Microsoft Azure in the Coming Years

C.J. Radford, Vice President, Cloud, Thales e-Security
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C.J. Radford, Vice President, Cloud, Thales e-Security

Understand that your employees, partners and customers are changing the way software is purchased and consumed. Public and private cloud marketplaces bring conveniences and flexibility. Do not ignore the trends. Invest in research and user groups to understand the delicate balances between business flexibility and risk.

Trends Shaping Up for Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure provides a nice cloud platform that allows enterprises to leverage utility based computing to reduce IT overhead by running enterprise workloads in the cloud. It also provides a robust development platform to build new enterprise apps in a consistent and maintainable fashion. Lastly, Azure is building out a rich marketplace where third party software solutions are easily deployed and consumed in a consistent utility based pricing and licensing model.

Microsoft Azure marketplace will continue to grow as enterprises see the value in the new consumption model. However, Microsoft Azure will need to continue to develop solutions that satisfy data privacy and data security mandates. They are making strides in this by providing private cloud options with Azure Stack, data security enhancements with Microsoft Key Vault and better risk services such as Azure Security Center.

 ​Get involved. You can’t afford to wait until something is tested and proven by others 

Challenges in Microsoft Services

Public cloud platforms are still in infancy as it pertains to large enterprises. To date, most Azure consumption has been from mid market and SMB companies. Large enterprises bring different requirements to bare in how things are billed, secured and governed. Large enterprises will need to weigh the benefits of public cloud versus the compromises, especially in desired visibility and control. Microsoft needs to continue to invest internally as well as invest in strong partnerships to minimize risk by providing a single pane of glass for public cloud and on premises enterprise services.

Needs and technologies go hand-in-hand, and together have always pushed organizations to continually asses, innovate and execute. Today’s world is a world of change. The way products are distributed and consumed are driven by speed and flexibility. Employees, partners and customers demand convenience.  New technology is continually released to try to keep up with new demands. Unlike even a decade ago, cloud platforms such as Azure make it extremely simple for anyone to consume new services.

Unfortunately, the demand for speed creates compromise, often in ways of security and governance. This is evident in the alarming rise of new attack vectors on service availability as well as in application and data security. Vendors such as Microsoft need to aggressively invest in methods that does not hamper rapid adoption but also maximizes visibility and control to the enterprise of sensitive data and applications.

Advice to Any CIO

Get involved. You can’t afford to wait until something is tested and proven by others. Technology is forcing change and you will be at a disadvantage if you do not invest in the innovations today.  The days of wait for someone else to succeed or fail are gone.

Treat your organizational adoption as an SMB. Don’t go through standard corporate red tape. Start within a single organization with services that are not mission critical but that are heavily used. Let your end users provide you real time feedback. Cloud services can be easy to consume and easy to turn off.  This gives you the ability to learn quickly, collect data points towards making more strategic IT decisions without adding much risk to the organization.

Most importantly, don’t treat cloud as a silo. Find vendors that you use and trust that integrate with Azure and other cloud platforms and services. This will let you leverage your investments as you migrate to the cloud. This is especially critical with your security and governance investments. Enterprise class data security and risk management solutions must be more tightly integrated into public and private cloud infrastructures to maximize control and visibility.

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