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Compete in the Cloud – Microsoft Azure Spotlight

Microsoft Azure is a leading cloud offering that provides businesses the ability to grow and scale in a cost-efficient manner. It allows small and mid-sized companies access to a wide array of technology services and products, once only within the financial reach of only the largest companies, providing a unique opportunity to compete.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is an expanding list of six hundred plus (600+) integrated Cloud services used to develop, deploy, host, secure and manage applications. Harnessing the power of Microsoft’s global data center footprint, it provides “Software as a Service” (SaaS), “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) and “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS) to customers large and small [1].

Microsoft’s website provides a detailed and current listing of available Microsoft Azure services. Services and features are added and upgraded often as technology, innovation and market demand evolves [2].

Selecting an item from the website’s product list provides links to additional resources and information, including a comprehensive portal of information.

The Microsoft Azure Marketplace provides access to additional Microsoft and Partner Solutions to further extend capabilities to the Cloud [3]. It allows businesses to utilize many of the same products they would utilize in non-Cloud environments.

A Level Playing Field

Prior to the availability of Microsoft Azure’s Cloud services, many of these products and services were once exclusively reserved for the deep pockets of large businesses with extensive specialized staff and significant infrastructure. Today, almost any sized business in almost any industry, including those in highly regulated industries, can leverage a wide array of services available. Microsoft has eight hundred and eight five (885) Microsoft Azure Cloud services Case Studies encompassing many industries available on their website [4].

Widespread and Growing Adoption

Large businesses are also turning to the Cloud for many of the same benefits. Microsoft reports that 80% of all Fortune 500 companies are on the Microsoft Cloud [5].

In the most recent, “2017 State of the Cloud” report, RightScale surveyed 1,002 technology professionals, representing a wide array of industries and illustrated a significant usage of the Cloud [6]. Please note this study included multiple cloud providers including Microsoft Azure.

2017 State of the Cloud, RightScale Report

Why Move to The Cloud?

There are many compelling reasons for a business to consider adopting a Cloud strategy using a service like Microsoft Azure.

Access to Products and Services

Microsoft Azure provides a constantly growing marketplace of products and services, allowing business the ability to quickly take full advantage of the latest marketplace trends without making an initial large investment or have a long-term commitment in infrastructure and software.

This allows a startup, small or mid-sized company to have the same inventory of technology products and services as their largest competitors.

Cost (Pay as You Go)

Pay for services needed when they are needed. With Microsoft Azure a business has significant flexibility and control over expenditures and with proper planning can design a program that matches their business, market or client demand, even when that demand is highly variable or rapidly changing. This enables companies to mitigate the need to invest in often unused and quickly outdated traditional infrastructure.

Agility, Scalability and Deployment

Microsoft Azure provides a business the ability to scale and deploy quickly. It allows systems to perform and handle increases in load as a business or product line grows, to meet seasonal demand or bring new projects online.

A few highlighted examples include:

  • A business that develops software can ramp up the resources for a development environment or test environment during regular business hours or when activity is needed and ramp down during non-use time periods.

  • A business with seasonal demand, like a shipping company that needs to meet increased processing needs during a holiday period, can scale up to meet the demand then scale down after the spike dissipates.

  • A school district, college or university that has periods of high activity when class is in session, but during breaks many technical resources are not required can adjust processing, storage and compute requirements.

Compliance, Security and Privacy

Ensuring the compliance, security and privacy of systems and data is often a complex and time-consuming activity for most businesses. Microsoft has expertise and resources most businesses don’t have or can’t afford working to protect critical assets.

To help businesses understand and mitigate compliance, security and privacy risks, Microsoft has created the Microsoft Trust Center. The Trust Center provides information and resources to help businesses design and maintain compliance of their Microsoft Azure based solutions [7]. The list of provided compliance resources includes DFARS, DoD, FedRAMP, HIPAA/HITECH, PCI DSS and SECTION 508 to name a few. The HIPAA and HITECH Trust Center is highlighted below.

The Microsoft Azure Security Center also provides a centralized view of the security state of deployed Azure resources. This feature helps to ensure that security controls are in place and configured correctly and identifies any resources that may need attention [8].

Disaster Recovery and Backups

Important and required in many industries is the ability to recover from disaster or human mistakes. Microsoft Azure simplifies secure disaster recovery and backups for any sized business.

Microsoft Azure Backup offers security features that help secure backups and recover data by using cloud backups if production and backup servers become compromised.

Geographic Data Control

There are many individual business, legal and compliance reasons to geolocate infrastructure, data and applications.

Microsoft Azure is available in thirty-four (34) regions around the world, providing businesses with selection and control of where they store and process services [9].

Results and Benefits

Microsoft Azure is producing real results and benefits for many companies. As the products and services of Cloud services providers like Microsoft Azure continue to expand and add new features, businesses that adopt and execute on a well-planned Cloud strategy should gain a competitive edge.

The Right scale report documented the benefits study participants achieved as their Cloud programs matured [10]. Please note this study included multiple cloud providers including Microsoft Azure.

2017 State of the Cloud, RightScale Report


Microsoft Azure is a robust cloud offering that provides businesses of all size the ability to grow, scale and keep up with the fast-moving pace of technology innovation and change in a cost-efficient manner. Many businesses are integrating Cloud Services and experiencing real results working with providers like Microsoft Azure.

Highlighted Definitions

Software as a Service (SaaS) - A Cloud based software delivery model where a complete software solution is centrally hosted, maintained and supported. SaaS solutions are often provided on a subscription basis. Office 365 is an example of a SaaS.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) - A Cloud based platform delivery model that allows for the development, management and running of applications without the typical steps required to build and maintain the layers from hardware to development tools required to develop, deploy and run applications. PaaS solutions are often provided on a subscription basis. An SQL database on Microsoft Azure is an example of a PaaS.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - A Cloud based infrastructure delivery model provides physical servers and other datacenter infrastructure as separate components that can be provided on a subscription basis. Windows Azure Virtual Machines are an example of IaaS.

SaaS, PaaS and IaaS Illustrated [11]

References and Citations

  1. Microsoft Azure Website, “Microsoft Azure Products and Services Website Section”,, 6/15/2017

  2. Microsoft Azure Website, “Microsoft Azure Products and Services Website Section”,, 6/15/2017

  3. Microsoft Azure Website, “Microsoft Azure Marketplace Website Section”,, 6/15/2017

  4. Microsoft Azure Website, “Microsoft Azure Marketplace Website Section”,, 6/15/2017

  5. Microsoft Website, “Microsoft By the Numbers Website Section”,, 6/15/2017

  6. “2017 State of the Cloud, RightScale Report”, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,, 2017

  7. Microsoft Azure Website, “Microsoft Azure Trust Center Website Section”,, 6/15/2017

  8. Microsoft Azure Website, “Microsoft Azure Security Center Website Section”,, 6/15/2017

  9. Microsoft Azure Website, “Microsoft Azure Regions Section”,, 6/15/2017

  10. “2017 State of the Cloud, RightScale Report”, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,, 2017

  11. Microsoft Azure Website, “Microsoft Azure What is SaaS Website Section”,, 6/15/2017

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This article is provided for informational and educational purposes. It makes no warranties as to the claims, accuracy or fitness of information provided, referenced or cited. Use of the information, instructions and any examples contained in this work is at your own risk. There should be no implied endorsement of this article by any person or organization referenced.

All trademarks, company, product and services names, images, descriptions, or public website content are property of their respective owner as source referenced. It is your responsibility to ensure that your use thereof complies with such licenses and/or rights.


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