Microsoft is introducing cloud.microsoft, a new unified domain for Microsoft 365 apps and services designed to make it easier for IT to manage them and reduce end user complexity.
According to the Redmond, Wash. IT powerhouse, it is bringing authenticated, user-facing Microsoft 365 apps onto a single, consistent and cohesive domain.
Currently, there are dozens of different URLs on several different domains for existing Microsoft apps and services, including microsoft365.com, outlook.office.com, teams.microsoft.com, onenote.com, outlook.live.com, outlook.office365.com, login.microsoftonline.com and many more.
Examples of the apps and services on the new unified domain include outlook.cloud.microsoft, status.cloud.microsoft, loop.cloud.microsoft, onedrive.cloud.microsoft, teams.cloud.microsoft, sway.cloud.microsoft and viva.cloud.microsoft.
Why Microsoft is unifying domains for Microsoft 365
Microsoft says this move brings several benefits:
- Streamlining end user experience by reducing sign-in prompts, redirects, and delays
- Reduced complexity for IT admins managing access to apps and services
- Tighter integrations across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem to streamline development and improve cross-app experiences
According to Microsoft, it is leveraging its exclusive rights to the .microsoft domain to establish better security, trustworthiness and integrity of its web offerings. This is similar to how the U.S. government has exclusive rights to the .gov domain, which helps establish trust that the user is in the right place.
“Exclusive ownership enables enhanced security protocols and governance controls, and the value of security investments done at the top-level domain seamlessly accrue to the apps,” the company says in a Tech Community blog. “And all experiences hosted on the .microsoft domain can be assumed to be legitimate and authentic: anyone attempting domain spoofing would have to go through Microsoft itself, as we are both the registry operator and sole registrant for this exclusive, trusted namespace”
The company said it chose the word “cloud” as a common term before the domain because it is a durable, extensible, neutral term with a meaningful relationship to the wide range of services that will come under its umbrella, starting with Microsoft 365.”
When will this begin?
Microsoft says that only net-new services will be deployed on the cloud.microsoft domain to start, and existing workloads will transition at a slower pace.
Microsoft 365 customers will not need to take any action in most cases.
The cloud.microsoft domain has already been added to the official list of Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges, and existing links and bookmarks will automatically redirect to the new domain.
Microsoft will notify customers 30 days in advance about changing the domain for any existing service which requires customer network configuration.
Targeted communication will also be given for domain changes to apps and services that require deeper customer actions, such as updates to customer applications. The company will also implement long-term redirects to help ensure that legacy bookmarks, hyperlinks, and connections continue to function with old domains.
Other things to know
The move is currently only being made for Microsoft 365, and the company will share plans for other services in the future.
The Microsoft.com domain will remain, as it is currently used for non-product experiences like marketing, support and e-commerce. Only authenticated, user-facing product experiences will be hosted on cloud.microsoft, the company says.
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