What is Microsoft’s Azure? How Your Business Can Benefit

Cybersecurity is something all businesses are worried about. And with good reason. The last year has seen a series of three major cyber attacks, including Spectre and Meltdown, Krack, and Equifax. So how can you keep your data safe? Microsoft Azure can help you defend against the advanced security threats that jeopardize your business, your customers, and your data.  

What is Azure?

man in office on computerMicrosoft’s Azure is a set of cloud services that are helping development and IT teams stay on track and businesses stay on target. Azure acts as a local, on-site server—without actually being on-site. Users, domain policies, permissions, VPNs, databases, and more can all be accessed directly in the cloud.

However, that’s not all Azure can do. It’s Active Directory, called Azure AD, brings a variety of benefits to businesses. With Azure AD, businesses and their teams have a seamless and personalized identity access panel no matter their device or operating system. This access panel is secure, protecting businesses against the data dangers we’ve seen over the past year.

There are two access levels available using Azure AD. The first is point-to-site. This means that all of your data and permissions live entirely in the cloud. The second is site-to-site. With site-to-site, if you have an on-site server, you can link to Azure AD Connect to sync passwords, usernames, and more to the cloud and vice versa.

Give Users Ultimate Access

Azure’s access management system allows users to remotely log in to business applications with a single set of credentials whether they’re in the office, working from home, or on the go. This means thousands of must-have apps, like Microsoft 365 and DocuSign, are at their fingertips. This single-sign-on capability is protected with multi-factor authentication, adding an extra layer of security against hackers.

However, any access you give, you can also take away. If you have employees leave the company, you can lock them out of their tools and databases so important info never falls into the wrong hands.

Identify Security Threats

Azure AD features machine learning-based capabilities that can quickly and accurately identify potential threats that may be on the horizon. Known as Azure Monitor, it will monitor everything you have created and give you notices, tips, and warnings for when things aren’t running as smoothly or securely as they should be. This means the next time there’s another cyber scare like Equifax of Krack, you’ll be better prepared and protected.

Microsoft’s Azure AD also includes reporting, auditing, and alerting to keep your network safe, in addition to whitelisting features with RADIUS and two-step authentication.

Save Time and Reduce Costs

While we’re always glad to provide small business helpdesk support, Azure AD can help you save time and money by allowing you to delegate small IT changes (like password resets) to your own employees. You can even assign an administrator to remind users when it’s time to change passwords, send validations, and more. Don’t worry, though. We’ll always have a small business IT support team at the ready to help with your needs!

Sync Your Data

If your business or company has databases and directories containing your users, devices, and passwords, you can easily sync this data to Azure AD using site-to-site capabilities, ensuring no records are lost and the latest data’s always on hand.

Create Your Own Domain Environment

With Active Directory Domain Services, you can create a domain for your business and invite your teammates to join it. (For example, you can create an email @yourbusiness.com instead of @azure.com.) Then, all of your devices are linked to and registered with Azure so you can control what your employees do (and don’t do) on their machines.

Access the Public Cloud

computer wires in a panelYou’ll have access to thousands of apps right in the public cloud through cloud-based app integration. Users can access the Azure AD Application Gallery (via their single sign-on) to access Dropbox, Zoho, SalesForce, and even Netflix (when they’re not on the clock, of course). As an added bonus, if you already have Office 365, your access to this Microsoft product ties all of your Azure AD accounts together. Meanwhile, a dashboard you can customize gives you quick links to the applications you use most.

Developing your own custom app? Azure will monitor everything you create and give you, and any other teammates you want, access to the application. A series of migration tools can also help you connect to databases.

Rest Assured with Azure

If you want increased usability, top-notch security, and enhanced collaboration, Azure is the ultimate tool for your business. With Azure, the options for integration, accessibility, and much more are unlimited.

If you want to learn more about Azure or would like help making the most of its features, contact our tech management team today.

BusinessKDG Insights