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Since Microsoft released Azure in 2010, the cloud computing platform has achieved immense popularity. Today, more than 120,000 new users join Azure every month and an estimated 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies use it to access Microsoft Cloud deployments.

However, many of these subscribers do not maintain their own instances and instead partner with managed service providers that perform day-to-day system administration and other tasks. This reflects a larger trend, as organizations of all sizes with cloud services are gradually turning to MSPs in an effort to free up internal information technology resources for more innovative, bottom line-driving projects, CIO reported.

An anatomy of Azure managed services
Azure managed service plans often cover key systems duties normally left to in-house IT personnel, including database backup, infrastructure as a service and platform as a service oversight, network security, subscription management and support.

Backing up essential business data
Azure comes equipped with a backup feature that allows businesses to protect their data, whether it lives in the cloud or on-premises servers. This service can come in handy in the event of a catastrophic systems failure brought on by mother nature or some other external force.

MSPs take over the management of this component, creating regular backups and maintaining historical data caches.

“Azure managed service plans often cover key systems duties normally left to in-house IT personnel.”

Configuring systems infrastructures
IaaS and PaaS installations are popular among cloud-inclined companies, as they allow users to create scalable, custom systems infrastructures to support enterprise applications, specialized web portals and other digital assets. In short, these tools enable organizations to truly harness the nimbleness of the cloud.

With an MSP handling the creation of IaaS and PaaS instances, internal IT staff can dive right into projects without having to first carve out and configure server space.

Protecting employee and customer information
This year alone, cybercriminals have raided company servers to steal more than 29 million sensitive records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. As a result, organizations in almost every sector are scrambling to shore up their data security systems.

Azure addresses this common concern with its Security Center, which allows users to access a number of data security and threat detection features. Organizations collaborating with MSPs normally relinquish these duties, as the experts at these firms can offer key insights and dole out system configuration advice. Additionally, MSPs can provide other services such as the development of application firewall protections.

Offering timely support
With complex internal networks, unintended downtime is always a possibility. While Azure provides businesses with the tools they need to diagnose downtime and get their essential systems back up and running, performing these tasks is time-consuming, especially for IT staffers with more general technical skill sets.

In these moments of crisis, the MSP subject-matter experts can step in and offer timely solutions.

Azure managed services make a difference
Many organizations are making the switch to MSPs for one simple reason: improved operational efficiency. American IT workers spend most days offering fellow employees technical support and managing company infrastructure, leaving them little time work on projects that could potentially move the business forward or at least better prepare it for challenging marketplace conditions.

With an MSP in the mix, systems administration duties are outsourced, allowing IT staff to leverage the transformative tools Azure offers to streamline and expand essential digital infrastructure.

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