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IT Insight: Come together with cloud computing by Microsoft Azure

The biggest challenge we face, is the lack of our ability to come together. Because of this, the technology industry has seen a major shift toward cloud computing. Defined as a web-based computing model, cloud computing allows users to share information with other devices and computers instantly. This can allow multiple people to access the same files and data with minimal effort and can also give users the option to easily store large amounts of data.

The way the cloud works is quite simple and very cost-effective. Rather than investing in expensive hardware or renting that hardware from an enterprise data center, you pay to access the huge pool of cloud resources available from, in this case, Microsoft. These resources allow your business to host email and web servers, store files and data, create virtual machines and applications, and much more.

As your business grows and you require more resources, you simply purchase more from the cloud. No need to upgrade or maintain existing hardware or increase floor space and electricity costs. Everything in the cloud is done remotely, from basic email hosting to running applications and complex data analysis, which means the demands on your local computers and network are significantly reduced. All you need to be able to do on-premise is run your cloud platform from a reliable internet connection – the platform itself will handle everything else, leaving you free to focus on critical business activities.

These days, many businesses take advantage of the convenience offered through cloud platforms. The second-largest cloud service provider is Microsoft Azure. As a computing platform, it also functions as an online portal that can be used to manage and access various services and resources that Microsoft offers. With over 200 products and cloud services, MS Azure can help your business to build, run and manage applications across multiple locations and on-premises through the cloud, customized to your business needs. This huge range of cloud services for every type of business to streamline and scale their operations, without the need for physical infrastructure, maintenance or upfront costs. Instead, you have full control of the price and pay only for what you use. Microsoft Azure puts your cloud services in your hands and gives you the tools you need to manage, grow and improve your business from anywhere.

Retire your local servers when you move all your server functions to the cloud with less physical infrastructure to manage.

Pay only for what you use so your company can scale and grow without any large capital investments. You have total control over your costs each month with predictable monthly fees and can easily adjust your usage and capacity on demand to suit your budget. Azure can spin-up or spin-down services as needed, so you are not paying for resources when not in use, like your line of business applications and file access (weekends/evenings, etc.). The key is the set-up from your IT Provider. With Azure, you can save up to 25% when you prepay.

With all your key business applications and data in the cloud, you minimize your risk of downtime and you are spontaneously protected when disaster strikes. Downtime is limited to a matter of hours, not days, and your staff and remote users have permanent access no matter what.

Build, monitor and maintain your Azure cloud solution to ensure optimal performance continuously with ongoing monitoring and support from your Microsoft Azure Specialist. You can rest easy knowing your IT infrastructure is in expert hands while you focus on what is important for your business.

Cost, security, speed, scalability and productivity are the main benefits of using cloud computing through Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure offers a range of flexible pricing options to suit businesses and cloud environments of every size. There are no upfront costs – in fact, you can get started with Microsoft Azure for free for 30 days in certain circumstances, then pay only for what you consume.

Products and services are priced individually, making it easy for your IT team or Provider to pick and choose the resources you need and scale up as your business grows. You will want to carefully analyze and select the right plans for performance (CPU), redundancy, memory, hard drive type (solid state for performance-disk access), and storage capacity.

Together with a team of more than 3,500 Microsoft Azure cybersecurity experts working to protect your business assets and data, you can also continually monitor your security and get deeper insights from Microsoft Azure’s built-in Security Center. Here you can get a consolidated view of your cloud health, apply policies to comply with security standards and best practices, fix common misconfigurations, and analyze security data to ensure you are ahead of any threats.

Microsoft Azure also gives you the ability to secure your resources with identity management and security features such as multi-factor authentication, identity protection, access review, conditional access, and a key vault to encrypt and store passwords, keys and other confidential information.

Build, monitor and maintain your Azure cloud solution to ensure optimal performance continuously with ongoing monitoring and support from your Microsoft Azure Specialist. You can rest easy knowing your IT infrastructure is in expert hands while you focus on what is important for your business.

Come together with Microsoft Azure.

JoAnn Hodgdon is vice president and co-founder of Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGiT) with her husband David. PCG provides comprehensive managed IT services, business continuity, security, cloud computing and Virtual CIO services to their clients.  You may reach her at joann@pcgit.com or through www.pcgit.com.