4 Ways Microsoft Azure can help your small business grow

Cloud computing allows businesses to outsource their IT — and Azure is essentially Microsoft’s version of IT-as-a-Service. That is, Microsoft Azure offers the following:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – Azure allows businesses to rent server storage, networking, and data centers instead of them having to purchase and install the required hardware and software themselves on-premises (on-prem).
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – Azure has all the tools firms need to build and manage databases as well as their own applications.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – Azure has a wide range of ready-to-use apps for data analytics, identity management, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and many more.

Microsoft Azure serves large enterprises all over the world, but this doesn’t mean that your small business in Salt Lake City can’t use it to grow. On the contrary, in 2014, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared that 40% of Azure revenue came from startups and independent software vendors. Here’s how you can leverage it for your business’s benefit.

1. Use Azure to avoid high spikes of CAPEX and opt for much flatter, more manageable OPEX

Much of the benefit to be gained from Azure lies in its IaaS. By leveraging Azure, new businesses don’t have to invest much in their own infrastructure while starting out. On the other hand, long-established businesses can integrate their existing infrastructure with Azure resources, provided that any and all significant compatibility issues are resolved or overcome.

Using Azure’s IaaS has many immediate benefits, namely:

  • Data storage that’s easy to manage – Data storage requirements for your apps and systems may fluctuate over time, and Azure allows you to scale as needed.
  • Cutting-edge cybersecurity protections – Microsoft’s cloud computing operations thwart 1.5 million attempts at compromising systems every day — and the company compiles what it learns from these attacks into its intelligent security graph to better defend end users.
  • Up-to-date compliance for federal and state law – Whatever data regulations your company must follow, trust Microsoft to enable you to comply with all of these.
  • Guaranteed at least 99.9% uptime – Uptime guarantees for different Azure services vary — see Azure’s Service Level Agreements Summary for more details.
  • Repairs, maintenance, updates, and upgrades – Azure takes care of all of these for you so you won’t have to worry about them anymore.

Much of the benefit to be gained from Azure lies in its IaaS. By leveraging Azure, new businesses don’t have to invest much in their own infrastructure while starting out.

Migrating on-prem systems to Azure is also an option, though do keep in mind that Azure may actually cost more than keeping your current infrastructure the way it is. However, the flexibility (i.e., scalability) that Azure provides may justify the extra cost, especially when it comes time to consider sunsetting aging on-prem IT assets. To figure out what’s best for your business, talk with our Azure specialists for a cost-benefit analysis.

2. Build, test, deploy, and manage your own apps using Azure’s PaaS

Tech startups rely on the Azure platform to build the next industry-disrupting service like Uber and Netflix, though that does not mean that the PaaS is limited to IT-centric businesses. A law firm may need a content management system that uses the latest AI-based cybersecurity tools to protect sensitive client information. Meanwhile, a manufacturer may need an app for monitoring factory equipment in real time using Internet of Things sensors.

Whatever custom app you need for your business, you can build, test, deploy, and manage it on Azure for free for 12 months, then just pay for the resources you use moving forward. And whenever Microsoft deploys a new tool during your trial period, you get immediate access to that tool as well.

3. Pay only for what you use, and get more value to boot

Pick and choose the Azure SaaS apps that make sense for your business. Easily cancel subscriptions for the ones you no longer need and subscribe to new ones your business needs as soon as these become available.

Moreover, Microsoft receives help queries and requests for new functionalities all the time. Microsoft developers accommodate popular requests and provide software updates to improve their services — all while maintaining current subscriber fees. This means that you get more value for your money over time.

4. Easily integrate Azure-hosted apps and tools with Microsoft 365 apps

Last but definitely not least, you can use Microsoft 365 SaaS tools to power up the apps you host and the tools you use on Azure. For example, Azure Blob Storage is a tool for scalable storing of unstructured data, and it can be integrated with Power BI so that you can derive insights from that data.

Microsoft Azure may just be the best cloud platform for your business. To learn more about how you can leverage Azure, schedule a consultation with our IT specialists at NetWize or call us at 801-747-3200 today.

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