Microsoft Azure is a cloud-based storage solution designed for ease-of-access management for organisations that scale from small to large. There are several major players in cloud-storage solutions, Microsoft’s Azure is one of the largest. Like everything else, Azure has its pros and cons.
Pros of Microsoft Azure
Secure: Azure offers a security control system based on the DADSC approach – this is, Detect, Assess Diagnose, Stabilise, and Close. Azure offers strong protection against data loss and was recognised by Gartner as the industry leader regarding Cloud Infrastructure as a Service.
Scalable: One of the biggest benefits where Azure is concerned is that it offers scalability. There’s no need to purchase extra data packets on the days where you maximise data use. Azure allows you to purchase what is needed when, and then remove it once you have finished.
App-friendly: Azure works well with the rest of the Microsoft family. apps such as Office 365, SalesForce, Twitter and more operate well with Azure and allow administrative tasks to be integrated.
Cons to Microsoft Azure
Azure does however require expertise to ensure cooperation between parts.
Often businesses may over-provision cloud services which can be a costly mistake. Part of this expertise will also require knowledge regarding server monitoring and patching to ensure effective data management. Additionally, an automated security system that offers visibility – such as a Cloud Access Security Brokerage System – can offer further ease of management and analytics.
Security issues: While Azure is typically a secure platform, it does have a different threat landscape than AWS. Attackers are aware of the weaknesses within Microsoft’s design, and as a Microsoft product, this has left Azure vulnerable.
Region-Specific: Azure is a globalised platform, with data centres located across several regions. However, like AWS not all advertised services are available in every country. Azure only stores your data in the regions you allow it to, so it’s important that you due your due diligence when researching the laws applying to your data.
Intellectual Property Concerns: Azure allows customers to use Microsoft’s own patent portfolio – known as the Microsoft Azure IP Advantage Program – to dissuade NPE’s from litigation against cloud service users. This however creates a murky atmosphere regarding what protection Microsoft actually offers. Organisations should never assume that indemnity, or legal defence, is created by using this program.
Difficult Migration: Migration from competitors to Azure can be complex. Azure itself provides tools within Azure Migrate to help with migration. This makes migration to Azure easier than it would be moving from Azure to another competitor. BYOK or HYOK can aid in the transition away from Azure in future should you need it.
Overuse: Like with AWS there is always a risk of overuse with ease of access. A common problem with these services is that resources can be consumed very easily meaning that individuals might spin up services and not remove them when the services are no longer needed. Virtual infrastructure can cause an explosion in use through inefficient use and reuse of those services due to the ease of consumption. This can be mitigated in an organisation through good change control. If you are concerned about overruse try employing a CASB.
Data Loss and Compensation: Azure is a single solution – this means that your data will be hosted in one space and if you cannot access it for some reason this can leave you at a disadvantage – especially if Azure loses it. This can, and has happened with service providers. In 2018 Microsoft experienced a DNS outage that caused global problems with applications. Microsoft Azure does offer the Azure Backup, and the Azure site Recovery services which attempt to form a comphrensive business continuity and disaster recovery service. These services come at an additional cost per user requirements.
Bill shock: This is perhaps the biggest concern organisations have had since cloud migration began. Bill shock occurs with service providers when organisations use more resources than they anticipate. Both AWS and Azure have caught clients out with bill shock in the past. Like AWS, Azure does have tools you can use to manage your bill and reduce bill shock. These tools include:
- Azure advisor, a cloud-based consultancy application that gives advice personalised to your usage. Azure Advisor gives insight into performance, security, and cost effectiveness.
- Role-Based Access Control – Role based access control ensures you and your staff use only the recommended resources in development.
- Your Indirect CSP Provider – Your Indirect CSP provider can help you when it comes to cost management tools, and employing Azure governance tools.
Digital Identity and Security
Cogito Group is an award-winning cybersecurity company specialising in authentication, cloud security, identity management and data protection. Cogito Group protect the authentication methods used to access information through the use of Identity and other security technologies.