Microsoft Cloud Backup

Organizations and companies are increasingly using Microsoft Azure Backup to protect physical or virtual machines and data including SQL, Exchange and SharePoint. Traditional tape backups are costly and unreliable, while disk backup solutions have become more affordable and reliable.

You can choose to store backups on a local redundant storage or Geo-redundant storage. Local redundant stores –  3 copies of the backup data within a single facility. Geo-Redundant stores –  6 copies of backups, 3 local and 3 backups in a secondary region. A well planned backup strategy requires careful design, planning, execution and testing to reduce data lost and downtime. Two important elements of a continuity plan are the RPO (Recovery Point Objective – Time between each backup) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective – How long will it take to recover the data).

No additional cost for restore operations or network bandwidth. Data backups are compressed and encrypted to improve faster restore times. Backups are deployed and managed from the Microsoft Azure Portal with several capabilities including monitoring and scheduling.

Other backup solution including Backup Exec, Acronis, Veeam, Dura, EMC, Netback and Yosemite to name a few are available with a variety of options and features.

This article was written by Osei Owusu, Technical Consultant for  Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider. www.trideapartners.com

Microsoft Azure Cloud – Can it be trusted

Considering moving your Dynamics GP or Dynamics AX application to the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform but wondering if your data will be safe and meet your industry’s compliance requirements?

A great source of information on these topics is available at the Microsoft Azure Trust Center website (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/support/trust-center/). This site is loaded with material on all aspects of security and privacy with regards to using the Azure Cloud product offering.  The website is broken into five major sections:

  1. Azure’s embedded security and privacy model: It all starts here. Building security into the product from the start as opposed to a bolt-on after the fact. Learn about Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle (SDL), Operational Security Assurance (OSA) process, and Privacy by Design in this section of the site.
  2. Security: Keeping your data safe: Security is not just simply encryption. It is also about processes and procedures such as threat management, mitigation, and penetration testing. What value is encrypted data if you can’t access it? Read about Microsoft’s approach in this section.
  3. Privacy: Own and control your data: Microsoft vigorously defends your right to privacy protection demonstrated by their recent win of a major case in the United States Court of Appeals. The ruling prevented the U.S. government from requiring Microsoft to give them access to emails held in a foreign country. Read about Microsoft’s approach and over 20 years of commitment to privacy in this comprehensive section on the subject.
  4. Transparency: Know how your data is stored, accessed and secured: Critics say that CLOUD stands for Cannot Locate Our Users Data.  Microsoft has done their homework with this platform and is ready to earn your trust in this regard.  This section of the site describes Microsoft’s policies and procedures with regards to where your data is stored and how it is secured.  Are you a Canadian company that requires all data to be stored within the country? Learn how to specify that your data remain in the new Toronto or Québec City data center.
  5. Compliance: Conforming to global standards: It is one thing for Microsoft to assert your data is safe and secure but your motto should always be “trust but verify”. This section of the site details the international and industry standards met by Azure and the third-party audits required to verify those standards. It has a very easy navigation tool to enable you to focus on compliance that is relevant to your industry. In the Healthcare industry? Select Healthcare in the drop down box and learn how Azure can meet HIPAA/HITECH requirements.

Still have questions or concerns about leveraging Azure for your Dynamics GP or AX environment?  Consultants with Tridea’s Cloud Business Services practice are available to help you find the right solution to meet your needs.

The New World of Hosting Dynamics GP on Microsoft Azure

We have seen a tremendous change in the Dynamics GP hosting environment since the maturation of Microsoft Azure and other cloud technologies.  It wasn’t long ago (2 years at the most), that Microsoft Dynamics VARs (Value Added Resellers), like Tridea Partners, had to rely on dedicated Dynamics hosting providers to provide its clients with a remotely, hosted solution to run their Dynamics GP ERP system.  These hosting providers then would need to look to a partner data center company that had made the investment in their own internet bandwidth, hardware, backup services, monitoring tools and data center, to support them.  These data centers required a large, stable investment to do it right, and they added another layer to the support of the end Dynamics GP customer.

 

The hosting options have changed now with the mature Microsoft Azure platform allowing VARs like us to provide our own hosting of Dynamics GP and other applications.  While it does require a unique skillset that not all VARs have like infrastructure and networking resources, it certainly can eliminate much of the “middlemen” and “headaches” that are associated with having 3 parties supporting the infrastructure for Dynamics GP.  The Azure platform also allows for other services like recovery services or test environments that can be added to your environment within hours, not days or weeks.  With these test environments, there is flexibility to turn them on/off instantly reducing the costs of your hosted platforms. 

 

In addition to the growth of the Microsoft Azure environment, Microsoft Dynamics has also evolved their pricing options to allow VARs to provide the Dynamics GP software through a rental or subscription model, lower the cost of entry.  The traditional Microsoft platform software (Office, Windows, SQL Server, etc) can also be renting, reducing a large amount of capital investment.  A company can now choose to pay for the hosting services (and related hardware environment) and licensing on a month to month basis, rather than investing it all upfront.

There are still certain environments and scenarios where a dedicated hosting provider makes sense as our team at Tridea Partners still utilizes these Dynamics hosting companies under certain circumstances.  However, there is now questions that Microsoft Azure has opened the door to a new, cost effective and efficient environment for Microsoft Dynamics GP. 

This article was written by Andy Collins, Partners at Tridea Partners, a Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner.