Creating an Highly Available, Reliable and Safe Cloud Environment on Azure

There have been concerns surrounding cloud computing and services for quite some time. All the while more organizations have been employing the use of the cloud environment and its technologies. One survey reported these statistical indicators:

  • The primary cloud computing concern, lack of expertise and resources, fell to 25% down 7 percent from 2016.
  • Only 25% cited cloud computing and services security as a concern also down from the previous year.

That fear and uncertainty is quickly waning while the use of cloud services is growing at a considerable rate:

“…cloud computing services are expected to outgrow Software as a Service (SaaS), with cloud  growth projected at 30.6%… .”

Not only did that story reveal impressive growth trends of cloud services it also shared evidence of that growth by reporting some eye-catching spending numbers. Based on that report the $25 billion spent by enterprises in 2015 on cloud computing and services is projected to more than double in 2017.

IaaS is Only Getting Stronger

The IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) platforms are only getting better and stronger. Today the cloud and its services are arguably as available, reliable and secure as any traditional or remote internet platform. This is being led in part by Microsoft’s Azure, whose disaster recovery and security programs we will visit momentarily. Microsoft continues creating a highly available cloud environment on Azure, pushing the envelope of cloud technologies.

Availability

A key to providing any successful service and even more so in today’s high-tech right-now world is the need to be available. Awful words like “downtime” and “lag-time” can translate to death for any service provider. How much more vital is availability for internet service providers? Regardless of what platform you manage or how your customers connect, affording them availability isn’t optional. That leads to the next concern…

Reliability

By default, one aspect of availability inherently includes being reliable but reliability goes beyond having a dependable and available internet connection. A report from business.com cited some of those reliability concerns saying, “concerns include security breaches, software issues, or even human errors… .”

Reliability issues can impact sales, reputation and productivity, creating potentially long-term negative consequences. The solution as the article stated was to, “…ensure it has adequate redundancies and safeguards in place, which can help mitigate the potentially damaging effects of such risks and threats.”

These solutions (redundancies) and answers (safeguards) have come in the way of business continuity plans, security measures and disaster recovery options…

Security

When we think of the word “security” as it relates to technology we generally and almost exclusively look at threats like cyber-attacks and security breaches. In the world of business and in the cloud that word is considerably more expansive. It also includes the security of maintaining business operations and the ability to recover vital financial, business and even personal information.

Putting Security First

Azure was literally built with safety integrated into its platform. This can be seen in the SDL (Security Development Lifecycle) and OSA (Operational Security Assurance) features of Azure. The SDL feature assesses security risks at every stage of development from planning to launch. The OSA, using data and building on SDL knowledge, asserts a framework to ensure safety throughout the lifetime of your cloud services. Security measures like these are why Microsoft can tout having the “most comprehensive compliance coverage of any cloud provider.” Some key attributes of Azure include:

  • Having the most certifications of any cloud provider
  • Being a leader in the industry for advocating customer privacy protection
  • Data residency guarantees that are unique

Where Azure shines brightest, however, is arguably in their site recovery and disaster recovery tools.

Simple and Smart Disaster Recovery

The Azure Site Recovery (ASR) system is designed to be effective (reliable recovery options), fast (minimal “downtime”) and affordable. Recently unveiled was a public preview of the newest updates to Azure. This latest announcement provides answers to one of the biggest questions and concerns about cloud computing –  disaster recovery for IaaS virtual machines.

Effective

There is no point in having a disaster recovery plan that isn’t effective. Effective in this case means that it works – period. In practical terms that translates to having the ability to replicate and secure applications being run on Azure. In fact, not only can Azure now protect and replicate data and applications but it can also be employed to recover applications within any different Azure region a user chooses. These new improvements in correlation with the Azure Backup for virtual machines provides a secure and comprehensive business continuity plan.

Fast

Instant recovery may not be realistic but getting your applications and data – and most importantly your operation up and running as soon as possible is. Focusing on RPOs (recovery point objectives) and RTOs (recovery time objectives) means that users will have the fastest possible recovery times. In business, time is money and having a reliable disaster recovery strategy can effectively mitigate time lost.

Affordable

The cost associated with disaster recovery plans can be considerable. Often additional appliances (i.e. virtual machines), software packages and personnel for deploying, monitoring and maintaining the infrastructure are required. The bill for these additional needs can add up quickly making your disaster recovery plan a pricey one.

With Azure, this is already included in the subscription and delivered as a service. In addition to Azure providing an extremely affordable disaster recovery option it is also simple to initiate…

Security is Supported with Simplicity

Imagine that awful day (just for a moment), when your program crashes or a power failure knocks your entire system offline. How many steps are required for you to engage your recovery system? How easily can you recover your applications across multiple regions?

Azure has designed and delivered a simple system that is also effective for cross-region applications. The basic system is set up to a; select the VM or application b; pick the target Azure region(s) and c; decide the settings for the replication process and – done!

A New Day for IaaS Security

The days of wondering if you are protected and if you can afford a premium disaster recovery plan are over. Azure has been recognized for enabling businesses to create a highly available and reliable cloud environment. Now it is being seen as a leader in security and disaster recovery too.

Having the peace of mind that your company is protected is good. Knowing that you are getting a reliable and simple disaster recovery system is comforting. Getting that and the ability to protect and secure multiple machines across various regions – well that’s Azure.

If you are looking to evaluate your cloud computing options, have concerns about your disaster recovery strategy or would just like to know more about Azure, then contact us for more information. From the threat of cyber attacks to the unavoidable natural disasters that can cripple infrastructures, having a plan in place isn’t only necessary, it’s smart.

Keep your data, your business and your success safe with a recovery plan that is effective, fast and affordable. Maybe you have been asking if you can afford a comprehensive disaster recovery system when the question you should be asking is if you can afford not to.

It is a new day for IaaS security and disaster recovery and a better day for every business in the cloud.

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Jennifer Cooley

Applied Innovations is a managed hosting provider that cares about the customers and businesses it supports. Experience the difference a managed vps hosting provider can provide your business.