By Dele Akinsade, Server and Tools Business Group Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa
Those of you who move in IT circles might have heard of Microsoft Azure. But it’s not just for the IT savvy – in fact, Azure is the perfect cloud-based platform for any business owner, small or large.
If your business makes use of Mission Critical solutions and Datacenter redundancy you will know how much data you need to store. Instead of having to use a bulky server box in a fancy server room, Azure allows you to store your many gigabytes of data in a secure, yet easily accessible online environment in the cloud. It also has a built-in BI solution to organise your data and conduct market research – so you know exactly where to find the files you need, while simultaneously gaining important business insights.
Once you have these insights, it’s simple to put them to use because Azure allows you to develop applications on any platform, in any code, including mobile applications. In modern business, applications can be a great way to improve efficiency, or may even be at the heart of your business model – for example as a means for your customers to pay online. In Uganda, access. mobile has used this functionality to develop an app called Clinic Communicator, which stores patient data and sends automatic updates to their phones, reminding them when to take medication or come back for a check-up. Another African app called Agrilife an agricultural solution designed to provide a credit and training facility for over 135k farmers across Africa using SMS services.
An online presence is also a must for modern business, as complicated as this can be to set up. Azure removes the complication, offering website development and hosting, and taking care of considerations like which operating system to use, as well as network, storage and scalability – so you can focus on your business.
Of course, the main benefit of anything that sits on the cloud is that it cuts costs because you don’t need to buy expensive servers that you have to have installed and serviced regularly. You can also pay the licensing fee for Azure monthly, and you only pay for what you need as you need it, making it affordable even if you are a small business owner.
Azure is also 100% safe – an important consideration no matter the size of your business. Not only do you have peace of mind that your data won’t be affected by fire or theft, but because we focus on the latest safety methods at Microsoft, you can also be sure that it will remain firmly out of the reach of hackers.
And although hackers won’t know how to get to your data, you always will because it’s based on Windows, which you are already familiar with and which offers a well-established support structure.
Azure is a great tool to help businesses store and protect their data at an affordable rate, allowing for scalability and continuing innovation. If you haven’t signed up yet, what’s stopping you?