“The Cloud” can be a nebulous term, but when it comes to business, we’re on the verge of a paradigm shift towards a more versatile environment for organizations of all sizes. Microsoft’s Azure cloud services are a collection of solutions which allow businesses to move beyond traditional on-premise infrastructure in favor of solutions with versatility, higher performance, security and unparalleled continuity.



The Cloud, In Brief


What is the cloud? The simplest explanation is that the cloud is the combined computing power of hundreds of servers around the world, coming together to create online systems, applications and solutions which can be reliably and securely accessed from your computer (wherever your computer may be). You may already be using cloud solutions such as Microsoft’s 365, a software as a service that includes the Office apps and cloud storage in the form of OneDrive and SharePoint.




The Next Generation Of Business Servers


On-premise Active Directory and file servers represent large capital expenditures for businesses of all sizes and after all the money is spent, there are plenty of complications ahead. Physical servers age, software loses support, hardware can break down and devices are subject to physical disasters like theft, fire, or flood. With Azure, all the functions of your on-premise server can be migrated to virtual machines kept redundantly on secure systems maintained by Microsoft. As a result, businesses can pay for just the resources they need and be certain that those resources will always be accessible, no matter what happens. If data demands increase or a business needs to boost performance (or can stand to decrease) adjustments can be made to these virtualized machines in a matter of minutes. What would have once required a costly upgrade or server migration can be as simple as changing some settings and rebooting.




The Most Common Use Cases


For most small and medium sized businesses, the use cases for Azure are three-fold: Active Directory, file storage and line of business applications. Active Directory is Microsoft server’s catalog method for securely connecting users to the services and applications they need in a domain environment. It is invaluable to standardize security, accessibility and permissions across your organization and Azure makes it faster and easier than ever. Storage through Azure is integrated seamlessly with SharePoint and OneDrive, or can be structured through mapped drives just as an on-premise server would be. Line of business software refers to the industry specific programs that are crucial for a company’s daily operation; often these revolve around accounting, client management and design. Azure allows these applications to run in dedicated virtual containers which perform quicker and with a greater degree of employee accessibility.




Azure has the potential to improve the performance of all the applications your business relies on. If there is something you have to go into the office to do, that’s a sign you could take advantage of Azure to make your life easier. If you’d like to learn how the Azure cloud could help your organization, call MCT today.