9 September 2021
Azure Consulting: What Can You Expect?
Just like on-premise IT, Azure is a vast world with many capabilities to choose from. Even for IT generalists, the array of options can be overwhelming. Much like you would seek specialist help for your physical infrastructure on occasion, an expert Azure consultant can make the virtual world work better for your business.
What Makes an Azure Expert?
An Azure consultant will have a significant focus on Microsoft’s flagship cloud platform. Just like the on-premise world, there are many certification paths on offer, ranging from fundamental and associate-level to expert and speciality certifications like DevOps and IoT. Ideally, your chosen consultancy should have a comprehensive range of skills and certifications on offer, so that any solution is designed to fit your business, rather than to suit a limited range of expertise.
Why You Might Need Azure Consultancy
Azure is a marketplace that changes so rapidly it would be near impossible for anyone without a dedicated Azure focus to keep up. Plenty of organisations have moved workloads from physical servers to the cloud. After that first step, they can be forgiven for having put it aside to focus on more urgent matters. The last 18 months have been far from normal, and making sure everyone had adequate work-from-home arrangements took priority. Now that everyone is better prepared, it could be worth revisiting your Azure set-up.
In the initial shift to cloud, the focus was on taking care of the essentials, and adjusting to a new way of working. When setting up the plan and features, some options may have been missed. Add to that the incredible number of additions to Azure over the last year alone, and there is ample opportunity to improve your experience.
Under-using Azure features can lead to larger monthly bills. An expert eye will soon identify if you have underused resources, or if you are paying for something you no longer use. They will pinpoint why cloud performance is underwhelming, review how your resources are allocated, improve redundancy, and tweak settings to make things run more smoothly.
How Safe is Your Data?
Sometimes, the shift to cloud can open up security risks. The ease of making changes on cloud platforms can increase risk further still. A common assumption is that when data is in the cloud, it is all safe, but this is incorrect. For example, if you create a virtual server in Azure, it is not simply backed up by default. In fact, backup is an add-on product you must buy. There are plenty of options for backups, and this is among the most important discussions you can have with your Azure consultant.
More Than Moving Workloads from A to B
Often, organisations have moved workloads to the cloud as-is. This may have happened because of time pressures, equipment end of life, or any number of reasons. This like-for-like relocation approach is usually not the best option. For example, one server in Azure may sometimes be able to take the place of three physical servers. It may make sense to put documents in SharePoint, which you’re paying for anyway with Microsoft 365, instead of assigning a dedicated server. There may be a CRM subscription option that offers better integration between your sales, marketing, and finance teams, and saves your staff considerable data entry time. Our Azure consultancy has been known to halve the server footprint, and put a smile on the faces of the workforce, by reviewing the Azure set-up and making a few adjustments.
While an Azure consultant will clearly focus on cloud apps, there are some other considerations they will be aware of. If your internet is not fast enough, or you do not have the appropriate service, this can have a negative impact on cloud app performance. Your anti-virus needs may change, and other parts of your network can be impacted, so any cloud review is best seen as part of an overall IT audit.