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What is Microsoft Azure? A guide for businesses

Posted by Alfie McDonald on September 7th 2022

Remote, flexible and hybrid working have become the norm, which means IT is now much more than just people at desks operating computers. It means empowering your organsation in innovative ways. Making data and services scalable, flexible, agile, powerful and efficient. Keeping costs low and performance levels high. That’s what Azure can do for you.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is one of the world’s most widely used cloud computing platforms.

Today the Azure platform includes a vast and still growing collection of integrated cloud services. From this wealth of resources, BCN can tailor the Azure cloud solution to your organisation. It’s all about giving you the power to increase productivity, boost efficiency and maximise flexibility. Harness the full potential of cloud technology with Azure and you’ll maximise your competitive edge for the long term with a secure and future-proof infrastructure.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing delivers computing services over the internet (AKA the cloud). A cloud service consists of interconnected servers and data storage facilities in multiple locations. Data, software, and applications in the cloud are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, using a wide variety of means as the user organisation requires. This can include the Web, secure VPN, dedicated cloud to workplace links and more. Authorised users can then access software, applications and data, as well as communicate and collaborate online from wherever they happen to be.

What are the benefits of Microsoft Azure for your business?

Reduced and controllable costs

Hardware is often difficult to size correctly, resulting in money wasted on unused capacity, or undersized computers. Switching to cloud computing with Microsoft Azure abolishes the need for all that capital expenditure and can prevent money being wasted on the wrong hardware.

Furthermore, making the move to the cloud can free up internal IT experts to focus on important business objectives, rather than managing ageing hardware. Servers use a lot of power and need a lot of cooling, so you can also lower energy bills. And your organisation can occupy less physical space. Furthermore, you pay monthly and only for what you use, so IT costs aren’t just lower; they’re also more controllable.

Speed and scalability

If you suddenly need a new application, extra resources, more data storage or more computing power, they can be yours in minutes via Azure. And because they’re in the cloud, they’re accessible from anywhere. Previously, even a simple upgrade would have taken months of planning and procurement.

Adapt to hybrid working

Azure provides highly available, secure access to your data for your users, wherever they are working.

Integrate easily with hybrid cloud

Azure offers a range of dedicated tools with which you can integrate your edge and data centre workloads with the Azure suite and the management portal. This gives you the power to visualise and manage your entire IT estate, regardless of where the workload sits.

Develop on your terms

Azure has a wide variety of options for hosting web and client or server applications, configurable to both developers’ and companies’ needs. You can also integrate seamlessly with Azure DevOps to build, test and deploy your code quickly.

Enhance productivity

On-site datacenters require constant attention. Your staff need to continually update hardware, patch software and wait for minor malfunctions to be fixed. With Azure in the cloud, many of these breaks in productivity disappear. Instead, your people can dedicate their time to improving the business.


Azure runs on a worldwide network of secure data centres. With Microsoft’s unrivalled resources and expertise, the infrastructure is constantly upgraded. As soon as a new version of the hardware and software is available, it’s implemented. Your IT is running on Microsoft’s infrastructure, so it’s always up to date and delivering peak performance.

Reliability and business continuity

Azure backs up data automatically and mirrors it in multiple places. Even if your building burns down or floods, business can continue with minimal interruption. The information your business runs on is safe and easily retrievable. Disaster recovery and business continuity are much simpler and far less expensive.


Doesn’t being “out there” in the cloud put your valuable data at risk and beyond your control? Far from it. Cloud service providers must ensure that their cyber security is state of the art, otherwise no one would use them. Microsoft is no exception. No other technology company can match their expertise and financial resources. The controls and services integral to Azure provide protection across identity, data, networking and apps. The continuous protection also extends to hybrid environments with deeper insights from the Azure Security Centre.


Azure has the most comprehensive compliance offerings available from any cloud provider. If you work in a highly regulated sector such as legal or finance, you can be confident that your data storage will be compliant with all the relevant regulations and standards.

What services does Azure deliver?

There are now over 200 preconfigured services available in Microsoft azure, such as:

  • Azure Application Services, including Azure AI, Azure Analytics, and Azure IoT
  • Azure Data Services, including Azure Storage
  • Azure Development Services, including Azure DevOps
  • Azure Compute Services, including Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) and Azure Container Service
  • Azure Network Services, including Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN)

What can you do better with Microsoft Azure?

Expand your data storage capabilities

Azure offers a range of versatile and highly scalable storage options for structured and unstructured data. The BCN Group team will match your application needs to the proper storage solution and create a flexible, scalable bespoke solution unique to you.

Back up and disaster recovery

Azure provides unrivalled security via end-to-end backup and disaster recovery. It’s simple, cost-effective and fully integrated with your on-premises data protection.

Host apps and websites

Azure web hosting allows organisations to set up and run multiple websites and applications independently within a single subscription. Only pay for the capacity and storage you need.

Optimise for mobile

Azure enables developers to build cloud applications for mobile devices, providing notification services, support for back-end tasks, and tools for building application program interfaces (APIs). You can also couple geospatial context with data.

Manage and secure identities

Azure Active Directory doesn’t only enhance security. It also simplifies administrators’ lives by providing a universal identity platform for managing and securing identities, with centralised user and rights management. With Azure, you have the power to combat cybersecurity threats by controlling computer and user configurations with single sign-on and multi-factor authentication. Only authorised users can access Azure services. Encryption keys and other sensitive information are protected in the cloud.

Set up virtual machines

Moving your desktop operating systems to the cloud enables authorised users to access their desktop from any location—just as easily as in the office. The Azure Virtual Machines service makes setting up Linux and Windows virtual machines easy. All done in a matter of seconds.

Power up your analytics and business intelligence

Azure Analysis Services helps you to transform complex raw data into actionable insights. It’s built on the proven analytics engine in Microsoft Azure SQL Server Analysis Services.

Migrate effortlessly to the cloud

Azure IaaS includes cloud migration services and tools for discovering, assessing and migrating workloads to the cloud with minimal business disruption.

Embrace the internet of things (IoT)

Azure services help users capture, monitor and analyse IoT data from sensors and other devices. Services available include notifications, analytics, monitoring and support for coding and execution.

Adopt blockchain technology

The Azure Blockchain Service allows you to join a blockchain consortium or create your own.

Why choose BCN for Azure?

At BCN Group, we are a Microsoft certified partner, and we share Microsoft’s cloud-first vision. As a Microsoft Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and Gold Partner with six gold competencies, we are fully accredited to provide cloud solutions yo you directly from Microsoft.

We have extensive experience in cloud platforms and data centres, and our solutions are delivered by an experienced Azure development team. We have designed, built, integrated, and managed hundreds of cloud migrations for public and private sector organisations for over a decade.