Microsoft lapse causes outages in Azure service

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft says it has implemented recovery procedures to fix a worldwide outage triggered by an expired security certificate.

The outage affected an online service that stores data for a wide range of business customers. The service still hasn't been fully restored but a Microsoft Website for the service known as Azure says a "gradual recovery" should be noticeable.

Microsoft's failure to renew the certificate apparently caused the Azure service to go down shortly before 4 p.m. EST Friday.

The expired certificate is needed to properly run online services such as Azure which use an "https" protocol to block unauthorized users from accessing information.

Azure's failure illuminates the pitfalls of storing important information in remote data centers. Online storage, often called "cloud computing," is growing in appeal because it allows workers to pull up data, wherever they are, to an Internet-connected device.

Microsoft apologized for the lapse.

©2016 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.