So You Want to Use Azure…Where to Start?
Microsoft Azure has plenty of benefits. But you already know that. It’s why Azure is on you and your management chain’s radar in the first place. The thing is, once you’ve made the decision to go with Azure, there are so many options on how to leverage it, it can be hard to know where to start.
IT teams that have money to burn on extra or “nice to have” deployments are rare these days. If you want to dip your toe into Azure, Microsoft has excellent entry points leveraging your on-premises infrastructure and a hybrid Cloud.
But there are even easier ways to start seeing what Azure can do.
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Here are four ways to leverage Azure without deploying a massive tenant or committing a ton of energy. The benefits are immediate and can be a good starting point in making the argument to go further down this path.
- Azure Active Directory– This solution combines must-have directory features with advanced identity control and application access management capabilities. It gives you redundancy of having an Active Directory environment in the cloud, ensuring a high-level of data accessibility. The Azure Active Directory web portal allows users to sign in once to access all of a company’s SaaS apps instead of having to remember multiple passwords and log-ins. If they happen to forget their Active Directory login, users can perform self-service password resets. End users can get text a message-like prompt and reset their password themselves, keeping IT out of the equation!
- Microsoft Intune– This tool, while not an Azure service, is backed by Azure Active Directory and handles mobile device and application management. It enables employees to use their own, personal devices on the corporate network while allowing IT groups to manage the connection to corporate resources. In essence, IT controls everything on a device that pertains to the company while maintaining a hands-off approach to an employee’s personal stuff. This ability comes in handy should your company decide to abruptly part ways with an employee who may have company data on his or her personal device. Rather than dealing with the headaches of working with the ex-employee to keep anything from falling into the wrong hands, IT can send a wipe command through Intune and delete all of the corporate data off the device, leaving the personal stuff intact. You can also prevent your data from being copied from IT supported apps into personal apps, giving you powerful data leakage prevention capabilities.
- Azure Rights Management– Employees want to be able to work from practically anywhere with your company’s data on any number of devices. IT has to juggle allowing them to do that with maintaining security and retaining a high level of rights control. Azure Rights Management extends that protection beyond your company’s four walls. This tool uses encryption, identity, and authorization policies to protect files wherever they live – on premises, in the cloud via Office 365 and even at other companies. For example, say employees need to occasionally mail sensitive info to someone outside of your company, but you still want to have some level of control over that data. Azure Rights Management can limit what recipients can do with those emails, e.g., print, forward, etc. IT can put policies around data sets, but also allow end users to manage and protect data themselves.
- Old Fashioned Capacity – Sometimes a need arises and you just require some spare hardware or capability that you can’t do on-premises. For example, some companies are limited to one physical location. What if you needed a redundant service, like ADFS, for Office 365? Azure can be a great way to quickly spin up some servers to suit your needs. It can also help you add development machines as well, keeping them out of your on-premises environment while giving your developers access to an instant platform.
Having a partner like Arraya in your corner can ensure you realize the true value of Azure. Our Microsoft experts can take you from planning to implementation to migration with ease. If you’re already up and running with Azure, they can guide you to – and help you implement and support – the tools and best practices needed to achieve the goals you have now and the ones you’ll discover later on.
For more information on our Azure strategy, our Microsoft capabilities or to schedule an appointment with one of our Account Executives, go to www.ArrayaSolutions.com. Or sign up today for the 2015 Arraya Tech Summit. This event will feature presentations by techies, for techies on all the latest industry topics, including Azure and Office 365.
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