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On Cloud Nine: There’s A Cloud Solution for Everyone

Whether your organization is a large enterprise, a mid-size concern, or a small start-up, chances are yours could benefit from utilizing the cloud. Let’s take a look at three cloud solutions out there right now – and what makes them unique:

Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications using any language, tool or framework. Why choose Windows Azure? Advantages of Azure include its scalability – add or remove your application instances as per your requirement. Once you’ve added some instances, they can be lowered if they’re not needed anymore. Windows Azure features a 99.95% monthly SLA, ensuring great availability and uptime. In case of any problem with application instances, the Fabric Controller of Windows Azure helps to recover your data. Microsoft solely manages this recoverability. And Azure offers the Connect feature, which allows for integration with on-premise infrastructure.

Windows Intune includes both the cloud service for PC management and security and upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise and future versions of Windows. Businesses can manage updates, security, and asset information as well as remotely connect to any PC within their organizations. So what makes Windows Intune unique? It’s a combination of cloud services for management and protection and Windows upgrade licensing—rolled into a single license and subscription. Combining elements of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Security Essentials, Microsoft Forefront, and Remote Assistance, Intune lets system administrators manage updates as well as endpoint management and security, centrally, on the client side. If your organization is Windows-client heavy, Intune will greatly help streamline management tasks.

Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription offering access to Microsoft Office software and services. Office 365 has a multitude of plans (six as of September, 2013), which gives organizations a lot of flexibility to determine which plan best fits their needs. So why choose Office 365? Some Office 365 plans include desktop apps such as Word, Excel, etc. to help round off the suite, giving customers both the thick clients and the browser-based versions. In addition, in terms of storage capacity, Office 365 gives users 50GB of space in Outlook and 25GB in Skydrive. And finally, Office 365 delivers the familiar office productivity tools users most often turn to – keeping the learning curve to a minimum.