What is Microsoft Azure? Why does your business need it?

Neetika Rana
Categories: Cloud Transformation Optimise your Infrastructure
Tags: Cloud Microsoft Azure

Andrew May Andrew May, Cloud Solutions Architect, writes...

Azure is simply the name of Microsoft's cloud. Its possibilities are endless for every single business. But, with minimal limitations, Azure can feel very overwhelming and almost unsuitable for the needs of a smaller business.

But, that's not the case. There are a lot of misconceptions when businesses think about Azure and how it could fit into their organisation. It's something that customers always highlight when we talk about their Azure options so I thought it would be good to break them down here:

Azure is just for large enterprises – Businesses of all sizes use Azure, because businesses of all sizes use IT. Azure is a part of the Microsoft Cloud, just like Microsoft 365 is. Whereas Microsoft 365 has replaced the need to run your own email and file servers, Azure can be used to replace any of the other servers you still have – for example, essential business applications (like SAGE or CAD tools), databases, remote desktops, just to name a few.

Azure is too big and complex – There are a lot of services and features in Azure and this can seem daunting at first, but it’s actually relatively easy once you start using it. Like everything in life, there is a learning curve and Azure is no different. 

If you’re just getting started in Azure, why not consider a cloud server – the simple first-step to Azure, it’s a ready-to-use server that has a fixed monthly cost (and it’s probably cheaper than your on-premises servers).

Azure is not secure – This is simply not true. Microsoft is a global IT security leader and takes security very seriously, invests over a $1 billion in cyber security and defense every year, and employs 100,000 security specialists working 24/7. They handle billions of user logins every day and millions of IT platforms run in Azure, allowing them to react to emerging threats faster than ever. They also employ automated systems, built on artificial intelligence, to identify and stop attacks before they cause damage or access to private data.

But that’s not all. Your data is encrypted while stored and while being accessed, and Microsoft does not have access to your data. Azure Active Directory is a first-in-class identity platform that is used by millions of people using Microsoft 365 every day and Azure is protected by the very same thing. Azure Security Center is free for Azure users and provides recommendations for improving your security posture – something you don’t get when running your own servers.

Azure is expensive – At first glance Azure can look expensive compared to buying a server and running it on-premises, but that’s comparing two things which are not quite the same. With Azure, you only pay for what you use and the cost includes everything: a secure physical building where your systems run, the electricity and cooling, all of the other IT equipment that’s needed, super-fast internet connections, operating system (Windows or Linux) licenses and everything else.

Azure uses meters, just like your gas or electric supply, so the more you use, the more it costs. The prices are published so you can easily predict and anticipate costs, plus there are cost management tools so you can keep track of spending against your set budget.

If you’re really worried about cost, cloud server is a fixed cost offering, so you know exactly what it will cost each month.

Azure stores my data in the United States – Azure is available all over the world, with datacentres housing IT equipment and storage available to use in the UAE. Once using Azure, you get to choose where your data is stored and processed.

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