The Fundamentals of Microsoft Azure

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.

Andrew Newman

Andrew Newman

What are the Fundamentals of Microsoft Azure?

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.

What is Cloud Computing?

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.

Now, what is Microsoft Azure?

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.

Why is Cloud Computing Through Azure Useful?

There are some fundamental elements that make Azure and cloud computing, in general, a lifesaver for the efficiency and security of a business.

 

Most importantly:

  • Saving money (often a lot of money)
    • Azure has a pay-as-you-go pricing model that removes concerns of wasting money on extra capabilities or dealing with the panic of running out of them
  • Complete scalability
    • Exporting your computing capabilities to the cloud removes the need to purchase more infrastructure as your company grows. If you need more resources, they are already there
  • Reliability
    • Due to Azure’s network of infrastructure and strategic geographic spread, even when problems arise, your business is covered
  • Security
    • Exporting data to the cloud allows for backup services and data replication that will keep you and your customers’ data safe even in the event of a breach

Data Security is Superior on the Cloud

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:

Agility is Key

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.

3 Tips and Reminders for Azure

  1. This article is a highly simplified, brief breakdown of Azure’s fundamental uses. The world of Azure extends far beyond what was presented in this article and if you want to understand all aspects of it, be prepared for a rabbit hole of epic proportions. If you are prepared for that, Microsoft Learn is a great place to start.
  2. Due to Azure’s complexity, if you are looking to convert your business to its services, we recommend using a Microsoft Solution Provider, such as Avantiico, for implementation. This will save you hassle and ensure the job is done right, by people with the requisite experience.
  3. There is no one-sentence summary for all the functions of Azure. But, if you are just a casual enjoyer and want a quick summary of what it does: Azure is the infrastructure, platforms, and software that Microsoft uses to give you the ability to collect, analyze, and safely store data, while also providing users with an interface to build applications, websites, and complete most internet-based activities!

A Quick Recap

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.

How We Can Help

If Azure sounds like it could solve some of your business’s problems or you are looking to migrate your computing to the cloud, we encourage you to request a demo over at our Azure Overview page:

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