Microsoft has opened three new UK data centres to support its Azure platform of cloud services and many major organisations are already signing up.
This will be a wake-up call for businesses in the South East who need to think seriously about adopting cloud-based solutions so that their security and data protection standards are compatible with the big fish they so often rely upon for revenues.
Microsoft’s new data centres will also appeal to many organisations who don’t want to store data outside the UK because data protection rules and regulations may change following the Brexit vote.
Two big names to sign up for Azure are the Ministry of Defence (MoD), employing 250,000 people, and the South London & Maudsley NHS Trust, which is the UK’s largest mental health trust. Their decision to start using Azure is a huge endorsement for Microsoft’s cloud computing platform and will encourage many others to follow suit. Indeed, one industry analyst comments to the BBC: “No one has a more complex environment than the MoD’s ICT network, so that should provide a degree of reassurance to other potential customers.”
The big advantage to choosing Microsoft Azure is its flexibility. It doesn’t force your company to switch completely to the cloud as Azure’s services can be integrated with your own on-site data centres.
Gary Jowett from CNC in Brighton explains: “Secure cloud services will be essential for most companies in the future but we always advise newcomers take a hybrid approach to start with. You should keep some of your capabilities on-site and gradually move your IT processing and data storage over to the cloud. This is why Azure is such a good choice because it gives you the flexibility to tailor the way you use it to suit your business activities and growth plans.”
Another advantage it offers is it’s designed to fully support Office 365 – the successor to Microsoft Office. So the standard work tools – Outlook, Word, Skype for Business, Access (the replacement for Excel) and PowerPoint – are still available to your employees.
“Azure is the obvious choice for many Sussex firms because that’s what big public and private sector organisations they do business with are already adopting,” says Gary.
“So when your company tenders for new business with one of these organisations, you can easily show that your processes and data storage already adhere to the same high quality standards. Quite simply, it makes winning new business with a Government department or a major corporation much easier.”