Embracing the Cloud: Exploring Microsoft Azure for Small Businesses

Microsoft Azure has helped small businesses around the world to embrace cloud computing and leverage it to save money, and work more productively.

Thanks to public cloud computing, it is much easier for small businesses to access cutting edge solutions and technology deployments. Before the cloud, all businesses used on-premises datacentres and severs –assets that smaller organisations would have a harder time affording. Now, however, with the availability of compute resources from the cloud, small businesses can thrive by embracing the cloud. We discussed this with TechQuarters, a provider of small business IT support London-based SMBs have been turning to for over 10 years. According to them, Microsoft Azure – one of the leading public cloud platforms –is a great way for businesses to tap into the cloud.

Microsoft Azure as a Cloud Computing Platform

As a cloud platform, Microsoft Azure offers over 200 different products and services, all of which are aimed at making it easier for businesses to deploy cutting edge solutions, and to design their IT infrastructure in the best way possible. It is typically used by small businesses for functions like database management, web hosting, application hosting, application development and testing, etc.

Because it is a cloud platform, Azure offers some high quality benefits for small businesses. For instance, it does not require small businesses to build their own infrastructure, nor does it require them to purchase resources before scaling. Azure is typically divided into three key deployments: Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Software-as-a-Service.

According to TechQuarters, whose work providing business IT support London-based small businesses rely on has frequently involved onboarding clients to Microsoft Azure, the ease of use that clients get with Azure puts it above many of its cloud competitors.

Services and Capabilities of Microsoft Azure

As mentioned above, Azure has a wide array of services and capabilities. These capabilities are generally divided into 3 categories: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Some of the different service offerings, based on these categories, are as follows:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Azure has a range of virtualised compute resource offerings that help small businesses built their own cloud IT infrastructure. These include resources like Virtual Machines (VMs), Virtual Networks; as well as tools such as Azure Load Balancer.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)– If small businesses want to develop, deploy, and manage their custom applications in Azure, they can use offerings such as Azure App Services, Azure Logic Apps (for low-code development), and Azure DevOps.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)– Azure is also the host of many fully developed products, such as Dynamics 365, or Azure IoT Central.

Microsoft Azure Empowers Small Businesses

According to TechQuarters, Azure has been a powerful aid to many small businesses looking to transform themselves into modernized organisations. Some of the top benefits of Azure for small businesses include:

1. Scalability and Flexibility

With cloud-based IT infrastructure, workloads can be scaled both vertically and horizontally, which offers super flexibility. For instance, TechQuartershas provided IT support for Estate Agents in London, helping them leverage the cloud for a more scalable infrastructure. The benefit for them was that, during periods where demand for their services were lower, they can scale their resources down/in to manage costs.

2. Cost Efficiency

As mentioned above, the inherent scalability of the cloud can be leveraged to help businesses save money on IT costs. But there is more cost-saving potential in the cloud, still. For one thing, it negates the need for businesses to replace hardware every few years – this is typically a very costly process.

3. Simplify Security and Compliance Measures

With the cloud, security and compliance can be made much easier. For example, the cloud is much more resilient against certain attacks, like distributed denial-of service (DDoS) attacks. Furthermore, the cloud is much more redundant in terms of data storage, meaning businesses are also insulated against many types of data loss (or theft).

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