Posted on February 4, 2015 by Tim Mckellips
The news comes as no surprise to anyone in IT: Microsoft Azure is poised to take the lead in the enterprise public cloud battle.
This comes just as Microsoft beefed up online services, with new Hybrid capabilities, better Big Data tools and enhanced security and compliance standards. If Azure doesn’t make 2015 it’s year to take over the enterprise cloud, I don’t know who will.
Just because something has momentum, doesn’t necessarily mean its time to jump on the bandwagon. The cloud is a major undertaking. Perhaps one top of your list for the year – but not something you should rush into. Don’t consider adopting Microsoft Azure without taking these five key considerations into mind.
Azure offers an expansive, independently verified variety of compliancy accreditations – including PCI, ISO 27001, EU Safe Harbor models, HIPPA (Health Insurance), and FIPS.
But regardless, you still have some leg work to determine if the Windows service meets your compliancy requirements. The most direct way to do this is to do your due diligence with your legal team, or speak with a Azure specialist like the folks at Softchoice before taking the next step.
Keeping data and infrastructure secure is a key consideration before moving to the public cloud. Specifically, how you manage permissions, and how you’ll synchronize Active Directory and Identity Management tools. And while Microsoft offers round-the-clock monitoring, heavily fortified physical data centers, a brand new anti-malware penetration testing options, you must recognize your own role in keeping data safe at the weak points. (Primarily these weaknesses are where Azure isn’t in control, such as the access points, and data in transit). Similar to compliance, the onus is on you to assure what you are paying for is indeed meeting all your security needs.
With every IT project, you must understand up front the implications for your users and clients. How will you communicate the advantages of this new technology to your workforce and generate buy in? How will you plan to ensure adoption?
In terms of Timing and Availability, you must map out the path of least resistance and understand the business consequences of even a slight downtime, if necessary. Also pay close attention to Workflows and Customizations, ensuring you will get the same functionality when your process is shipped off-prem.
One common mistake is to ignore the true business value of solutions like Azure, focusing only on the hard costs. While it may be possible to make (or break) a business case that way, it’s not the whole picture. Factor in soft costs, such as heating, cooling, and human capital savings, when thinking through your Microsoft Azure adoption plans for a more compelling case.
Additionally, customers should take careful note of their Enterprise Agreement if they have one. In many cases you will already own or have credits for Azure. Not only will it make the adoption case easier, but these credits don’t roll over at the end of the year, so it might light the fire you need to get things moving.
More than likely, you won’t start “all in,” and probably not on mission critical applications, so it’s important to pick your starting point strategically. You want your first parlay into Azure to be a success, setting the stage for future integrations.
Thankfully, there are a number of easy wins ready for the taking when launching Azure for the first time. Whether it be running Test & Dev workloads, migrating your SharePoint to the Cloud, or even making the transition after Windows Server 2003 end of life, pick the most strategic, low-impact initiative to enable and easy move to the public cloud.
Working with the right service provider will help you navigate these top considerations and more, letting you take the most prudent and profitable jump into the cloud. Softchoice has non-biases assessments and managed services to make all your Azure planning and implementations a success. Get in touch with the Softchoice Azure team today to get started.