Microsoft Azure is a cloud-based business solution designed for ease-of-access managment within organisations that scale from small to large.

Cloud-based business solutions have become popular for offering less expense, less downtime, and often more security, with a minute hardware footprint for organisations to worry about. There are several major players in cloud-storage solutions, Microsoft’s Azure is one of the largest. There are several pros and cons to Microsoft Azure:

 

Pro’s

Security – 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.

Azure is Cost-Effective – The global nature of the product means that it is ideal for organisations that might not have a large IT budget available to them. However, like AWS bill shock can be an issue for organisations if they don’t employ  the right monitoring tools. We’ll discuss more on this later.

App-Friendly – Azure works well with the rest of the Microsoft family. Apps such as Office 365, SalesForce, Twitter and more operate with Azure and allow administrative tasks to be integrated.

Cons

Azure however does require expertise to ensure cooperation between parts. Often an organisation may over-provision their cloud services, this can be a costly mistake. Part of cloud expertise will requires knowledge regarding server monitoring and patching to ensure effective data management.

Security Issues – While Azure is typically a secure platform, it does have a different threat landscape than AWS and as a result has had more issues. Attackers are aware of  weaknesses native to Microsoft’s design, and as a Microsoft product, this can leave Azure vulnerable.

Region-Specific – Azure is a global platform with data centres located across several regions. However, much like AWS not all advertised services are available in every country. Azure only stores your data in the regions you allow, so it’s important that you do your due diligence when it comes to researching 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 offers. Organisations should never assume 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 an 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.

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 a number of service providers.

in 2018 Microsoft experienced a DNS outage that caused global problems with applications. Microsoft does offer the Azure backup, and the Azure site recovery services which attempt to form a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery service which attempt to form a comprehenisve business continuity and disaster recovery service. These services come at an additional cost per user requirements.

Bill Shock – 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 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 developement.
  • Your Indirect CSP Provider – Your indirect CSP provider can help you when it comes to cost management tools, and employing Azure governance tools.

Azure offers a multitude of pros and cons when it comes to scale-able data management. Cloud-based data solutions are right for some organisations and not for others. It’s important to ensure you have done your research when it comes to the right data solution for you.

 

Cogito Group

Cogito Group

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.