How the Microsoft Cloud Offers Increased Agility
Kathleen Mitford, corporate vice president of Azure marketing at Microsoft, spoke about the ways companies have been forced to pivot in recent years. “You have all played a critical role in navigating your organization through significant change,” she said. “I’m so encouraged to see companies across industries embracing technology as the path toward business resilience more than ever before.”
“In the past, pressure for cost savings was often at odds with the pressure to grow. Things have changed,” she continued. “Today, it’s more common for companies to view cloud technologies as a remedy to this, helping you do more with less.”
Mitford touted the ability of the Microsoft Cloud to bring agility to multiple business functions. “Our capabilities span infrastructure, digital and application innovation, data and AI security, business applications, and modern work. The Microsoft Cloud helps you meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world and thrive in today’s environment.”
And according to Erin Chapple, corporate vice president of Azure core product and design, “Azure delivers cost and operational efficiencies through avoiding the need to over provision infrastructure capacity to establish hybrid environments, optimizing licensing costs and taking advantage of new cloud services.”
Addressing Data Privacy Concerns in the Cloud
Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president of Azure data engineering, also spoke during the session, titled “Build agility, optimize your business, and create data-driven experiences with Microsoft Azure.”
Kumar’s discussion centered on the data component, with a focus on concerns around data privacy and governance. “Given the complexity of making data integration, data warehousing, Big Data, ML, ops and BI work together, meeting data privacy regulations is a critical need for every enterprise,” he said.
“Data and privacy officers struggle with this, given that governance is not deeply integrated where data lives, making it impossible to meet the regulatory bar. And in today’s challenging economic environment, they need to do so in the most cost-effective way possible,” Kumar explained.
Kumar’s recommendation for balancing speedy data management and privacy regulations is Microsoft’s Intelligent Data Platform, which was announced earlier this year. Kumar said the platform integrates Microsoft’s databases, analytics and data governance products into “a seamless experience to address these challenges, while also integrating with the broader Microsoft Cloud.”
“It comes back to our ambition to be the world’s computer,” Mitford said. “Azure is delivering on this promise by accelerating the way applications are built, deployed and managed with built-in DevOps, security, identity and governance capabilities. The Microsoft Purview capability is a great example of this, letting you achieve data governance no matter where your data resides in the public cloud or on the edge.”
Balancing Speed With Compliance and Governance in Azure
In a related session, Casey Bleeker, general manager of cloud and digital velocity at CDW, showcased CDW’s Azure Enterprise Service Catalog for its ability to accelerate agility without compromising regulatory compliance.
In seeking to add agility, many organizations seek to provide their developers greater access to data, which Bleeker says is a valid move. But they also need to restrict access to meet compliance requirements and protect data privacy. “This is a trade-off we see consistently across the companies we work with,” he said.
But that trade-off can be eliminated by adopting three key dependencies, according to Bleeker. First, he recommended changing the corporate mentality of IT operating as a service provider within an organization. “We need to think of governance as an enabler to speed and cloud adoption, not a barrier,” he said.
“Second, we have to align the organization on what our cloud strategy and definition will be. There are many approaches in the industry today, but one that is gaining traction is the cloud center of excellence,” Bleeker explained.
His final suggestion focused on putting these concepts into practice. “This is where many organizations, they don’t know how to progress forward in applying the standards without impeding the organizational agility,” he said. “Enter the service catalog approach: We can leverage cloud-native automation patterns and practices to apply the best practices to all of our organization’s cloud resources, however they choose to deploy them.”