What Is Microsoft Azure And Is It Safe?

By Mark Watson|10 October 2018

More businesses than ever are migrating to the cloud. Companies need more security, flexibility and scalability than ever before, whilst benefiting from lower costs and reducing or eliminating the need to maintain hardware.

Most of the big tech players - and many smaller firms - are providing cloud-based solutions for businesses. You can do everything from file your annual returns to run your telephony systems through cloud software. 

Microsoft, one of the largest, most well-established providers on the market, launched Azure in 2010, an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud platform. Over 90% of the US Fortune 500 uses services within the Microsoft cloud. Microsoft Azure is a cloud brand that encompasses over 100 different services where enterprises and SMEs can combine and scale as many services as they need to create the technology infrastructure that their organisations require.

What can we do with Microsoft Azure?

Anything and everything.

Whatever you’ve been running in-house can be moved to the cloud. Made bigger, more secure and more effective. Scale up and down according to operational needs. And most importantly, improve on what you’ve been doing. Save costs and become more efficient. 

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Microsoft Azure provides a secure technology environment to create and deploy cloud-based applications. Either create your own - work with an in-house team or external developers - or integrate services you’re already using.
  • Azure also includes Platform and Software (PaaS and SaaS) solutions, making it easier than ever to scale and deploy the technology your organisation needs without complications. It has never been easier, quicker or more cost-effective to create an application and roll it out for team members or customers.
  • Storage and databases. Organisations are producing more data than ever before. Cloud storage is an essential operational feature that most organisations can’t manage without. Microsoft provides a range of solutions, including Virtual Machines (Microsoft or Linux), managed databases, and storage offerings that go down in price when you don't need to access some of your data very often. 

Azure is plugged into a marketplace of apps and complimentary services. So whether you are looking for a new CRM or design software for the marketing team, chances are you should be able to find it through Azure. Of course, what we've outlined here is merely the tip of the iceberg. Get in touch if you are considering migrating to the cloud.

However, before you do, we know you may have a question about security.

Is Microsoft Azure secure?

As a global technology leader, Microsoft knows it represents an attractive target for cyber criminals and hackers. If they can exploit a weakness, they will. Keeping customers secure is a top priority for Microsoft, which is why they invest $1 billion every year into security, which includes protecting the Azure infrastructure.

Here are a few of the security precautions Microsoft takes to protect Azure customers:

  • Automatic encryption. Everything sent within the Azure environment is automatically encrypted. The Azure network has automatic detection to prevent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, similar to some of the largest services on the Internet, such as Xbox and Microsoft’s Office 365.
  • Other safeguards include automated smart traffic monitoring and profiling. It is easier to detect and deflect threats when systems know when something looks out of the ordinary, reducing the risk any threats pose that may have breached external security systems.
  • Smart access control. Management (admin) accounts are run over separate networks than most team members. Managers can also control and restrict access to a limited time period, device, or even a specific document.
  • Microsoft goes to great lengths to protect hardware and firmware, constantly reviewing and revising code, even creating hardware that can automatically detect threats before software is loaded and active. If anything malicious is detected, it can pause software activity until the threat is removed.
  • Azure is the first cloud platform to support both software and hardware-based Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs). TEEs ensure that encrypted data - whether it is stored, in transit or inactive is - safe from unauthorised access and tampering.
  • Operational security is serious business. Microsoft employs 3,500 cybersecurity experts, including 200 who continually look for weaknesses. Any that are found are input into the operational security procedures Azure uses to improve against potential external threats.
  • You don't even need to worry if you are working off-site and need secure access. With ExpressRoute, you can access to Azure through an encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN), wherever you are in the world. 

Providing you are always sensible about password use and storage, Azure is one of the most secure working environments that organisations could use for software, data storage and numerous other uses. In fact, it may be more secure than your current on-premise IT infrastructure…

If you would like to talk to us about migrating to the cloud and learn more about Microsoft Azure, please get in touch.

For more on migrating to cloud services, download our whitepaper providing guidance for developing an Enterprise Cloud Strategy.

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