By David McKenney, Director, Product Management
A client recently told me that he thinks of TierPoint’s Microsoft Azure managed services as his company’s airline for navigating through the cloud. We get them where they need to go safely and securely, when they need to get there, without having to buy, maintain and fly their own fleet of jetliners.
His metaphor illustrates how the top three concerns clients have when making the move to Microsoft Azure tend to be the same as when we fly: security, expertise and flexibility.
Before we take off, we want to know the pilot and crew have followed all the security and safety protocols, and possess the expertise to navigate through unexpected weather and air traffic to get us to our destination safely. We also need the flexibility to send our sales VP from Miami to Albuquerque while our trade show team flies to New York on the same day. And we definitely don’t want to pay for any planes sitting in the hangar when they’re not needed.
Addressing security concerns before takeoff
In a recent study of CIOs, CTOs and other IT professionals, 66% said security concerns kept them from moving applications to the cloud. Of these, 50% said they were very concerned about the security of customer data in the cloud.
Yet for most organizations, a public cloud is going to be more secure than their privately owned data center because reputable cloud providers have greater resources to make security a priority. They dedicate top-notch security teams to ensure their facilities are protected 24×7 and address evolving threats promptly with the latest security patches.
Managed service providers can provide an extra layer of security by helping plan your overall security strategy to ensure your mission-critical data and applications are adequately protected from end to end. An expert partner can help determine if additional security tools and protocols are needed to meet your requirements, including compliance with industry standards and government regulations. For example, Microsoft offers Azure Active Directory, which includes a full suite of identity management capabilities such as multi-factor authentication, device registration, self-service password and group management, role-based access control and more.
Applying best practices for a smooth ride
From best practice architecture planning, implementation and migration to ongoing management and optimization, a partner can help guide customers and simplify complex processes to ensure a successful move to the cloud. The first step is defining the right cloud infrastructure for your needs and determining which workloads could best take advantage of Azure services. Importantly, a partner can bring experienced resources to migrate workloads or selected assets to the cloud, helping you make a seamless transition to Azure or a hybrid solution tailored to your business.
[Related post: Architecting Your Network for Microsoft Azure]
In addition to performance monitoring and ongoing management, some customers find the most value in a partner’s expertise in tracking utilization to avoid surpassing spend thresholds, keeping costs under control.
Flexibility to go wherever your business takes you
To compete and succeed in today’s world, businesses need to seize opportunities quickly. They can’t afford to let IT constraints hold them back. Whether you need to manage expansion through acquisitions, new products, or territories, Microsoft Azure provides flexible capacity to serve new customers and team members across the country or around the world. The pay-as-you-go model lets you spin up resources on demand, but stop using them just as quickly so you don’t need to keep paying for infrastructure you don’t need.
It’s also important to work with a partner that helps you choose the best options for your business, since public clouds aren’t all-or-nothing. Some applications are better suited for public clouds, while others may be better off residing in a private cloud. We find most organizations meet their needs most effectively with a hybrid approach that deploys a combination of public cloud, multi-tenant, private cloud, colocation, etc.
With the basics of cloud navigation managed, your IT managers will have more time to focus on the kind of innovation initiatives that deliver strategic value to the business by taking advantage of the cloud environment.
David currently serves as TierPoint’s Azure product evangelist and subject matter expert in customer, partner, and industry influencer interactions. He oversees the strategy, product rollout and technical direction of TierPiont’s Azure line. Dave is a 15-year veteran of the industry and enjoys wearing the hat of ‘problem solver’ and jack-of-all-technical-trades.