By Christian Wilmot, Client Technical Manager – EMEA
In a Microsoft blog article published August 27, the software giant announced Outlook clients older than Outlook 2013 SP1 (with latest fixes) will be blocked from connecting to Microsoft 365 services after November 1, 2021.
“After November 1, 2021, only Outlook 2013 Service Pack 1 (with latest fixes) and later will be able to connect to Microsoft 365 services.”
This follows on from Microsoft ending support for older versions of Microsoft Office such as the once hugely popular version Office 2010, which ended October 13, 2020.
But what does this really mean?
Well, for organizations still running Outlook/Office version older than Office 2013 SP1 (with latest fixes), and with mailboxes in Office365/Exchange Online post-November 1, users will no longer be able to access their mailboxes via the Windows desktop client.
This highlights Microsoft’s commitment to securing access to the Office 365 platform, ensuring companies progressively upgrade their desktop software to later, more secure, and feature-rich versions.
For most organizations, whose mailboxes are in Office365/Exchange Online, typically a subscription covering the Office365 desktop application suite ensures users always have access to the latest version of applications.
Having a patching schedule and software life-cycle in place is crucial to maintaining IT Security. It’s worth noting that Microsoft no longer supports older versions of Office, but some smaller organizations without an internal IT department or a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to manage technology might not have a software life-cycle policy in place. And at the time of this article, Microsoft no longer supports Office versions earlier than Office 2013 15.0.4971.1000.
Read more: Mastering Microsoft Teams.
So, what next?
For those organizations who are using Office365/Exchange Online for mailbox hosting only, and using older and unsupported versions of Outlook/Office what upgrade paths are available?
Upgrade Path: Office 365 Subscription
A recommended solution would be to ensure employees whose mailboxes are in Office365/Exchange Online and require the Office desktops application suite are covered by a relevant Office365 subscription. This will ensure employees always have access to the latest version of the Office365 desktop applications. Including the latest features!
Upgrade Path: Retail Version
If an organization is running a retrial version older than Outlook/Office 2013 SP1 (with latest fixes), and for internal company reasons don’t want to upgrade to a more expensive Office 365 subscription, a retail version can be purchased. The latest retail version of Microsoft Office at the time of this article is Microsoft Office 2019.
Upgrade Path: Office 2013
If an organization is running Office 2013 and doesn’t want to upgrade to a more expensive Office365 subscription, ensuring the software is always updated to the latest version will prevent users from losing access to the mailboxes. But keep in mind that at the time of this article, Microsoft is ending support for Office 2013 on April 11, 2023.
Read more: Get to Know Microsoft’s New Office App.