Microsoft recently held a town hall meeting with its employees and audio from the meeting has leaked online. According to Business Insider, the audio shows Microsoft is finding it tough to contact some customers affected by the recent Server Exchange exploit attacks. Elsewhere, the leak shows the company has repositioned 260 staff from its closed retail locations into corporate roles.
Microsoft Exchange Server is in the midst of an attack through an exploit first used by the HAFNIUM group. More threat groups have since targeted the exploit. Microsoft has sent out patches for all versions of the service, including those out of support.
Microsoft says updating Exchange Server is the best way to avoid the exploit. Furthermore, the company has launched a tool to help customers know if they have been breached. However, tens of thousands of companies have yet to patch their systems.
In the employee meeting, Microsoft confirmed it is struggling to reach out to these customers. There are several obstacles causing this problem. Firstly, because Microsoft Exchange Server is an on-premises service, the company cannot roll out an automatic update. Customers must manually seek out the update and install it.
More problematic is Microsoft does not have the contact information of many customers. Executive vice president who runs Microsoft suite of business applications said in the meeting this is a problem for the company:
“When our customers are on-premise, we don't get telemetry from them, and so the time to detect that there was an issue is incredibly high and the time to recover is even worse,” Jha said. “And in many cases we don't even have contact information for these small business customers since they are sold by partners.”
“We are totally focused on helping our customers through this and working with the ecosystem in our partner community,” Jha said. In the meantime, the company says the best solution for customers moving forward will be to pivot to cloud services.
Repositioned Retail Employees
Elsewhere in the staff meeting, leaked audio shows Microsoft has also repositioned some of its retail staff into corporate roles. When the company closed its Microsoft Store locations during the COVID-19 pandemic, it said those locations will never open again. As the company moved entirely to online sales, over 2,000 retail staff were facing an uncertain future.
Microsoft promised to allow those employees to keep their jobs in offices, but only if they would relocate to wherever Microsoft told them to. Recent reports suggest many of those employees still do not know where they will be sent to work.
However, in the staff meeting, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela revealed over 250 retail employees have been moved to corporate roles so far. He added the company has continued to pay retail staff since stores closed last year.
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