What is Microsoft Azure?
AML Accelerate are proud to be using Microsoft Azure as the primary data centre(s) for hosting our solutions. We put our trust in Microsoft, and we are not alone - in fact more than 66% of the Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft Azure.
This page will provide more information on Microsoft Azure, but for more information please visit their website:
Get more done
Any developer or IT professional can be productive with Azure. The integrated tools, pre-built templates and managed services make it easier to build and manage enterprise, mobile, Web and Internet of Things (IoT) apps faster, using skills you already have and technologies you already know. Microsoft is also the only vendor positioned as a Leader across Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Application Platform as a Service, and Cloud Storage Services for the second consecutive year.
View the Gartner Magic Quadrant reports.
Use an open and flexible cloud service platform
Extend your existing IT
Some cloud providers make you choose between your datacenter and the cloud. Not Azure, which easily integrates with your existing IT environment through the largest network of secure private connections, hybrid database and storage solutions, and data residency and encryption features — so your assets stay right where you need them. And with Azure Stack, you can bring the Azure model of application development and deployment to your datacenter. Azure hybrid cloud solutions give you the best of both worlds: more IT options, less complexity and cost. It’s why it’s one of the best cloud computing servicesavailable.
Scale as you need, pay as you go
Azure’s pay-as-you-go services can quickly scale up or down to match demand, so you only pay for what you use. Per-minute billing and a commitment to match competitor prices for popular infrastructure services like compute, storage and bandwidth mean you’re always getting unbeatable price for performance.
Protect your data
We know some organizations are still wary of the cloud. That’s why Microsoft has made an industry-leading commitment to the protection and privacy of your data. We were the first cloud provider recognized by the European Union’s data protection authorities for our commitment to rigorous EU privacy laws. Microsoft was also the first major cloud provider to adopt the new international cloud privacy standard, ISO 27018. We also launched Azure Government, a stand-alone version of Azure designed to meet the rigorous compliance requirements of U.S. public agencies.
Run your apps anywhere
As the best cloud service from Microsoft, Azure runs on a worldwide network of Microsoft-managed datacenters across 30 regions—more countries and regions than Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud combined. This fast-growing global footprint gives you lots of options for running applications and ensuring great customer performance. Azure is also the first multinational cloud provider in mainland China.
Make smarter decisions
Azure’s predictive analytics services, including Machine Learning, Cortana Analytics and Stream Analytics, are redefining business intelligence. Make smarter decisions, improve customer service and uncover new business possibilities from your structured, unstructured and streaming Internet of Things data.
Rely on a trusted cloud service
Unsure how to choose a cloud service provider? From small dev-test projects to global product launches, Azure is engineered to handle any workload. More than 66 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure, which offers enterprise grade SLAs on services, 24/7 tech support, and round-the-clock service health monitoring. Customers include Skanska, Heineken, 3M, Dyson, Paul Smith, Mazda, GE Healthcare, Trek, McKesson, Milliman, Towers Watson, NBC Sports, TVB, and many, many more.
Cloud you can trust
Microsoft Azure has acquired more certification than any cloud provider in the world.
More information can be found on Microsoft's website - https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/support/trust-center/
Most comprehensive compliance coverage of any cloud provider
- More certifications than any other cloud provider
- Industry leader for customer advocacy and privacy protection
- Unique data residency guarantees
Microsoft understands that for you—our enterprise customer—to realize the benefits of the cloud, you must be willing to entrust your cloud provider with one of your most valuable assets—your data. If you invest in a cloud service, you must be able to trust that your customer data is safe, that the privacy of your data is protected, and that you retain ownership of and control over your data—that it will only be used in a way that is consistent with your expectations.
Microsoft strives to earn your trust in Microsoft Azure. Our long experience running online services has involved extensive investment in foundational technology that builds security and privacy into the development process. Over time, we’ve developed industry-leading security measures and privacy policies, and participated in international compliance programs with independent verification of how we measure up.
Security and privacy are embedded into the development of Azure
Microsoft makes security and privacy a priority at every step, from code development through incident response.
Security and privacy are built right into the Azure platform, beginning with the Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) that addresses security at every development phase from initial planning to launch, and Azure is continually updated to make it even more secure. Operational Security Assurance (OSA) builds on SDL knowledge and processes to provide a framework that helps ensure secure operations throughout the lifecycle of cloud-based services. Azure Security Center makes Azure the only public cloud platform to offer continuous security-health monitoring.
Security: We keep your customer data safe
Microsoft has leveraged its decades-long experience building enterprise software and running some of the world’s largest online services to create a robust set of security technologies and practices. These help ensure that Azure infrastructure is resilient to attack, safeguards user access to the Azure environment, and helps keep customer data secure through encrypted communications as well as threat management and mitigation practices, including regular penetration testing.
Managing and controlling identity and user access to your environments, data, and applications by federating user identities to Azure Active Directory and enabling multi-factor authentication for more secure sign-in.
Encrypting communications and operation processes. For data in transit, Azure uses industry-standard transport protocols between user devices and Microsoft datacenters, and within datacenters themselves. For data at rest, Azure offers a wide range of encryption capabilities up to AES-256, giving you the flexibility to choose the solution that best meets your needs.
Securing networks. Azure provides the infrastructure necessary to securely connect virtual machines to one another and to connect on-premises datacenters with Azure VMs. Azure blocks unauthorized traffic to and within Microsoft datacenters, using a variety of technologies. Azure Virtual Network extends your on-premises network to the cloud through site-to-site VPN.
Managing threats. To protect against online threats, Azure offers Microsoft Antimalware for cloud services and virtual machines. Microsoft also employs intrusion detection, denial-of-service (DDoS) attack prevention, regular penetration testing, and data analytics and machine learning tools to help mitigate threats to the Azure platform.
Privacy: You own and control your data
For more than 20 years, Microsoft has been a leader in creating robust online solutions designed to protect the privacy of our customers. Our time-tested approach to privacy and data protection is grounded in our commitment to organizations’ ownership of and control over the collection, use, and distribution of their information.
We strive to be transparent in our privacy practices, offer you meaningful privacy choices, and responsibly manage the data we store and process. One measure of our commitment to the privacy of customer data is our adoption of the world’s first code of practice for cloud privacy, ISO/IEC 27018.
You own your own data. With Azure, you have ownership of customer data—that is, all data, including text, sound, video, or image files and software, that are provided to Microsoft by you, or on your behalf, through the use of Azure. You can access your customer data at any time and for any reason without assistance from Microsoft. We will not use customer data or derive information from it for advertising or data mining.
You are in control of your data. Because the customer data you host on Azure belongs to you, you have control over where it is stored and how it is securely accessed and deleted.
How we respond to government and law enforcement requests to access data. When a government wants customer data—including for national security purposes—it must follow the applicable legal process, serving us with a court order for content or a subpoena for account information. If compelled to disclose customer data, Microsoft will promptly notify you and provide a copy of the demand, unless legally prohibited from doing so. We do not provide any government with direct or unfettered access to customer data except as you direct or where required by law.
Transparency: You know how your data is stored and accessed, and how we help secure it
Microsoft Azure is built on the premise that for you to control your own customer data in the cloud, you require visibility into that data. You must know where it is stored. You must also know, through clearly stated and readily available policies and procedures, how we help secure your customer data, who can access it, and under what circumstances. And don’t take our word for it: you can review the third-party audits and certifications that confirm that we meet the standards we set.
Compliance: We conform to global standards
Azure meets a broad set of international and industry-specific compliance standards, such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, FedRAMP, SOC 1 and SOC 2, as well as country-specific standards like Australia IRAP, UK G-Cloud, and Singapore MTCS.
Rigorous third-party audits, such as by the British Standards Institute, verify Azure’s adherence to the strict security controls these standards mandate. As part of our commitment to transparency, you can verify our implementation of many security controls by requesting audit results from the certifying third parties.
When Microsoft verifies that our services meet compliance standards and demonstrates how we achieve compliance, that makes it easier for customers to secure compliance for the infrastructure and applications they run in Azure.
Compliance and certifications
To help organizations comply with national, regional, and industry-specific requirements governing the collection and use of individuals’ data, Microsoft offers the most comprehensive set of certifications and attestations of any cloud service provider.
A move to the cloud raises important strategic issues for an organization: How will data be secured, where will it be located, and how available will it be when it is no longer on premises? How will the organization continue to meet regulatory obligations? How will the privacy of sensitive customer and employee data be protected?
However, before organizations can assess and compare the level of service offered by different cloud service providers, they must first clearly identify their own objectives and requirements. Only then can they create formalized service specifications appropriate to their business, which a cloud service provider can then respond to.
But many organizations have no structured way to determine these objectives or guidance through the decision-making process. This lack of a standardized approach can lead to agreements that may not be in their best interests. Indeed, a recent study indicates that more than 94 percent of organizations would change some terms in their current cloud agreement.
The Cloud Services Due Diligence Checklist
To help organizations exercise due diligence as they consider a move to the cloud, Microsoft developed the Cloud Services Due Diligence Checklist. It provides a structure for an organization of any size and type—private businesses and public sector organizations, including government at all levels and nonprofits—to identify their own performance, service, data management, and governance objectives and requirements. This allows them to compare the offerings of different cloud service providers, ultimately forming the basis for a cloud service agreement.
The checklist provides a framework that aligns clause-by-clause with a new international standard for cloud service agreements, ISO/IEC 19086.This standard offers a unified set of considerations for organizations to help them make decisions about cloud adoption, as well as create a common ground for comparing cloud service offerings.
Microsoft has been an active member of the panel of experts that developed this standard over a three-year period. The checklist distills the standard’s 37 pages into a simpler, two-page document that organizations can use to negotiate a cloud service agreement that meets their business objectives. Because it is grounded in the new standard, the checklist is service- and provider-neutral, applying to any organization requiring cloud services and any service provider offering them.
How the checklist helps organizations exercise due diligence
The checklist promotes a thoroughly vetted move to the cloud, providing structured guidance and a consistent, repeatable approach to choosing a cloud service provider.
Cloud adoption is no longer simply a technology decision. Because checklist requirements touch on every aspect of an organization, they serve to convene all key internal decision-makers—the CIO and CISO as well as legal, risk management, procurement, and compliance professionals. This will increase the efficiency of the decision-making process and ground decisions in sound reasoning, thereby reducing the likelihood of unforeseen roadblocks to adoption.
In addition, the checklist:
- Exposes key discussion topics for decision-makers at the beginning of the cloud adoption process, and supports thoroughgoing business discussions around regulations and the organization’s own objectives for privacy, personally identifiable information (PII), and data security.
- Helps organizations identify up-front any potential issues that could affect a cloud project.
- Simplifies the comparison of offerings from different cloud service providers through a set of questions, with consistent terms and definitions and the same metrics and deliverables for each provider.
Frequently asked questions
What is ISO/IEC 19086-1?
ISO/IEC 19086-1 is the first of a new four-part international standard that establishes a framework and terminology for cloud service level agreements (SLAs). It offers a unified set of considerations for organizations considering cloud adoption, and common terminology so they can more easily compare cloud services and providers to ultimately form the basis of a service level agreement.
Who created the ISO/IEC standard?
The standard was created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The ISO is an independent non-governmental organization and the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards; the IEC is the world’s leading organization for the preparation and publication of international standards for electronic, electrical, and related technologies. Over a period of years, a joint ISO/IEC subcommittee created ISO/IEC 19086-1; Microsoft was one of many member organizations that participated.
Why did Microsoft develop the checklist?
The goal was to create a simpler document that an organization considering a move to the cloud as well as cloud service providers could more readily use to help them create a cloud service agreement. Microsoft has been actively involved with the panel of experts that developed the ISO/IEC 19086 standard, and in anticipation of its release distilled the 37 pages of the standard into the two-page Cloud Services Due Diligence Checklist. Note, however, that this is not a Microsoft-specific checklist; it applies to all organizations and cloud service providers.
How can my organization use the checklist in evaluating cloud projects and assessing cloud service providers?
Organizations should convene stakeholders from across the company to discuss how each checklist item applies to the organization, and specifically to the cloud project. The team can determine minimal requirements, weigh the importance of each item in the list, and assign responsibility for each item. They can then ask providers to respond to each of the considerations in the checklist, compare responses, and decide which provider best meets their organizational objectives.
Even a minor outage can put you at a competitive disadvantage. So, be ready with a business continuity plan that includes disaster recovery for all your major IT systems, without the expense of secondary infrastructure.
A summary of the key components are listed below but for more information visit Microsoft's website.
Protect all your major IT systems – affordably
Achieve low recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) targets for every major system in your organisation, simply and cost-effectively. Eliminate the hassle and cost of secondary data centres and tap into nearly infinite capacity at a moment’s notice with a cloud-based data recovery solution designed for the needs of enterprises.
Unify data management, security and protection
Achieve business goals for continuity and compliance throughout the life cycle of your apps. Help secure your data with industry-leading protection offered by encryption features. Manage and protect your apps with offerings such as Operations Management Suite, which includes centralised management, integrated data protection and application availability solutions.
Ensure that apps work when you need them the most
Rest assured during an outage or disaster scenario, thanks to a disaster recovery solution that protects and natively supports the widest range of enterprise applications of any cloud disaster recovery provider. Failover your apps, and your entire data centre, with automated recovery plans in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months.
Perform tests at any time for complete confidence
When a disaster hits, the last thing you want is to run into a problem. Test your business continuity plans, or run dev-test copies of production workloads in Azure whenever you need to, and without impacting users. Plus, test new versions of applications with copies of live data, then seamlessly put the new version into production in your data centre.