This article will be a brief introduction to the fundamental uses of Microsoft Azure and cloud computing. Azure is a wide set of infrastructures, platforms, and services that we will introduce in a digestible manner to familiarize the reader with it’s basic concepts.
The fundamentals of Microsoft Azure can be difficult to grasp because of the diverse service offerings and limitless applications for its features. Azure is so many things at once that it becomes more of an enigma than a set of services. Cloud computing through Azure can be vital to the growth, cybersecurity, and agility of modern businesses in any industry. This article will unpack what Azure is at its core and the key value additions it can offer your business.
Before we can understand Azure, we must first address cloud computing. Cloud computing is the combination of servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence that have been exported to the cloud. For a multitude of reasons that will be explained, this is far superior to physical servers and having a team of people dedicated to their maintenance.
In a scenario where these operations and infrastructures are not exported to the cloud, a company is severely hindering their ability to protect their customers’ data and mitigate their own risk.
Azure is the name for Microsoft’s vast array of cloud services that complete the cloud computing tasks listed above. It is the engine behind everything your company does online.
In addition to replacing physical servers and databases, Azure gives you the tools to create websites without code, build apps, and create custom tools, all in one stop. It should be noted that if your business has an attachment to your on-site servers, hybrid options are available as well.
There are some fundamental elements that make Azure and cloud computing, in general, a lifesaver for the efficiency and security of a business.
Do not underestimate the importance of cybersecurity. This is best left to the experts at Microsoft or other reputable providers. Cloud computing is essential for defending against attacks, consistent server availability, and disaster recovery. The cost of a breach can be massive as it is not exclusively money paid to ransomware or on the services to recover data, but also lost productivity and loss of business due to file inaccessibility. Services like Azure protect your data from breaches through constant updates, monitoring, and data duplication between servers making it far easier to recover lost or stolen data.
Keeping operating systems up to date is crucial to avoid a breach. BitSight’s, “A Growing Risk Ignored: Critical Updates” states that computers running outdated versions of operating systems were 3x more likely to experience a publicly disclosed data breach. With cloud-based resources, updates happen automatically from your provider, so you never have to worry about manually checking.
A real-life example of why this is necessary would be a ransomware attack. Ransomware is on the rise with scammers looking to extort money, usually from larger businesses but also smaller ones. Ransomware corrupts your data, encrypting your files, and the hacker demands money in exchange for releasing your data. Keeping your company’s data on one private database puts you completely at the hacker’s will. On the other hand, when you back your data up using Azure and enable blob versioning, multiple copies of your files exist, and recovery is simple. Blob versioning means that every time a file is changed, the older version of the file is kept in case the changes were not deliberate. This way your business has access to older versions of your files that have not been corrupted by the ransomware, making recovery swift and saving potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Here is a screenshot from the Azure Security Centre to show the many functions available on the platform:
Increased reliability, scalability, and efficiency all make your business agile. This is the core value addition that cloud computing offers. This gives you assurance that as your business grows, you will have the server strength and database capacity to accommodate growth. Azure is up and running 24-7-365 so your resources are always available.
Azure is perfect if you are a fast-growing startup app that is constantly taking on new users or a large corporation that needs a reliable way to store their growing data catalogue.
Infrastructure is expensive and prohibitive. Having servers on-premise ties you and your team to a location, keeping you on the hook for rent and maintenance. Cloud Technology Partners estimate 20-30% lower operating costs when using cloud-based resources at an enterprise level rather than on-premise infrastructure. Azure takes this burden off your company and gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing Microsoft’s experts are taking care of everything for you. Consequently, this allows businesses to invest funds on more productive avenues.
The digital economy is here, and Azure gives you the framework to reach peak efficiency.
Hopefully, this article was helpful on your mission to understand the fundamentals of Microsoft Azure. We learned that it is a collection of infrastructures, platforms, and services that function as the engine for your company’s digital activities. In action, this means companies that use Azure for cloud computing are more agile, efficient, and secure. All while being more economical.
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