve the scheduled date or reschedule the update from a list of dates. All customers are updated during the defined service update release period, usually over a three-month window.

To find out more about rescheduling service updates, see Manage Dynamics 365 (online) updates.

To find out what’s new and how to prepare for the next release, check out the following resources:

Emails regarding the scheduling or rescheduling of your update will be sent with a light-blue banner.

Banner in email for scheduling your update

Service incidents

A service incident occurs when your organization is inaccessible or you’re unable to use the service or one of its components. Examples include:

  • Getting a “page not found” or 404 error when you try to access Dynamics 365 (online).

  • All of your users are unable to sign in to your organization.

  • Your users can sign in, but can’t save their changes.

  • Users can sign in, but see a blank screen.

How do I find out about service incidents?

If you open a case to report a service incident, a Microsoft customer support representative will call your Dynamics 365 admin and follow up with an email when the service incident is resolved.

Major service incidents

A major service incident occurs when multiple organizations can’t access the service.

How do I find out about major service incidents?

The Microsoft policy is to send email updates to the Dynamics 365 admins of affected customers as soon as we are aware of a major service incident, and a final email once the issue is considered resolved.

You can also see the status of major service incidents in your Office 365 service health page. To learn how to get to the Office 365 service health page, see View the status of your services.

In addition, five business days after the incident resolution, the Dynamics 365 (online) team publishes a post-incident report (PIR) to the Office 365 service health page. This report summarizes the following details about the incident:

  • Description

  • Root cause

  • Customer impact

  • Start date and time

  • Resolution date and time

  • Next steps

If the service incident breaches your Service Level Agreement, you can claim a billing credit according to the conditions of your Service Agreement. If you need help with this, see Billing FAQs for Dynamics 365 (online).

Major service incident emails can easily be identified by the orange banner.

Service incident email banner

Service restored

Microsoft will send you an email when normal system services have been restored. You can easily identify these emails by the light-green banner.

Service restored email banner

General awareness

These emails are specific to managing the Dynamics 365 Service, including changes with the service or feature offerings. They can be informational in nature, drive specific actions, or both. The target audience for these communications are Dynamics 365 System Administrators or individuals designated to running the service. You can easily identify these by the light-blue banner.

General awareness email banner

Launch and post launch readiness communications

These communications are used to inform Dynamics 365 administrators about important information prior to a major service release. Our goal is to share information about tasks that administrators may need to perform before the release and to inform customers about new or enhanced capabilities that are coming in the release. You’ll see a green banner when receiving these types of communications.

Launch readiness email banner

Post-purchase customer lifecycle communications

Once a customer has purchased Dynamics 365 (online), we send a series of helpful email communications to Dynamics 365 administrators during the first year. These communications direct customers to a number of resources that will assist both administrators and users to successfully adopt and expand their use of Dynamics 365 (online).

You can easily identify these communications by the dark-blue banner.

Post-purchase email banner

See also

Manage Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online) updates