I’m not sure if are aware of this, but twice a year through something we call "The Global Relationship Study" – we here at Microsoft Canada reach out and contact you to see how we're doing and what Microsoft could do better. Every year a number of items come up where you tell us we need to do more to make you understand how some of our technologies can help you be successful in your role.
One of these areas that came up in the last survey was Cloud Computing. There’s a lot of confusion out there about what the cloud is and what it can do for your organization. When it comes to cloud computing, you may already be using it without knowing. As consumers we use the cloud every day with services like Hotmail or another web-based email service, social media like Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as the ability to view, edit and share document on Windows Live SkyDrive using Office Web Apps.
A great way to transition your business into Cloud Computing would be to start with applications. Microsoft has two Cloud apps that will help you with that transition, as well as help your organization reduce costs and really set you up to grow further into the cloud in the future.
· Microsoft Office 365 is a personal favourite of mine and includes cost-effective yet enterprise-grade hosted email through Exchange Online, a full collaboration platform with SharePoint Online, and the ability to easily communicate with your team anywhere in the world through Lync Online.
· It’s also a pay-as-you-go subscription service, meaning a smaller cost spread over each month instead of a large upfront payment helping you budget more effectively.
· You can try it free for 30 days to experience it for you and your team.
· Windows Intune is a great cloud-based solution that can help you manage and secure your PCs no matter where they are located.
· Among other things, you can perform security and management tasks remotely and deploy updates and line of business applications from a central location and also help ensure that all your computers are fully up-to-date with the latest anti-virus definitions.
· To try Intune free for 30 days or learn more, go to the Windows Intune website.
When it comes to building an on-premise data center solution as a cloud service, we’ve put together a great blog post about how and why you should consider this for your business. Want to try it yourself? Start by visiting the TechNet Evaluation Center and downloading Windows Server 2008R2 with SP1, Hyper-V Server, and the System Center 2012RC products to get started building your Private Cloud lab.
You may also want to take advantage of these other great Cloud Computing Resources:
- Office 365 Trial/Info page - get more information or try it out for yourself.
- Office 365 Videos – see how businesses like yours have used Office 365 to transition to the cloud.
- Windows Intune Trial/Info – get more information or try it out for yourself.
- Microsoft Virtual Academy – for free online training to help improve your IT skill set.