In the last decade, cloud services have gone from a new novelty to an absolute must. If there is one business lesson that the pandemic taught everyone, its just how vital it is to be able to run your business processes from any location.
Many companies have adopted several different cloud services to facilitate everything from video conferencing to messaging. In fact, now companies use so many different cloud apps that many are suffering from inefficiencies because they’re not well integrated.
The average business of 50 or less employees uses 40 different applications.
Some of the problems of not having a well-integrated cloud infrastructure include:
- Differing security policies across different services
- Inability to improve productivity with cloud automation
- Spending too much on monthly cloud subscription costs
- Employees doing the same activity in two different applications
- Workflows designed around apps instead of the other way around
Inefficient use of the cloud directly impacts how much work your team can get done every day, how responsive you are to customers, and your IT security risk.
One of the ways to reduce waste and streamline is by using Microsoft Azure cloud computing to make your cloud use integrated and more efficient.
How Does Azure Differ from a SaaS Application?
The individual cloud apps you use (such as QuickBooks online) are considered Software as a Service (SaaS). You pay a per user subscription fee to access the application and your data is stored in the vendor’s system.
The way that companies get into trouble with efficiency while using SaaS apps is that they start bringing them one-by-one into their work processes without a plan. So, they end up with multiple apps that don’t necessarily work together, which leads to a disjointed cloud infrastructure.
Microsoft Azure is known as Platform as a Service (PaaS), which is one central cloud environment that can house multiple SaaS apps. Using a PaaS, puts all your applications in a single place and can give users a much more cohesive experience.
Where a SaaS app would be an mp3 of your favorite song, PaaS would be like iTunes, a place that makes it possible access all the songs you like and hear them all in the same user interface.
Benefits of Using Azure
When you’re using multiple software applications from different vendors, you’re usually stuck with the feature limitations they have. What using Azure does is put the power of your cloud environment in your hands.
Azure allows you to host, create, test, and deploy cloud applications. This includes fully cloud and cloud hybrid (that can also be used offline).
You also get important cybersecurity benefits that help you control things like user access security and compliance policies throughout all the business process apps you use.
Here are several benefits of streamlining your cloud solutions using Microsoft Azure.
No Hardware Worries or Costs
Azure Cloud Services free you from worrying about patching or maintaining on-premises servers and the security headaches that go along with them.
The redundancies included in the Azure infrastructure keep your applications up and running efficiently without worry about downtime. Operating system updates are also handled for you automatically.
Health Monitoring and Alerts
You’ll know immediately if anything is amiss with your applications. The platform allows you to set up real-time alerts when a system metric is degrading.
No more waiting for a provider that you have no control over to fix an outage.
There is also a health dashboard that allows you to access key cloud app statistics that you can use to inform infrastructure decisions.
Customized Applications with Just What You Need
Azure is a powerful platform that allows you to create and deploy custom cloud applications for your business. This means that instead of having to just live with what an “out of the box” SaaS app comes with, you can have applications designed that do exactly what you need them to for better productivity.
When a top down security structure isn’t used, the data in your cloud applications can be at risk. 75% ofsurveyed professionals said their organization has experienced data loss from a cloud service more than once.
Housing all your cloud applications in an Azure environment allows you to deploy standardized security across the entire cloud infrastructure. This includes things like
- Login/credential security
- Monitoring of device access to cloud services
- Single sign-on (SSO) with two-factor authentication
- Compliance with data security rules (like HIPAA or PCI)
More Productive User Experience
Security features like SSO also improve your user experience. It can grant access to all apps housed in Azure with one secure sign-in, reducing the time it takes to sign into multiple apps throughout the day.
You also have the ability to create shared databases of client or employee accounts that all your business apps can access. This eliminates manual re-keying of data and errors, and ensures all departments have access to the information they need.
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