5 Ways Microsoft Azure Can Ensure Business Continuity

Updated: March 22nd, 2024 Author: Liv Appleton

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How Azure Can Safeguard Your Business Operations

In an ever-expanding digital landscape where the needs of businesses change by the day, it can be difficult to keep up with the demand of modern customers and stay ahead of the competition – especially when it comes to the tools we choose to help us achieve our goals.

While many businesses opt for various tools from multiple providers to cover all bases, Microsoft Azure has emerged as one of the most comprehensive and wide-ranging tools businesses can use in virtually all aspects of their progression. Azure’s vast uses and advantages ensure businesses can keep operations moving at all times, creating a singular environment in which many businesses can handle all their digital needs, conveniently in one place.

But what is Microsoft Azure and how can it help ensure your business continuity heading into the future? Keep reading to learn more…

Microsoft Azure: An Overview

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform that is home to hundreds (yes, hundreds) of tools businesses can use to push their products and services forward, be creative, remain productive and achieve their goals.

Think of it as the Mary Poppins bag of the digital business tool realm – with Azure, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever need to go searching for separate cloud-based tools to fulfil your needs. Whatever you’re looking for, you can simply reach into Azure and choose from its seemingly endless service options to do what needs to be done.

These service options include, but aren’t limited to, solutions like:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Providing instant access to servers, storage, networking tools and more.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – The ability to create and manage complex applications from scratch.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – Accessing pieces of software through an internet connection.

On top of this, you’ll also find web building and web hosting services, virtual machines, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities and so much more. Tools like Microsoft SQL Server make storing and accessing information requested by other software applications easy, while Azure Service Fabric simplifies packaging, deploying and managing scalable microservices. In short, whether you’re building something from the ground-up, or need to manage other existing elements of your business more effectively, the Azure cloud platform is here to help. 

Given the in-depth nature of its services that could apply to a huge range of businesses in different sectors, it’s no surprise that Microsoft has become a leading cloud service provider. Azure has been adopted by many large-scale businesses worldwide that utilise its services every day. 56% of global businesses take advantage of Microsoft Azure cloud resources to complete essential tasks, according to data from Statista, making it the undisputed favourite when it comes to businesses seeking all-encompassing tools.

5 Traits of Microsoft Azure That Encourage Good Business Continuity

Excellent Data Storage and Management 

With the amount of data floating around these days, businesses need strong, reliable and easy-to-use data storage to avoid potential speedbumps. With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being produced globally every single day, according to data from CloudTweaks, the demand for effective handling of large-scale data in the business world has never been more pressing.

But with a staggering 96% of businesses failing to backup all workstations, according to data from the Washington Post, businesses everywhere are putting themselves at risk of taking a massive backward step in the event of a data catastrophe. Luckily, cloud storage solutions have emerged as a welcome solution to this issue. Cloud storage simply means data that is stored off-site by a third-party provider and is accessible via the internet. When you need to access your cloud-stored data and programs, everything you need is available whenever you need it and can be transferred to you from the third-party provider across the internet in nanoseconds, despite the fact it is not stored on your premises.

By storing business data off-site with a trusted cloud provider, not only are you freeing up space within your internal hard drives – eliminating the need for bulky, expensive servers – but you’re also ensuring the protection of your data from both a security standpoint and from a data loss standpoint. As a result, should you suffer a massive data loss in-office, all your data will be housed safely for you to regather quickly and efficiently.

As a cloud-computing service, Microsoft Azure also offers a diverse range of cloud data storage and management options, making it an ideal choice for businesses seeking to not only store their data safely but to combine cloud data storage with a plethora of other services under a single convenient package. But what sets Microsoft Azure apart is its ability to house various different kinds of data, depending on the needs of the business. This includes everything from images, word docs, and video files to complex, unstructured data needed to run applications in real-time. Azure Cosmos DB, for example, is a globally distributed database to house varying forms of data on a huge scale, accessible en-masse via the cloud with low latency, ensuring the seamless flow of data for the user.

Plan for the Future with Advanced Analytics

Businesses often need to pivot strategies in order to remain profitable and successful. However, businesses that are unable to take full advantage of their data to boost sales, visibility or productivity are missing out and are at risk of falling behind the competition, if they don’t make full use of up-to-date tools.

The ability to optimise processes based on available data has become a useful trend in modern business, through the advantages presented by advanced analytics. Advanced analytics tools observe all forms of business data (including sales figures, webpage visits, call times, etc.) and run it through complex algorithms to reveal key trends and facts that are often unobservable to the human eye – like straining sand and grit to reveal nuggets of gold we can’t see at the surface. As well as this, machine learning tools can be implemented to help businesses automate more of their workload and “learn” valuable insights as they go, putting them to good use in the future to improve productivity.

Microsoft Azure is integrable with numerous AI and machine learning services and features various AI and machine learning tools of its own that businesses can adopt to make all of the above a reality. Azure Machine Learning gives businesses the option to build and deploy brand-new machine learning models into their data centres, ensuring a completely bespoke machine learning solution that is precisely catered to the needs of said business, encouraging more effective analyses and faster data analysis turnarounds.

Integration with Existing Tools

Any time a business onboards a new digital tool that’s designed for wide use, it can be stressful for employees at all levels. Without proper training or previous exposure to said tool, workers can struggle to maintain their existing workload and productivity, and may also feel disenfranchised with the business, if the new processes are vastly different than before.

While Microsoft Azure resources can act as a replacement for your existing tools and infrastructure, this isn’t always the way it needs to be onboarded, depending on the needs of your business. If your business already utilises tools that are both effective and easy to use, and you’re concerned an immediate replacement may cause a slowing of productivity as described above, Azure can be integrated into your existing infrastructure as your team gets to grips with the new tool. Alternatively, your existing tools can also be integrated within the Microsoft Azure platform and accessed via the main Azure portal, bringing together all the tools your business needs to remain on track to hit your goals, and eliminating the need to constantly toggle between on-site or cloud applications.

Security

With a third of UK businesses reporting cyber breaches in the year 2023, according to data from GOV.UK, the need for stringent and robust cybersecurity in the current digital landscape is paramount. Security breaches can lead to businesses experiencing an uncertain amount of downtime, drastically harming not just business profits, but also future prospects. The consequences of which may not be reversible, leading to the business to close its doors permanently.

One of the main reasons some businesses find issues with storing their business data in the cloud, rather than on on-site hard drives, is the possibility of it being accessed by cybercriminals if they were somehow able to breach the system. While this is understandable, it is an unnecessary fear given the sheer scale and complexity of cybersecurity protocols and tools in the age of cloud computing – protocols and tools that are present in Microsoft Azure.

The world’s premier computing powerhouse, Microsoft, understandably invests an infinite amount of time, funding and resources into perfecting its security measures, helping to protect business data at all costs. These resources include cloud security tools designed to offer your data the protection it needs, to avoid being accessed by anyone other than authorised users. Built-in cloud intelligence is an excellent example – leveraging AI tools we mentioned previously, Azure’s threat intelligence will scan your business network and applications (with the correct permissions, of course) and alert you if it comes across a potential threat. This threat may not have even launched an attack yet, while Azure’s advanced threat protection quickly neutralises the issue and logs the information (through machine learning), further strengthening its own defences against similar attacks in the future. Plus, with access management tools, it is easy to define who can access potentially sensitive information, based on their position within the business hierarchy.

By opting to host your data and applications through Microsoft Azure in the cloud, and by utilising Azure’s impressive security measures, you are giving your data the best defence against cybercriminals possible. 

Remote Working and Catastrophe Continuity

With over 40% of workers in the UK working to a hybrid model at some point during the 2023 calendar year, according to data from The Office for National Statistics, it is understandable that businesses everywhere are seeking effective and reliable options to ensure homeworking is readily available for employees. During the period when all data was stored on-site, remote workers would infinitely struggle to achieve the same level of productivity as their office-based colleagues, simply because they did not have access to the same resources.

But thanks to cloud storage and cloud computing – including tools like Microsoft Azure – remote workers can access the data and programs they need from wherever they are, as long as their internet connection is suitable and they have an appropriate digital device to work from. Better still, tools like Azure Virtual Desktop allow all colleagues to access the same virtual desktop environment (as if sharing the exact same PC) despite the fact they’re scattered across numerous locations. 

However, from a business continuity standpoint, tools like Microsoft Azure can be a lifesaver in certain catastrophic scenarios, one such scenario being a disaster occurring at a business premises. Should the PCs, hard drives, servers and other such tools at business premises suddenly be rendered unavailable – or, even worse, destroyed completely – this would once cause an obscene amount of problems for any business. But with Microsoft Azure, businesses can rest easy knowing that, in the event of such a catastrophe, not only is all their essential business data retained off-site, but all employees would quickly begin to work remotely and still have access to all the cloud-based tools they need to fulfil their roles properly.

Choose Netcentrix To Onboard Microsoft Azure Cloud Services Today

As a certified Microsoft partner, Netcentrix is here to help your business onboard Microsoft Azure services seamlessly and avoid any potential teething issues you may run into without expert help. Our team of Microsoft-accredited specialists will be on hand to ensure your business movements remain steady during the onboarding process, while also answering any pressing questions you may have about the platform. You will be assigned a dedicated account manager who works to guarantee your product is fit for purpose. Should anything ever need to change with your subscription, simply let your account manager know, and we’ll take care of the rest. It’s that easy.

With reliable support available whenever you need it, and a team with decades of combined experience helping businesses, just like yours, to thrive, Netcentrix is your go-to partner for all things Microsoft, Windows, Azure and cloud computing. Contact the Netcentrix team today to find out more.

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