More and more businesses today are now migrating their information from physical servers to the all-knowing “cloud.” And Microsoft is at the forefront of this digital transformation with their leading solution, Microsoft Azure, for businesses who want to either go partially or totally cloud-based.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service that is quite similar in functionality to Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services. Leveraging their vast global data center network, Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform that can be used to build, deploy and manage services and applications – from anywhere.

The convenience (and cost savings) of using Microsoft Azure

Instead of pouring your money into the creation of your own data center, buying and maintaining hardware, and then hiring staff to manage it, cloud computing solutions are not only easier to maintain, but more cost-effective. The upfront costs are much smaller when compared to paying for physical server usage and upkeep.

When you implement Microsoft Azure, you only pay for the computing resources you actually use. If you need additional resources, the platform scales instantly to meet your needs and meet demand. And, of course, if you need less, you can immediately scale back. Seems simple, right? It’s just that easy.

Azure can be utilized at any scale, from a small startup organization to a Fortune 500 company. Because of the easy it is to transition and customize for your needs, organizations with a current Windows Server deployment may find Azure to be a better option.

What does Microsoft Azure do?

As the demand for Microsoft Azure grows, so does their directory of services. They include every aspect organizations could possibly need to build a virtual network and supply service to a worldwide audience. Here’s a directory of hundreds of different services you can use, including full virtual machines, databases, file storage, backups, and services for mobile and web apps.

But, in a nutshell, here’s what you can expect to get when using the foundational services of Microsoft Azure:

1) Backup and Disaster Recovery:

Microsoft Azure has your back when it comes to disaster recovery. No matter the reason for a sudden outage or system downtime, you can rely on the flexibility of cloud-based backup for your IT systems. Who wants to pay for the cost of securing secondary data centers? Azure’s cloud option ensures constant continuity, compliance, and reliable protection. Few backup options could accomplish the flexibility that Microsoft Azure boasts. Plus, Azure site recovery can facilitate tape backup due to offsite replication, low onsite maintenance, minimal or zero capital investment, and few operational costs.

2) Azure Active Directory Domain Services:

You won’t have to worry about hosting your own Active Directory server anymore (or deal with setting up complex infrastructures or complicated access permissions). Now you can use Azure Active Directory for central administration and PC management. Your DNS can have a global reach, central management, and extremely high standards for security.

3) Web & Mobile Applications:

Make your app dreams come true. Whether you want to host, design or manage a mobile or web application, Azure gives you the ability to leverage patch management and integration for any on-premise app. With built-in patch management for virtual machines, you won’t waste your time doing constant fixes. And Azure lets you easily connect your web apps to on-premise apps.

4) Azure IoT Suite:

Azure IoT is a collection of Microsoft-managed cloud services that connect and monitor billions of IoT assets. Examples of IoT devices include pressure sensors on a remote oil pump, temperature and humidity sensors in an air-conditioning unit, or even presence sensors in a room. The list goes on. Learn more about how it works, but essentially you’re able to connect your assets with IoT to leverage real-time insight, make smarter decisions, optimize efficiency, and create incredible customer experiences.

End of Windows Server 2008: Time to upgrade to Azure

The countdown has begun – mainstream support for Windows Server 2008 has ended. And as of January 14, 2020, Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will no longer have support. This is the perfect time to plan for your migration to cloud-based Azure services.

The costs of on-premise deployment are unreasonable when flexible, scalable and accessible cloud-hosted services via Azure are an option. Plus, since the billing structure for Azure is solely based on what you use, you will be able to grow as your budget (and savings) grow.