Microsoft 365 Network Connectivity Principles

August 11, 2020

If you are not familiar with the Microsoft 365 Network Connectivity Principles, you should be. At this stage of cloud powered digital transformation, it has become a well-recognized fact that efficient user connectivity and network architecture that is cloud ready and cloud optimized is one of the most critical decisions that customers should make to achieve best application performance and delightful user experience.  For rich cloud-based productivity solutions, such as Microsoft 365, optimal end user connectivity to the cloud becomes especially important.

To help customers modernize their network architectures, Microsoft has developed 4 Network Connectivity Principles.  These principles can help customers evaluate their existing network architectures and its readiness for Microsoft 365; inform future network design choices for in office and remote users; and modernize their networks to achieve both security and optimal user experience, instead of trading one versus another.  These principles can also be helpful to evaluate different network partner solution architectures for Microsoft 365 alignment and provide confidence that customer network choices are not only optimal, but future proof for the dynamic and evolving nature of the Internet and Microsoft 365 cloud.

Below are the 4 principles at a high level.  To dive into the details please watch the first video in our Microsoft 365 Network Connectivity Video Series, embedded in this blog. Please watch out for additional videos that dive deep into the details on how those principles can be applied to network design, network configuration, remote user connectivity, and achieving Zero Trust security.

For the latest information on how to configure your Microsoft 365 network components to maximize performance and provide the best possible user experience visit: https://msft.it/6003To3vP

Principle #1: Optimize Microsoft 365 traffic

Use the Microsoft published endpoint categories to differentiate Microsoft 365 traffic from generic Internet traffic for more efficient routing.

Principle #2: Enable local egress

Egress Microsoft 365 data connections through Internet as close to the user as practical with matching DNS resolution.

Principle #3: Enable direct connectivity

Enable direct egress for Microsoft 365 connections. Avoid network hairpins and minimize network latency (RTT) to Microsoft’s global network.

Principle #4: Modernize security for SaaS

Avoid intrusive network security for Microsoft 365 connections. Bypass proxies, traffic inspection devices, and avoid duplicating security controls already available in Microsoft 365.