21

Oct

Blue skies ahead for businesses that move to Azure cloud

If your organisation is considering a move to the cloud then Microsoft’s recent announcement launching Azure datacentres in Australia could have significant benefits for your business.

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the biggest winners from the introduction, which provides cloud hosting at a price that is competitive to on-premises solutions. For businesses who were worried about the cost of their IT services this will be welcome news.

The cost of using an Azure cloud solution is likely to be a fraction of the cost of running an on-premises solution. Organisations looking to reduce technology costs are likely to find the Azure offering extremely attractive.

The potential cost efficiencies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to benefits.

Local locations ease security concerns. A limited amount of companies are subject to regulations that state they must not store data offshore. Even if your business isn’t one of them, it will be a comfort to know that your data will never leave Australian shores.

  1. Lower latency means faster data. The closer the datacentre is to your business in geographic terms, the faster the data transfer to the datacentre. This has particular benefits if you need to transfer large amounts of data or particularly important workloads.
  2. Put in a direct connection to Azure. Azure includes “ExpressRoute” technology, which means your business has a high speed fibre optic link direct to the Azure Datacentres.  This allows direct transfer of data, rather than using internet connections. While this has been possible with some cloud providers in the past, it is the first time it has been available through such a large, commodity cloud provider. Direct tunnelling means an even faster link to Azure, ensuring your business gets access to the services it requires as quickly as possible.
  3. Microsoft Trust Centre helps to address your security concerns.  Some clients we speak to are concerned about cloud security, not helped by the recent incidents involving hacked phone accounts which have made the news.  Microsoft have created a security centre to address cloud security concerns in a very transparent manner.  If you have concerns regarding cloud security, this is a great place to start.
  4. Cloud Security is a strength, not a weakness.  It’s easy for technical staff to dismiss cloud based solutions as less secure than traditional On Premises IT implementations, however if you are delivering your IT over the Internet, it’s likely that the Cloud Based models are more secure than traditional IT.  This is especially true in small businesses where going through security assessment is just not feasible in terms of cost.  Microsoft regularly audit and perform penetration testing against their cloud services.  They are also complying with difficult to achieve security certifications such as ISO 27001, something that a small or medium business just could not achieve.
  5. Availability and disaster recovery are assured. Putting effective redundancies (duplicate servers/data) in place to protect a service or an on-premises datacentre from a loss of service can double or even triple the upfront and running costs. Few business can afford to have redundant servers, let alone an entire redundant datacentre.  Azure has such effective redundancies in place that as a customer you can be sure that your data and services will be available when you need them. There are multiple copies of your data available at any one time, stored in multiple distributed physical locations. This delivers a level of data protection that is simply not feasible for most small businesses to put in place, yet is included in the Azure fees.

The incentives for businesses to move to the cloud are only increasing. As costs come down, and features and functionality become more comprehensive, not moving to the cloud means you are risking being left behind.

Of course, there are benefits of moving to cloud beyond what Azure provides. For example, cloud-based software releases happen more frequently and include far more functionality than on-premises software. New releases of software such as Microsoft SharePoint, Office365 and CRM Online are available much more regularly via the cloud and with updated feature sets and functionality than the slower release cycles that are currently being used for the on-premises version.

In addition, the cost of a cloud-based solution and subscription-based software is an operating expense rather than capital expenditure. This could benefit your business’s cash-flow as it is much easier spend a small amount per month from your operating budget for IT services than it is to invest a very large capital expense up front to purchase services and licenses required to implement IT services up front.

Empired recommends a cloud-based solution for most businesses given the massive cost savings and benefits. A hybrid solution that spans both your own premises and a cloud provider is the cheapest and most effective way to start utilising cloud services.
The placement of two Azure datacentres in Australia will speed up this process and support your businesses in establishing their cloud strategy.

Contact Empired today to find out how you can improve your IT services while reducing your costs with the power of Microsoft Azure.

Posted by: Mark Rhodes, Cloud Services Architect  | 21 October 2014

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