Many businesses are migrating to the cloud as a cost-effective means of accessing, storing and delivering data. By using a Cloud Service Provider, companies no longer need to purchase and maintain their own physical infrastructure as all of their IT needs can be delivered via secured Internet connections.
Moving to the cloud essentially means renting servers, networks and operating systems from a third party. Using a public cloud tends to be less expensive but isn’t necessarily the best option when it comes to data security. As such, businesses handling sensitive data often prefer to use a hybrid cloud. These rely on both company on-premises resources and those of a public cloud, allowing storage to be split between the two depending on the nature of the data.
There are now a number of Cloud Service Providers, with Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) leading the pack. Both offer hybrid solutions as well as public cloud resources, including storage, networking, security, application deployment and management tools. But which one is better?
The Benefits of Microsoft Azure
All companies that collect, use and store information about their clients must comply with a host of regulatory requirements. These can be national, regional or industry-specific, but all require the data to be protected from hackers and unauthorized access or distribution. The European Union recently invoked the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which applies to any business holding personal data on EU citizens regardless of where the company is based. Failure to comply can lead to hefty fines and this latest regulation is only one of the dozens that have a direct impact on data use and storage in North America.
Given recent and highly publicized data breaches, being able to trust your cloud provider to secure your data is of paramount importance. Azure provides the most comprehensive compliance coverage in the industry with over 70 compliance offerings including the GDPR. It also puts security, privacy and compliance at the forefront of its development methodology, meaning its services are built from the ground up around those imperatives. U.S. government institutions recognize Azure as the most trusted cloud services provider for good reason.
Azure also has more regions than any other cloud provider. With 54 regions and growing, you can choose the data centers and regions that match your needs with a consistent hassle-free architecture throughout.
The Challenges of AWS
One of the major drawbacks of AWS is that its identity and access management solution (IAM) only manages AWS user accounts and web consoles. Unfortunately, anything else you use outside of the AWS system will require additional IAM solutions. That can be a major challenge for your IT administrators and can require additional modifications to your on-premises infrastructure (which is what cloud computing was supposed to avoid in the first place).
If you are going to be testing and managing new software applications, Azure has better platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities. AWS doesn’t have as many options or features when it comes to app hosting and far fewer tools to help deploy and scale new apps.
Finally, Microsoft has the edge when it comes to deploying hybrid cloud infrastructures. You can use your on-premises servers to run your applications on the Azure stack and have the option of continuing to store some of your data in-house. AWS also offers hybrid cloud services, but lacks the level of support and comprehensive solutions offered by Azure.
In the final analysis, Azure continues to outrank AWS for companies that want hybrid cloud services, are concerned with compliance regulations or looking for PaaS offerings. Azure has truly global coverage, best-in-industry intellectual property protection, and unparalleled customer support.
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