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Microsoft Cloud Services for Business Owners 101

By admin on June 09th 2016

Every new technology should come with its own set of ColesNotes. What are the benefits of the technology? What new features does it bring to the market? Is the ROI worth your IT spend? We felt there was a gap in the knowledge base, so here’s the basics of Microsoft cloud services for business owners.

Microsoft Azure: Getting the Most Out of Your IT Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure as a service has gone supernova in the last few years. Gartner predicts that cloud services will become a $408 billion market in 2016. That’s because the level of server performance and speed that businesses get for their IT spend is beyond that of on-site and most colocation models. Microsoft Azure is one of the headliners of the cloud service blowout.

One benefit that Microsoft Azure cloud features offer is greater customization. For businesses that want to blend a private, on-premises cloud, or collocated infrastructure with a big name provider, Azure is built to accommodate. Hybrid cloud solutions are part of what distinguishes it from more purist competitors.

Another advantage of Azure is the near seamless way it integrates with the full suite of Microsoft products. There’s no exploring workarounds or praying to the gods that programs which should theoretically link actually do. Active Directory, Windows Server, and System Center are built to synch up naturally.

And the recent news that Microsoft’s Canadian datacentres are now open for business brings the Maritime Provinces the added benefit of data residency. You can breathe a sigh of relief as the likelihood of your data being seized by government entities goes down to about zero.

Microsoft ExpressRoute: High Octane Cloud Services

Want a step above Microsoft’s proven and secure cloud services? Try ExpressRoute. ExpressRoute is like having access to an exclusive highway, a private connection between Microsoft’s datacentres and your on-site infrastructure. What that offers is faster speeds, higher security, lower latencies, and near unassailable reliability. In some situations, ExpressRoute can result in cost savings (depending on your current solution).

Additionally, there is no limit to the data transferred using ExpressRoute. Microsoft’s customers are never held hostage with data transfers until they ante up an extra fee. Only bandwidth speeds will change the ExpressRoute pricing plan.

Just like Azure, ExpressRoute meshes with other Microsoft products. Other cloud based Microsoft services like Office365 (which we’ll talk about shortly) all operate at a faster speed and with an extra layer of security. The products are built to operate even better when used together.

Microsoft Office365: The Future of Collaboration

In the past, collaboration on projects had the potential to be clunky. Documents could be difficult to centralize, leaving your employees playing a game of ping pong as they reviewed and revised each other’s work. Office365 aims to use the features of the cloud to provide a seamless work experience across teams.

Some of the main features break down like this:

  • Office Suite: With this cloud service, businesses no longer need to buy Microsoft’s software outright. All of the latest versions of each software are available for as long as your business continues with the subscription. Additionally, accounts carry over from one device to the next as long as you log in. Rather than buying a license for each PC, you buy licenses per users which can transfer across devices.
  • Yammer: Microsoft Office 365 users get this corporate social network as an integrated collaboration tool. Employees can create groups for individual projects, easily search for documents and conversations, and manage inbox items as part of a group.
  • Skype for Business: This professional version of Skype makes conferences a breeze. Businesses can get up to 10,000 people on a single meeting and host online meetings across devices.
  • Document/Email Access Control: Microsoft now provides a Rights Management Service which restricts any of your documents or emails from being viewed by anyone besides the intended audience.
  • OneDrive For Business: Storing, sharing, and syncing files became much easier with Office 365’s OneDrive. Your business has access of up to 1TB of free server space through OneDrive. Plus, your team can easily share documents with the whole company or with individual employees.

Finding Out Which Microsoft Cloud Services Work Best for You

Depending on your needs, Microsoft cloud services provide business owners with a wide expanse of solutions. However, sometimes it’s hard to pick what options are the right fit until you’ve had a chance to test the waters. That’s where we can help.

As a certified Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider, we can evaluate your business needs and present you with solutions that actually fit your needs. Schedule a Cloud Readiness Assessment, giving you a hands-on tour of all of the cloud based tools you can have at your fingertips.