With the Microsoft Azure cloud platform being adopted by a broad range of enterprises, you may think it’s the right time you introduce Azure into your business. Azure includes a range of products and services that will be beneficial to most organisations.
The question is, what is the best way to move to the Microsoft Azure cloud? Can your in-house IT solutions team make the transition successfully, or is it better to outsource to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that specialises in both Azure consulting and managed IT services?
As a managed IT service provider in Melbourne with highly experienced Microsoft Azure cloud services consultants, we at Technetics Consulting naturally suggest that you consider working with an external MSP to manage your Azure services. We’ll explain why in this blog post.
But first, let’s look at why Microsoft Azure is gaining so much ground as a cloud platform provider, and what it can do for your business.
WHAT EXACTLY IS MICROSOFT AZURE?
Microsoft Azure, also known simply as Azure, is a cloud platform offering that includes over 200 products and services—managed via Microsoft-managed data centres.
Azure provides SaaS (Software as a Service, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service). Not every enterprise that chooses Azure will need all those services.
Firstly, Azure allows a lot of flexibility for enterprises who want to transition to the cloud, as it supports numerous frameworks, tools, and programming languages. (Wherever you start out, there’s usually a way you can migrate your business’s IT services to the Azure cloud platform.)
Secondly, Microsoft products have been trusted for decades, and have proven particularly suitable for mid-to-large-sized enterprises. Whilst competitors like Apple and Google now provide high quality cloud services that may suit small ventures, businesses accustomed to Microsoft products generally don’t want to move away, due to both familiarity, and the complexities that arise with such a departure.
In addition, Microsoft has broadened its range of cloud services—now offering similar services to those of their competitors, and of equal or superior quality. Hence, it’s easier for businesses to access all the cloud services they need in the same place.
Whilst it’s possible to mix services (and we at Technetics can assist you with this), it does come with added complexity, and potentially, greater cost.
For more information on why businesses are sticking with Microsoft, this Forbes article provides further insight: Why Most Businesses Will Keep Buying Microsoft.
DO YOU NEED A MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDER (MSP) TO MANAGE AZURE IN YOUR BUSINESS?
Whilst you can manage Azure in-house, it may be preferable for your business to engage an MSP specialised in Azure consulting and management. Why? We’ve outlined nine key benefits here.
THE BENEFITS OF USING AN MSP TO MANAGE YOUR AZURE
#1 MSPS HAVE IN-DEPTH UNDERSTANDING OF MICROSOFT AZURE’S SUITE OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Choosing the right Azure services will save you time and money. An Azure-experienced MSP has in-depth knowledge of Azure products and services, and keeps abreast of new and updated services in the Azure suite.
Through careful analysis of your business needs, an MSP can identify what services you absolutely need, what are nice-to-haves, and what you can do without.
Making these sorts of decisions in-house can be challenging, as it can be hard to get a clear picture of how each service will help support and progress your business. It can also be overwhelming to choose between services, as there are so many, and you don’t want to pay for services you don’t need.
#2 MSPS ARE MIGRATION EXPERTS
Migrating to Azure can be complex, and while it’s possible your in-house IT solutions team can achieve this, it makes it so much easier when you use an MSP with Azure expertise to guide you through the process.
A Microsoft Azure certified MSP can help take the stress out of the migration process by taking the following actions. They will:
Rapidly assess your business’ needs
Conduct a thorough technical assessment of current and to-be states
Create a roadmap for your Azure migration that prioritises cost-effectiveness
Work closely with your teams to minimise the risk of complications during data transfer and migration
Re-platform your applications to run in the cloud.
#3 AN MSP CAN MAXIMISE THE BENEFITS OF AZURE
An MSP that has worked with a variety of businesses, including those similar to yours, will understand how to maximise your investment in the Azure cloud platform and ensure you’re getting the most out of the cloud operations Azure supports.
If you’re undertaking a total digital transformation, you need a complete strategy developed to achieve this. An MSP consultant can conduct a cloud-readiness assessment to understand your business’s technology environment, and they will have the experience in developing the strategy required to introduce Azure successfully.
If you’re choosing a hybrid model, an MSP can ensure Azure’s hybrid cloud capabilities are integrated into your existing operating structure smoothly.
In terms of ongoing management, an experienced MSP can reduce the workload for your staff, by taking care of routine administrative tasks related to Azure management.
#4 AN MSP CAN MONITOR YOUR AZURE USAGE
Once migrated, it helps to have an MSP monitor your business’s use of Azure, to look for ways to optimise your Azure subscription.
A managed IT services provider can:
Monitor your setup to keep track of exactly what’s happening in each of your Azure environments
View resource usage for each Azure environment
Employ real-time monitoring to identify technical issues, and respond rapidly
Log critical performance metrics to capture information on system performance and how your setup copes under load
Keep watch for potential conflicts between multiple platforms (if you have multiple platforms in your setup). The more systems linked together and applications layered on top of one another, the higher the possibility of problems arising, such as systems slowing down.
Use data to create an optimisation plan for improving performance and managing available resources more efficiently.
#5 AN MSP CAN OVERSEE SECURITY
The security of your business and customer data is hugely important. While Microsoft Azure is secure by design, there’s no such thing as being immune to cybersecurity threats. Therefore it’s helpful to employ an MSP with in-depth knowledge of both Azure and current security threats, in order to deploy the right security solutions and protect your business’ reputation.
An MSP can offer a team of experienced security experts to:
Monitor your Azure setup, network and overall IT infrastructure for technical issues and vulnerabilities
Monitor for potential cybersecurity threats
Ensure infrastructure changes you make during a system overhaul that cause your our Azure setup to be vulnerable, are accounted for
Monitor your service to alert you to suspicious user or account activity that can be investigated.
#6 AN MSP CAN ENSURE YOUR DATA IS BACKED UP
An MSP can provide data back-up services, so you’re covered if anything untoward happens with your data in the cloud. Such routine backups are vital in the event that your business experiences hardware or software failure, security breaches from hackers, or an entirely unexpected and accidental data loss.
Losses of data can be catastrophic for your business, and can be avoided with the help of experienced data managers via an MSP. (Technetics regularly protect and backup your Microsoft Azure data as part of our managed cloud computing services.)
#7 AN MSP CAN PROVIDE REGULAR REPORTING
Understanding the impact of Azure’s services in your business is crucial. That’s why you need regular reporting on how things are going with your Azure account, on incidents and key events that occur, and on what changes are needed to optimise your use of Azure. An MSP can handle all of this, so that your staff don’t need to worry about this time-consuming work.
An MSP will collect all the data required to report back to your organisation on the health of your Azure account. They’ll also be able to recommend cost-saving measures where these are applicable and beneficial. This is incredibly useful information when you need to provide updates to your leadership teams.
#8 AN MSP CAN PROVIDE TIMELY SUPPORT
With an MSP managing your Azure account, you can expect to receive immediate support when issues arise, so that unexpected errors or system downtime doesn’t impact your business operations for any length of time.
MSPs will usually offer 24/7 support should problems arise, whereas an in-house IT team may only be available during business hours.
#9 AN MSP CAN SAVE YOU MONEY
Training up staff within your organisation to be Azure experts can be time-consuming and costly. It’s often more economical to draw from an existing pool of certified Microsoft Azure experts that an MSP can provide.
During Azure deployment, it also helps that your IT team is able to focus on other IT initiatives within your business, rather than the day-to-day management of Azure-related issues.
Working with a managed service provider with specialists certified in Microsoft Azure can alleviate many of the challenges your business faces when moving to cloud services.
MSPs understand Azure intimately and can easily identify what products and services are best suited to your organisation, saving you from spending where you don’t need to. They can also help ensure your business is kept safe from cybersecurity threats during a transition to the cloud, and help manage your data beyond.
Technetics offer Managed IT services in Melbourne and beyond.
Our Microsoft Azure certified cloud specialists can assist you in the areas of Azure consulting, management and more. We can help ensure you can prepare your business for growth with a cost-effective IT infrastructure with unparalleled reliability and scalability.
Contact us now for a consultation.