Tips to Get Started with Microsoft Azure

For many organisations, the journey to the cloud is one of the most important first steps towards digital transformation. Be it a public, private or hybrid cloud approach, cloud services will allow companies to have the flexibility and capabilities to improve their operations. Today, there is a myriad of cloud service providers available in the market, each varying in terms of offerings, strengths and weaknesses, as well as pricing.

If your organisation has picked Microsoft Azure as a cloud service provider, here are three key tips for your consideration when starting out.

First and foremost, you need to understand that migrating to the cloud is not always a walk in the park, especially if you’re new to the cloud. While Azure is packed with powerful tools and functionalities, it may take time for you to truly understand how you can harness the benefits for your organisation.

For most businesses starting out in cloud, it is best to start small to gain familiarity and expertise, therefore minimising risk. You need to understand that it’s a learning process. While you may encounter hiccups along the way during your migration journey, you will realise that this will eventually lead to more successes when you move to more important workloads and applications to the cloud.

You need to define your cloud goals. You also need to understand which workloads work best and how much are you going to invest in your cloud. Whether you’re looking for the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) approach, your cloud goals will determine how much you will need to invest for each type of cloud resource.

Secondly and quite importantly is what you put on the cloud. Which data should you move to the cloud and which data can you move to the cloud without having to worry about compliance and regulatory issues? This is where you need to be able to categorise the workloads and data based on their compliance and laws of the land. Remember, regulators in other sectors may vary, so make sure you understand the data security requirements needed for your workloads and cloud usage.

Azure offers more than 90 compliance certifications, including over 50 specifically to global regions and countries, such as the US, the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, India and China. You can also get more than 35 compliance offerings specific to the needs of key industries, including health, government, finance, education, manufacturing and media. Microsoft engages globally with governments, regulators, standards bodies and non-government organisations ensuring that compliance is always at the core.

Next is of course security. 2020 saw the largest migration of employees to remote working. As it is likely that most organisations will have their employees continue working remotely for some time, security has to be a priority. As your organisation embraces this new normal and takes on more cloud technologies, you need to adapt your security approach to take into account the expansion of your IT and networking perimeter.

You have to take the necessary measures to protect your data and workloads from threats that may come from both outside as well as within your organisation. The best place to start is to employ at least three levels of cloud security that involves authentication and role-based access controls to ensure only authorised people can access your data and applications and network-level threat detection to prevent exploits and breaches.

While you do your part to keep your data secure, keep in mind that for Azure, Microsoft is continually strengthening its security capabilities and enforces strict operational best practices, including disciplined patch and configuration management. When you choose a global cloud provider like Microsoft Azure, you can have the confidence that you will be equipped to mitigate advanced intrusion attempts and your data is stored in data centres armed with state-of-the-art security technologies.

Hopefully, with these tips, you will be able to have a better understanding of what lies ahead for you on Azure. To find out more tips on Azure and how you can start leveraging its services for your business transformation journey, click here.

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