Ready to Set up an Environment on Azure? Here’s Your Checklist for Success

The latest earnings release from Microsoft for Q2 2021 shows that 63% of enterprises currently run apps on Azure, and the gap between Azure and AWS is closing, both for the companies using the platform, and the number of VMs. 

However, not all environments will be created the same way. The processes which organizations use at the earliest stages of creating their Azure environments will have a direct impact on their costs, ease of use, security, and performance. To get the most out of your Azure environment, setting it up with best-practices should be your top priority. 

Five Best-Practice Steps to Azure Onboarding

Let’s take a look at the five main steps involved in getting started on Azure.

1.Using Azure Management Groups

The first stage is organizing your resources, which includes understanding the distinct management groups that Azure provides. These will allow you to create policy for security and governance. At this point, you can also create a naming and a tagging strategy that you will use throughout your cloud environment. Tags can help you to reduce costs, manage environments, and even stay on top of compliance. 

2.Thinking about Access Control

Next up – consider access requirements, including group-based access control. Azure uses Role-based Access Control (RBAC) and can allow you to set up smart rules for access for the following roles as standard. 

  • Contributor: Full access to resources, but no rights to assign roles, share image galleries or manage assignments. 
  • Owner: Full access, including assigning roles for RBAC.
  • Reader: View all resources, without the ability to make changes.
  • Administrator: Manage user access to all resources. 

There are also additional roles for other functions, such as compute, networking, storage, containers, web, database, analytics and more. 

3.Optimizing Cloud Spend

The cloud is often a cost-saving initiative, but this can only work if it’s set up right. At this stage of onboarding, you will be able to organize budgets and thresholds, and also learn how to view reports, and gain the right insights. A smart cloud provider can help you to get more out of these reports, identifying resources that are sitting idle, or making intelligent recommendations for changes on a regular basis. 

4.Governing your Azure Environment

Security and Compliance on the cloud can’t be underestimated, and your role in the shared responsibility model means you’ll need to stay on top of applications, data, and users. Azure uses three key security tools to streamline the process: 

  • Blueprints: Create replicable templates to establish common compliance roles.
  • Policy: Scan for and identify rules that don’t meet your pre-set policies. 
  • Security Center: See how security is functioning, and receive critical alerts. 

5.Closely Monitoring your Azure Cloud

From the Azure Portal, you’ll be able to stay on top of reporting and analytics, which when used intelligently will be the gateway to true ROI on the cloud. Start with Azure Monitor that uncovers the diagnostic data you need. Service Health will show you how your services are running, and Azure Advisor can be a great springboard for business strategy conversations, as it provides automated recommendations on your environment. The right cloud partner can help you align these with your own business context.

In our latest whitepaper, we look in detail to set up your Azure environment for success from day one. This includes a deep dive on all five stages of the onboarding process.