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Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform collection of over 200 products and services designed to help organisations manage their data and increase its security.

What is Microsoft Azure? 

Microsoft Azure is a collection of over 200 cloud-based products and services designed to help organisations manage their data and increase security. Services include virtual machines and server virtualisation, virtual desktop hosting, SQL, AI, and app hosting.  

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What is the cloud?  

‘The cloud’, or ‘cloud computing’, are terms used to describe IT software and services that run on offsite servers accessed via the Internet, instead of locally on your computer or at a central HQ. All of Azure’s cloud services can be accessed through a web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome, or a mobile app

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Are cloud solutions for me? 

Some of the issues cloud technology can help solve include: 

  • High costs – IT hardware is a vital component of every commercial operation, but it often comes with a hefty price tag. With cloud technology you pay for what you use, and there’s no need for upfront capital investment.
  • Time spent on IT – many organisations struggle to innovate or update their infrastructure because their IT staff are required to spend their time on hardware installation, maintenance, or fixing issues reactively. If you choose to use a cloud provider, that responsibility would lie with them, leaving your IT team to focus on core activity and business development.
  • Accessibility issues – not all businesses are set up for remote or flexible working, which can hinder project progression and team collaboration. cloud technologies are accessed via the internet, meaning employees can work together no matter their locations or the devices they use.
  • Ageing hardware – old devices can stifle communication and slow a business down. By working with a cloud provider you’ll receive automatic updates, keeping your hardware up-to-date and secure.
  • Poor security – with the increased threat posed by cybercriminals, prioritising IT security is crucial particularly for organisations with no IT staff to take care of their security needs. Cloud solutions address this with data not being stored locally and security measures like encryption, firewalls, and access control. It's  also essential for businesses to stay informed about evolving regulations, such as the forthcoming NIS 2 Directive which aims to enhance cybersecurity across the EU. This directive emphasises the need for organisations to adopt effective measures in managing risks, aligning with an all-hazards approach and preparing for upcoming compliance requirements.
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Benefits of Microsoft Azure 

By using Microsoft Azure, businesses don't have to worry about managing physical servers or running out of storage capacity – the platform is highly versatile and infinitely scalable.  

The main benefits of Azure include: 

  • Compatibility & scalability
  • Security
  • Compliance & reporting
  • Cost & budgeting
  • Flexibility & productivity
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Compatibility & scalability 

Microsoft Azure is the latest in cloud computing technology. A key benefit of this is that you can access it from any modern Internet-connected user device, from computers running Windows, Mac or Linux to mobile devices running iOS or Android.

Azure uses a simple licensing structure, ensuring that whether your business experiences growth or decline, you’ll be able to add or remove users and functionality as required.

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The Azure platform is built to maintain privacy and data security. Files are protected by an advanced encryption protocol, and its authentication methods feature a multi-layered approach to security by utilising multi-factor authentication and biometric scanning.  

Should the worst happen, Azure disaster recovery backs up your files, helping with data integrity and maintaining the availability of sensitive information.  

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Compliance & reporting 

Microsoft Azure offers strong and adaptive compliance controls as standard. Its compliance features, guidance resources and configuration management tools are built in, helping you keep ahead of local and international laws and regulations such as ISO 27001 and GDPR.   

What’s more, the platform provides compliance services specific to individual industries, such as local government and the public sector, health care, finance, manufacturing, and education.  

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Cost & budgeting 

Microsoft Azure uses cloud technology to provide your business-critical data, apps, and processing power, eliminating the need to invest in expensive onsite alternatives, or incur ongoing maintenance and energy costs. It’s simple consumption-based licensing and pricing structure makes it suitable for large and small organisations alike. 

Businesses looking to keep certain processes or data on private servers can also use Azure’s advanced networking features to build a hybrid environment of cloud and onsite platforms.  

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Flexibility & productivity 

Azure virtual desktop provides the ultimate in remote working solutions. It can be accessed from anywhere, on any internet enabled device, and at any time. This gives your people the flexibility to work from home, at the office, a café, hotel, or on the go, helping with collaboration, efficiency and productivity.  

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Why partner with Sharp? 

At Sharp, we understand that a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective, that’s why we’ll work with you to understand your business and your goals. As part of the Microsoft Partner Network holding partner accreditations, we have access to the best pricing on some of the most popular pieces of hardware and IT software packages available.

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