Microsoft Azure provides cloud services that empower you to build, deploy and manage cloud-based applications. It is now one of the top contenders in the public cloud space, but is it a good fit for your organization? Before deciding to migrate from an on-premises system to Microsoft Azure, consider the following four points.

Microsoft Azure is flexible

Many organizations are unsure as to how the cloud fits within their existing IT infrastructure. Azure is flexible enough to integrate with your on-premise systems, allowing you to move at a pace that makes sense for your business while simultaneously offering you all the potential of the cloud. However, without a clear strategy for a successful transition to the cloud, your organization may be at risk of costly disruptions via failed deployments. A Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help you navigate the challenges of moving to the cloud.

As your organization migrates to the cloud, an MSP can provide the specialized skills necessary to enable you to take full advantage of cloud products and services. There are a number of MSPs with turnkey solutions focused on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Finding the provider that is right for your midmarket company is simple with an event like Boardroom Events Midmarket CIO Forum, which can help you meet and select an MSP that is a leader in the cloud space. The Fall Forum, slated for October 15, 2017, is a great way to engage with MSPs in comprehensive discussions to understand the new offerings in the cloud market.

Microsoft Azure is secure

A major concern of any organization moving to the cloud is security. Most large companies have the ability to invest significant time, money and resources into designing and developing a security model. For those companies, Azure’s flexible architecture allows them to leverage existing investments like firewalls, identity stores and single-sign-on. However, for smaller businesses that lack the means, implementing a cloud solution equips them with security features without requiring an additional significant investment.

Partnering with a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) offers additional cloud security features for SMBs that may not have enough bandwidth to fully monitor their networks. According to the Global State of Information Security Survey 2017 conducted by PwC, 55 percent of respondents use managed security services for real-time monitoring and analytics.

Microsoft Azure allows you to focus on development

Microsoft Azure enables you to set up and provision servers within minutes, accelerating the entire application development process. Minimal focus on the infrastructure is required, allowing you to develop scalable applications and offer a wide range of IT services. If you are just getting operations off the ground, a number of companies can assist you with IT Services regardless of your organization’s financial or technical parameters. Partnering with an IT service provider can offload some cloud management tasks, allowing you to focus on application development to meet your organizational goals and keep pace with your customer’s needs and growth.

Microsoft Azure seamlessly integrates and offers support

For organizations that rely on Microsoft tools like Office 365, Outlook and SharePoint, investing in a cloud platform that seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft products is a logical choice. Azure is based on Windows, so applications can be developed utilizing the same programming languages and tools used for Windows apps, saving your developers time.

However, cloud technology is in a state of flux, which requires continuous training for tech teams. Microsoft provides a wide range of tutorial and support information for free via the Azure site and Microsoft TechNet and at-cost for certifications provided via Microsoft Learning. Additionally, Azure includes an extensive set of software development tools, providing your architects and developers with everything they need to build, test and debug applications in the cloud. A growing number of companies also provide Azure training and related resources. A simple Internet search will yield many cloud-specific training resources for your SMB.

There are a number of issues to consider in determining whether Azure is a good match for your organization. Of course, you will need to do your own analysis of what makes sense for your organization. But hopefully this information – and perhaps the assistance of an MSP – will help you successfully arrive at the right decision.