The breadth and depth of Azure is truly unrivalled. We believe its capabilities make it the best public cloud offering on the market, but why should you use Azure for SMBs? Here’s why we think it’s perfect.
Office 365 is hosted in Azure – you and your customers are already using it
If you’ve taken your customers on the first step of the cloud journey and they are using Office 365, the conversation around Azure is a natural progression – your account management team can talk about workloads and line of business applications that remain on-premises and the process for migrating to Azure where appropriate.
Office 365 subscribers have a free subscription to Azure Active Directory
Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based version of its best in class productivity suite, which includes all your customers favourite apps, along with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to manage user identities behind the scenes. Your customers with Office 365 subscriptions enjoy a free subscription to Azure AD, which means they can integrate the productivity suite with Azure AD if they want to sync passwords or set up single sign-on with their on-premises environment.
No other cloud solution has the capability to extend the reach of your domain controller and consolidate AD management like Azure. If you have multiple locations or use on-premises apps or cloud apps, Active Directory integration with Azure will be the central tool for managing and maintaining access to every one of these apps.
Azure also enables you to utilise multi-factor authentication; adding a new layer of security to your customer’s data and applications and removing inconvenience for the end user. With Azure, it’s a simple process to implement single sign-on for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS cloud apps too.
But Active Directory is just the start…
Azure offers a staggering range of cloud services – from analytics to storage, data services to web services and networking to computing. Users can pick and choose from these services to develop and scale new apps, or run existing apps in the cloud. Microsoft categorises these into 18 service areas and most of these have relevancy to your customers, but here’s five that work for SMB adoption.
Azure Compute services allow you to deploy and manage virtual machines (VMs), containers and batch processing, as well as support remote application access.
Azure Networking Services includes virtual networks, dedicated connections and gateways, not to mention services for traffic management and diagnostics, load balancing, domain name system (DNS) hosting, and network protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
Azure Security Services delivers capabilities to identify and respond to cloud security threats, as well as manage encryption keys and other sensitive assets.
Azure DevOps provides project and collaboration tools, such as Visual Studio Team Services, that facilitate DevOps software development processes. It also offers features for application diagnostics, DevOps tool integrations, and test labs for build tests and experimentation.
Azure Migration will help your SMB customers estimate workload migration costs and, even better, it will perform the actual migration of workloads from local data centres to the Azure cloud.
It’s easy and low risk for SMBs to test the Azure water
Azure is all the things you’d expect the cloud to be – flexible, safe and economical.
Flexibility is a given – you can move computing resources up and down as required and this flexibility also extends to development cycles – Azure facilitates much faster development cycles than solutions that are on-premises. This means that when you and your SMBs are developing apps, the process is flexible, more responsive and less complex.
Azure is reliable – with 54 regions and counting, Microsoft has more regions than any other provider with data housed in geo-synchronous data centres. Azure backup stores three copies of your data in three different locations in the data centre, and then another three copies in a remote Azure data centre, so your customers can sleep soundly when it comes to the safety of their data.
And finally, Azure delivers value for money with a pay as you use pricing model. Tools such as Azure Cost Management can help to monitor, forecast and optimize cloud spend. One of the advantages of Azure for SMBs is that you can test new solutions and their business impact at low risk. Once this is done, they can choose to tactically scale in areas that provide the best business outcomes.
When it comes to utilising Azure for SMBs, our Account Management team are on hand to help – just call 0333 332 0888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re looking for more information, take a peek at our Understanding Azure series, right here.