Cloud - Azure and Microsoft 365
There is a saying "There is no cloud, It's just someone else's computer", which is true, but that doesn't mean it's the wrong way to go for many businesses.
If a vendor provides you their software across the internet it can be 'the cloud'. If you use Office 365 online services, or Microsoft Azure, or AWS, or google products, they are all 'the cloud' too. Some businesses will run your infrastructure on shared servers in a data center, and that can also be defined as the cloud. It's not something that you are wrong if you aren't using, and you aren't right just because you use it.
You'll find most businesses use a number of things on the cloud, and others still on their own infrastructure. Getting the right mix and always evaluating technology as we've all been doing for many years is still the same as it has always been.
We specialize in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure for cloud products. We also work with many other vendors and their cloud products as well. We can help you decide where they best fit to save you money, or give you extra features that will improve productivity or increase resilience of your infrastructure, or reduce your risk.
If you need help keeping on top of what best fits your business, making the change, and then keeping a firm grip on your cloud environments, reach out to us to discuss how we could help your IT team get back on top.
For years we used the same Microsoft technologies on premises, and now they've just moved them, we just keep up with the times.
It's important to remember that one size doesn't fit all, and moving at a strategic pace is much better than jumping on a bandwagon.
When planning IT strategies or migration plans for systems that have already been determined that they should move to the cloud, we always discuss the big picture… Your internet connections, where the business is going, your compliance and security requirements, your backups and business process changes to mitigate risks. It's rare that people make big savings in real dollars for their business by moving to the cloud, it's more often that the spend has just changed places, or the risk profile has changed.
Cloud environments, and hybrid cloud environments are complex beasts and are changing at a much higher rate than businesses and IT professionals alike are used to (previously you'd put a server in and not change anything much for 5 years, now things change on a much faster rate).
The first time you do something, you read a lot, you make a lot of mistakes, and your learn a lot along the way. The second time you do it, it's a great deal easier, probably takes you half as long, and you maybe make a few mistakes. Every subsequent time you do it, you just get better and better.
It is very much the same in IT, which is why it's often best to get experienced experts in to help move you from A to B, and get your IT staff to look after it once it's in the new location. We can help guide your staff, do it for you, or do it with you to make sure you learn along the way as well.
MIACOR IT focus on writing procedures, creating recipes and instructions for migration processes so that we don't forget how to do it the next time, and so that we can have consistent delivery as much as possible.
We aren't cowboys, and therefore do not test in production, and lab up every process that we are doing for the first time. We also build rigid testing into every project we do with clients to make sure each step of the way is a careful step to minimize interruption to your operations or risks to your data/environment.
It's important to remember that with any project there is more than one way to do things, and, with the rapid change of technology, that the way it was done a month ago is likely to be different to this time. We therefore update our documentation regularly and are always on the lookout for a clever way to do it better next time! We are always happy to be corrected, and always happy to learn.
We are experienced in doing Small (5+ users up to 3000 user Office 365 Exchange Online and Skype for business/Teams migrations to Office 365). We have also completed many On prem to Microsoft Azure migrations for many different sized organizations with sites in Australia, South East Asia, Europe and North America/Canada.
We price our services on a value and time based metric, allowing us to right size solutions for small businesses and medium to large businesses.
Reach out to us to have a confidential and no strings attached high level discussion about your situation and if we can help you.
Configuration and Hardening
The IT world is always changing, but generally it goes in cycles.
When computers started becoming mainstream in businesses, it was a common problem for information and files to be found all over the place, and computers and technology being plugged into the network in an adhoc manner. Over time, the industry matured and more control was created through the IT profession of system and network administrators and IT managers becoming commonplace. Recently, with the advent of cloud, and technology being so readily available and mostly cheap, more and more users have started going back to the wild west ways and are storing information in personal OneDrive, Google Driver, or Dropbox. The control is gone.
Similarly, it's very easy for anyone to build their own Office 365, or Azure environment, even almost by accident! By putting a company or personal credit card into the portal, they can start creating a new environment, and even sending copies of your organisations users/passwords to the cloud. That's not to mention a few clicks can add thousands of dollars a month to a credit card, even for a product you don't need.
Once these environments are built, and even if they are built by the IT administrators, it's important that best practices are implemented to secure a number of key areas of the systems, and implement some governance over how it should be used. Key people in the business need to be part of the decision making process to determine what data is allowed in the cloud environments and especially to confirm if there are any regulatory requirements for data storage which could leave the business open to lawsuits or shutdown for non-compliance. For example, is the data stored in Australia? By putting it in another country is it subject to their laws?
Inattention to cloud usage in your organisation, can lead to security incidents, intellection property theft, notifiable breach for personal information or breach of compliance for other reasons.
We are able to look at your environment and find out where your data is stored, what systems are in place, and what compliance requirements you may have to deal with and help you come up with a plan of attack to ensure you are protecting your vital information assets, your customers personal data and your business.
It's also important to regularly review the technology that you are subscribed to, and ensure it is still fit for purpose, required and/or that you are getting the best deal for it. For example there are significant savings for reserved instances for servers over paying per month.
Azure Supported Environments
For many years now companies have outsourced their server environment to managed data centre or private or public cloud environments. We have worked with all different varieties of these, and they all have their place in the current environment and into the future.
We have evaluated AWS, Azure and other cloud offerings and have decided that we can't be an expert in all of them. We can certainly work with any, but we specialize in Microsoft's Azure environment.
We don't force one technology on to our customers, but rather work with you to determine the best fit, AND over time check that it's still the best solution, as the world is constantly changing.
For example, if you have fixed requirements, stable employee numbers and business model and are very certain that this will be the same for 5 years, you are much better off buying your own systems. Also, if you are in an area with limited internet capacity, and offsite location is not going to be the best fit for you.
If you need flexibility to grow/change/shink/relocate or have business needs that require high availability or offsite presence, there are some great features that Microsoft Azure can provide, that keep the lights on.
Working with Azure means you aren't tied to one IT provider for life, or worrying that an outage won't get looked at in the middle of the night because they are sleeping or not watching it. Microsoft have thousands of staff decided to keeping the infrastructure alive, and are constantly adding improvements and new technology functions to it.
Some key features that would previously have cost tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to set up can be configured in a few clicks of a button.
Some key features:
- Store your data in datacentres in different states in Australia to give resiliency.
- Backups provided of existing on prem infrastructure to keep a copy in Azure, which you can turn on if you lose your primary site.
- Easy to replica data between countries.
- Put your servers or virtual desktops closer to your users in different countries with connectivity spanning countries.
- Extend your network to Azure with network gateways, and extend your environment to the cloud.
- Use Azure tools to migrate your entire environment to the cloud.
Contact us today to discuss possible solutions that fit your requirements.