Navigating Cloud App Challenges: Insights for CIOs in 2024 - New Role in the Cloud

As cloud application usage continues to soar, CIOs face the daunting task of managing security, compliance, and cost concerns. Discover how CIOs can address these challenges and optimize cloud app usage in 2024.

The proliferation of cloud applications presents a host of challenges for CIOs, ranging from security vulnerabilities to compliance risks. With an average of 461 cloud apps running in companies, surpassing IT estimates, and the public cloud sector projected to reach $191 billion by 2030, CIOs must adapt their strategies to harness the benefits of cloud technology while mitigating associated risks.

Challenges of Unmanaged Cloud Apps:

  1. Security Vulnerabilities: Employees storing company data on personal cloud accounts pose significant security risks, potentially exposing sensitive information to unauthorized access.
  2. Compliance Risks: Mishandling of data within unapproved cloud apps can lead to compliance violations, resulting in regulatory fines and reputational damage for the organization.

Strategies for CIOs:

To effectively manage cloud application challenges, CIOs can implement the following strategies:

  1. Establish Clear Policies: Develop and communicate policies regarding the use of cloud applications within the organization, emphasizing data security and compliance requirements.
  2. Implement Security Measures: Implement robust security measures, such as encryption, access controls, and multi-factor authentication, to safeguard company data stored in cloud applications.
  3. Monitor and Audit Usage: Regularly monitor and audit cloud application usage to identify unauthorized or risky behavior, allowing for timely intervention and risk mitigation.
  4. Optimize Costs: Analyze cloud usage patterns to identify opportunities for cost optimization, vendor consolidation, and resource allocation, ensuring efficient use of cloud resources.

In the face of escalating cloud application usage, CIOs must proactively address security, compliance, and cost concerns to safeguard company data and drive business efficiency. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your organization optimize its cloud app usage and mitigate associated risks.

About Managed Solution

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Cloud computing has emerged as a game-changer for businesses, enabling companies to scale, secure, and streamline their operations more efficiently than ever. Among the cloud giants, Microsoft Azure has risen to prominence as a go-to platform for organizations worldwide. In this blog, we'll delve into what Azure is, to help users and companies looking for cloud opportunities understand how it can benefit them.


What is Microsoft Azure?Microsoft Azure logo

Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing platform and infrastructure. It provides a vast array of cloud services, including computing, analytics, databases, networking, storage, and more through global data centers. It also empowers organizations with the flexibility to build, deploy, and manage applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers globally.

Key Features and Services

Azure Virtual Machines

Azure offers virtual machines that allow businesses to run applications in the cloud, providing scalable and flexible computing power without the need for physical hardware.

Hybrid Cloud Capabilities

Azure's hybrid cloud solutions enable seamless integration between on-premises and cloud environments. This flexibility allows MSPs to cater to clients with varied infrastructure requirements, ensuring a smooth transition to the cloud.

Single-pane Operations

Microsoft Azure's single-pane operations via the Operation Management Suite (OMS) offer seamless monitoring and management of hybrid environments, including virtual machines, storage, network services, logs, and insights. OMS prioritizes security, providing comprehensive solutions for hybrid infrastructure challenges.

Computational services

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Azure offers virtual machines, storage, and networking resources, allowing businesses to migrate their existing on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, reducing hardware costs, and enhancing scalability.
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS): Developers can leverage Azure's PaaS offerings to build, deploy, and manage applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. This enables quicker development cycles and enhanced collaboration.
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS): Azure hosts a variety of SaaS solutions, including Office 365, Dynamics 365, and more, which simplify application access and management.

Azure Blob Storage

This service enables secure and cost-effective storage of large amounts of unstructured data, ideal for backups, media files, and application data.

Azure SQL Database

A fully managed relational database service, Azure SQL Database offers high-performance, secure, and scalable database solutions for various applications.

Azure AI and Machine Learning

Businesses can leverage Azure’s artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to gain valuable insights, automate processes, and create intelligent applications.

Azure IoT Hub

For companies delving into the realm of IoT, Azure IoT Hub facilitates seamless communication between IoT applications and devices, enabling real-time monitoring and control.


Why Azure Matters for Businesses: Key Benefits

key benefits


Azure's elasticity allows businesses to scale resources up or down on-demand. It caters to the dynamic needs of companies without forcing them to invest in expensive hardware. Whether it's handling a sudden surge in web traffic or expanding storage capabilities, Azure provides the necessary scalability to support business growth.

Global Reach and Reliability

Azure boasts a global network of data centers, ensuring high availability and redundancy (i.e. ensures that accounts meet their durability targets). This infrastructure minimizes downtime and data loss, which is crucial for businesses in the digital age where loss of data can cost millions.

Not to mention that with Azure’s world-wide distribution of data centers, businesses can expand into global markets with more ease. This can greatly advance growth opportunities for a number of businesses and therein lead to greater innovation when competing in new markets.

Security and Compliance

Security is paramount in the digital age, and Azure prioritizes it. Azure's robust security features include threat detection, identity and access management, encryption, and compliance certifications like ISO 27001 and SOC 2. With Azure, organizations can rest assured that their data is secure and compliant with industry standards.

Cost Effectiveness

With a variety of licensing and pricing models, organizations have the option to leverage Azure’s revenue-boosting productivity enhancements while paying only for the resources they consume. It also provides flexibility in allowing businesses to scale their resources up or down based on demand.

compare cost of Azure to AWS

credit: Microsoft

Furthermore, Azure offers an array of tools and services designed to assist businesses in maximizing their cloud expenditure, such as cost management and resource optimization tools. These resources empower organizations to supervise and manage their Azure expenses.

With flexibility and cost-management features, Azure enables companies to optimize their IT budgets, minimizing wastage while providing the resources necessary to meet their specific needs.

Check out this in-depth forum post that demonstrates how Azure is one of the most cost-effective cloud infrastructures.

Analytics and Business Intelligence

Microsoft Azure offers powerful analytics and business intelligence tools for data-driven insights. Services like Azure Machine Learning and Power BI enable businesses to analyze data, enhancing decision-making processes. Furthermore, Azure seamlessly integrates with Microsoft products like Dynamics 365 and Office, ensuring a smooth user experience and boosting productivity.

Collaboration and Productivity

Microsoft Azure offers diverse tools and services aimed at enhancing business collaboration and productivity. Azure Active Directory enables streamlined management of user accounts and access control for cloud applications, enhancing security measures and simplifying user administration.

Additionally, Azure provides a suite of collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. These platforms facilitate real-time collaboration on documents and projects, fostering increased productivity and teamwork among employees.

Innovation and Integration

Azure continuously evolves, offering cutting-edge technologies such as AI, machine learning, and IoT. For businesses, this means they can stay ahead of the curve by integrating these innovative technologies into their operations, driving efficiency and competitiveness.


More than Just a Cloud Platform

Microsoft Azure is more than just a cloud platform; it's a catalyst for innovation and transformation in the modern business landscape. Businesses have a unique opportunity to leverage Azure's capabilities to meet their dynamic IT needs. Namely, because Azure offers scalability, reliability, security, cost-efficiency, and access to cutting-edge technologies.

As businesses continue to navigate the digital frontier, Azure stands as a powerful ally, helping them achieve their goals and thrive in the digital age. Embracing Azure is not just a choice; it's a strategic imperative for all businesses.


Learn More + Free upcoming webinar

If you're ready to talk more about Microsoft Azure with a qualified expert, send us a contact request here and we'll set up a time to chat with you. For a deeper dive into the platform, join us on October 25th for part two of our free Azure Webinar series.

By Spencer Duke

The cloud isn’t necessarily new anymore, but businesses are still determining whether or not it’s the right move for them, and for good reason.

First, let’s look at the three cloud options available:

  1. Public cloud: A public cloud is a type of computing in which a service provider (such as Microsoft, Google, or AWS) makes resources available to the public, allowing for scaling and resource sharing.
  2. Private cloud: A private cloud works similarly to a public cloud, but over a private internal network and is only available to specific users.
  3. Hybrid cloud: A Hybrid Cloud is a combination of public and private clouds, utilizing software to enable connection and communication between data and applications.

Today, we’ll be talking about the public cloud, specifically Microsoft Azure. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The top business drivers for a public cloud like Azure
  • The top business and technical considerations before moving to the cloud
  • How to perform an assessment using the Azure Migrate tool to determine your cloud readiness (and why an assessment is important)

The Top Business Drivers for Microsoft Azure

It’s critical that you first determine your reason for moving to the cloud. It can’t be because it’s what everyone is talking about or doing. Cloud has become a buzzword, and we are here to remove the buzz-wordiness and really dive into “why cloud?”

First start with honing on what you’re trying to accomplish by migrating to Azure? What is the business initiative that Azure will solve?

Questions can include:

  1. Is our business expanding?
  2. Are we trying to have more flexible remote workforce?
  3. Are we trying to make our environment more resilient and highly-available?

The challenge is simple: if we take our existing infrastructure that we have on premise, including servers and storage, and we just take exactly that and we put it in Azure, we’re not really taking advantage of what Azure can do.

That said, let’s look at 4 main drivers: scalability, cost-reduction, security, and manageability.

Want to better understand if Azure is right for your organization? See if you qualify for a free Azure Migrate assessment today!

Cloud Scalability

Here’s a good use case.

Businesses are hungrier than ever for analytics and automation. A lot of companies are fully or at least partially remote, so you can’t simply walk down the hall to the Director of Sales and get the latest sales pipeline information. You can’t walk down the hall to HR and ask where we’re at in the hiring process. The list goes on.

That’s why reporting and data are so important today. If you're trying to combine data from different departments; for example your CRM and your accounting software, you can integrate these into a cloud-hosted business intelligence platform like PowerBI to help you gather data all in one place and make data-backed business decisions.

Azure is a feature rich platform. Make sure if you’re going to move there, you have a use case like the on above, so you can take advantage of the features available.

There’s a common understanding that if you move to the cloud, it’s going to be less expensive.

Cost: CapEx vs OpEx

Many businesses want to move to the cloud to reduce spend.

There’s a common understanding that if you move to the cloud, it’s going to be less expensive.

That’s not always the case. Let’s dive deeper.

If you move your existing infrastructure exactly as is, it may not be cheaper. There needs to be thoughtful analysis, planning and optimization of resources to take advantage of the consumption-based cloud model.

Things you need to consider when looking at cost include:

  1. Is your business running 24/7?
  2. What applications make sense to move?
  3. How are my current resources being utilized?
  4. How can we modernize to take advantage of a consumption-based model?

If you have resources that are used periodically, we can leverage automation within Azure. With those resources not being powered up all the time, and aren’t available, then we don’t need them incurring costs.

On the flip side, if we have resources that we know are 24/7, we can take advantage of reserved instance pricing.

All that said, it’s important to look at your data and applications, what’s running when, how much compute it needs, etc to see if financially the cloud is a viable option for you.

Is the Azure Cloud secure?

In a short answer, yes.

In a longer answer, it depends.

In terms of physical security, there’s absolutely an inherent benefit. Put simply, you're never going to build your own hosted infrastructure to the scale that public datacenters have.  The physical security includes gates, guard, cameras, and more.

In terms of technical security, this becomes something proactive we need to implement, manage, and continually optimize. Some tools for security optimization include Windows Virtual Desktop and securing that with MFA.

In conclusion, just sticking your data in Azure doesn’t make you secure, but it does open doors that you wouldn’t otherwise have had access to, and therefore you can drastically improve your security posture if you utilize these features.

In terms of physical security, there’s absolutely an inherent benefit. Put simply, you're never going to build your own hosted infrastructure to the scale that public datacenters have.

Azure’s Manageability

Another common conversation that we typically come across with smaller teams (and sometimes larger) is around manageability.

Clients will come to us wanting to move to Azure to minimize manageability. On-premises, you’re managing all the physical components including your own infrastructure, server(s), hardware (including the refresh cycles), the contracts, warranties, troubleshooting random issues, failed disks, the list goes on and on.

All that goes away when you move to the cloud. However, there is a learning curve in the beginning. It’s still a new system you must figure out.

Short-term you may have to spend some time with it, but long-term, you end up with a single pane of glass and better tools to see exactly what’s going on in terms of data and analytics inside your infrastructure. This type of reporting includes what your infrastructure is doing, what it's costing to run specific resources. There’s also added feature benefits like the ability to fail over and manage, disaster recovery scenarios.

The manageability of the platform is great, but let’s level the expectations. If your primary goal is to alleviate management from internal IT staff and free them up to do other things, just expect that learning curve, especially in the beginning,

See if Azure if right for you with an Azure Migrate assessment. See if you qualify for a free assessment today!

Who Should Be Involved in Your Decision to Migrate to Azure?

Who exactly should be a part of your discovery phase conversations?

Technology no longer sits just in the IT department, so while we often don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, it’s important to involve key stakeholders from different departments and at the very least should include the CEO, CFO, and CTO/CIO (or whoever is your IT lead).

During the discovery phase, you’ll want to focus on two main things: the business use case(s) specific to your organization as well as the actual assessment itself. In other words, what is the data telling you?

The business use case is more important than running the tool. It's still very important to run the technical tool and get our cost analytics and data. But remember, Azure is a tool, and it wouldn't make any sense for me to implement a tool that isn't solving a problem for the business.

During the discovery phase, you’ll want to focus on two main things: the business use case(s) specific to your organization as well as the actual assessment itself. In other words, what is the data telling you?

The Top Considerations when Moving to Microsoft Azure

Ideally once we've talked about the business use cases, then then we need to look at our current environment. There are 3 main components to look at both technically and non-technically, and are all of equal importance.

Connectivity and Latency

Traditionally, if we're hosting our own infrastructure, our network infrastructure was largely housed in that office, which works well for the traditional client server applications. When we're looking at migrating that infrastructure to Azure, we want to know how our applications and services are going to be affected by that. This is because what we're doing is we're separating the client from the infrastructure that they're interacting with, and that can cause performance issues. Essentially, it could negatively impact the users’ productivity. and we want to really avoid that at all costs and figure out how we can overcome it.

When you go to move these things, you immediately create latency between wherever it was to where it's going in Azure. What we need to find out to know if Azure migration makes sense is looking at individual server roles, services and applications and seeing what latency and network requirements they have and how those can met by Azure. If not everything is compatible, a hybrid solution could work. Hybrid scenario - initial investment on IT infrastructure & connectivity, servers, etc. Biz requirements change you need more storage, remote users. Instead of another large capex, you could solve storage or compute, by putting that workload in Azure

We really want to figure out how our applications and services are going to be affected by that change, which brings us to our next point…

The End User Experience

The end user experience ties into latency because if latency is poor, that affects the end user. We need to figure out how will that negatively impact the department or company - whoever is using these resources? Are we creating a net new server and this is an upgrade or move to a different version or are we moving it as is? In relationship to end user impact and latency, does anything change in regard to accessing information? How are processes affected? What changes in usability are there? Do they need to log in to VPN, use remote app, etc? It’s important to note that adoption rate will be large factor in success/failure

The ideal goal is that the end user experience gets better, but oftentimes it's, it's kind of an afterthought and documentation was poor, or training or communication was poor. We want to make sure those things are at the forefront of our decisions to make sure that users can still connect and aren’t disrupted and have what they need to be successful.

Cloud Costs

Once we've overcome the technical components and understand how our end user experience will be affected, we need to look at costs. We can do this by running cost analytics inside Azure Migrate. During this assessment, we want to look at this new infrastructure we're going to implement and its features and see how we are going to benefit. If the pros outweigh the cons, then the costs might be worth it to migrate. You can also look at Virtual Machine sizing, storage sizing and rightsizing your environment based on your budget.

Next Steps for Migrating to Azure

At the end of the discovery and assessment, you can better understand your business goals as they relate to the cloud, technical limitations and requirements, and changes that need to happen.

What the assessment will tell us if we're seeing if the recommendations align with our performance requirements and budget. Once we have all that information and we have a path forward that gives us a solid foundation to the build a scope of work and a project plan

It’s critical to look at your potential cloud migration from both a business and technical perspective because those lines are becoming more blurred as time goes on. It’s imperative to make sure that your goals align with the technology you’re using.

By Arthur Quan

What is Active Directory Migration?

Active Directory Migration is when you combine two Domains into one.  Splitting part of your Active Directory into a new domain (divestiture) is also an Active Directory Migration.  Active Directory Migrations involve the movement of users, computers, and the associated applications to a new domain making them very complex by nature.

An Active Directory Migration tool is a software that helps you migrate the appropriate objects.

Why do companies need this?

The most common use case for an Active Directory migration is for companies going through mergers, acquisitions, and/or divestitures.

When one company buys another company, the cost of maintaining two separate AD infrastructures can be prohibiting. This is where Active Directory Migrations become important.  It’s best to share resources than doing it separately to create alignment. Of course, there may be a specific business reason to keep thing separate from one another, but in general, you want to share them.

Additionally, sometimes a company might sell a business unit to become its own entity (divestitures). This is where an Active Directory Migration can be used to separate this business unit into its own entities.

What Tools Are Needed for an Active Directory Migration?

The size of the companies do not matter; the tools used are always the same.

The main players for an Active Directory migration are Microsoft Active Directory Migration Tool (aka ADMT) and Quest Migration Manager. Additionally, there are sometimes smaller players (such as ForensiT) used for specific purposes like computer account and user profile migrations. For email migrations, you can use hybrid exchange or BitTitan, just to name a few.

Over my career, I have developed a fondness for using Microsoft ADMT with ForensiT.  The main reason to use ADMT is that it’s free while Quest is a paid tool.

The only downside with Using ADMT is that Microsoft has not updated the tool since 2012, but that’s where ForensiT steps in.  From my experience, I can tell that Microsoft ADMT will work up to Server 2016 or Server 2019.

ForensiT is constantly being updated (just like Window 10) every few months with new features.  The lastest version of ForensiT will allow you to migrate computers to Azure AD and migrate computers to a new AD Domain through VPN (which is something that ADMT cannot do).  I only use ADMT to migrate user accounts with password sync from one domain to another and with sidhistory as an option.  ADMT is also good at doing security translations on re-permissioning windows servers with file shares to the new domain.

Microsoft ADMT


  • Free tool from Microsoft
  • Fairly easy to setup
  • Integrates well into all current versions of Windows up Server 2016


  • The product is dated last version was around 2012



  • Very well-designed product for migrating workstations not Servers
  • Fairly easy to setup
  • Update software can be used with the latest version of Windows 10
  • Scales well for large Workstation migrations with many options
  • Inexpensive around $3 per seat


  • Instructions are lacking in some places
  • Computer migrations with windows 10 are hit or miss at best

Quest Migration Manager


  • Many options to do migrations
  • Good documentation and support
  • Integrates well into all current versions of Windows


  • Product is Expensive



  • Good documentation and support
  • Easy to use


  • Product is only used for mail migrations

How to Perform an Active Directory Migration


To start an ADMT migration you will need a windows server (minimum server 2012) with at least 60 gigs of HardDrive space and 12Gigs of Memory. You will also be installing SQL Express 2012 on the server.  The server should be on the domain where all the users are migrating to.

Getting Started

Once you install SQL Express on the box, download the latest version of ADMT.

ForensiT is installed and run from the other domain, as opposed to ADMT where it’s installed in the Domain in which users are migrating to. ForensiT has very good documentation on their website on how to run their tool, but I can tell you from experience it’s the best for workstation and user profile migrations.

One last thought here after doing a lot of AD migrations, I have developed a variety of scripts that augment the software tools I use that have helped me through these complicated AD migrations.  AD migrations are never cookie cutter; they are complicated by nature, and sometimes take years to complete. Patience and persistence are key to successful AD migrations.

FAQs During an Active Directory Migration

Can I have the same password when I migrate to the new domain?

Yes. ADMT comes with a password sync tool.

Can ADMT re-permission my non windows shares?

No, but there are scripts that can help you do this with non-windows CIF shares

Can I have a different account name in the new domain after migrating?

Yes. ADMT can rename your account while preserving all the group memberships.

Will my computer profile migrate with me to the new domain?

Yes. ForensiT will migrate your computer profile to the new domain with all the settings and files.

By Bryan Timm

Windows virtual desktop enables secure, remote desktops, anywhere in the world.

In 2018, Microsoft announced its version of a cloud-based remote desktop service, Windows Virtual Desktop, otherwise known as WVD.

Prior to 2018, Microsoft, and many providers, relied on an on-premise solution to allow remote connections. An on-premise solution meant that the burden of the installation, maintenance, and cost were in the hands of the consumer.

Allowing a new cloud-based platform, in addition to traditional desktop services, means small and medium-sized businesses can now take advantage of remote desktop services, such as WVD. Previously, there was little incentive for SMBs to make the investment into Remote Desktop Solutions (RDS), or any other remote solution, as the cost outweighed most of the benefits. These same businesses can now utilize WVD, hosted through Azure, for a fraction of the price. They even offer the ability to virtualize Windows 7 machines, at no cost, through 2023.

Windows Virtual Desktop is accessible via the Remote Desktop client, supported on:

  • Windows
  • Web
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Microsoft Store Client

Why choose Windows Virtual Desktop as your remote desktop service?

Here are just a few of Windows Virtual Desktop benefits:

  • Persistent Environment: Users can sign in and save their personalized settings to a VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) that can be loaded each time they log in. WVD takes this to the next level and allows multiple users to have a persistent many-to-one desktop environment. Users’ personalized data, shortcuts, files, and settings are saved each time the user makes a change. It’ll also be the familiar Windows 10 Operating System that they’ve been using already.
  • Administration: One of the biggest advantages to WVD is that you can deploy and scale easily through a web-based GUI or PowerShell, giving your IT team the ability to monitor, track, and review all of your Virtual Machines, Users, and Hosted Apps in one easy-to-use management shell.
  • Security: Concerned about a remote workforce and how you’ll keep your company data secure? Worry no more with WVD. The WVD environment is hosted through Microsoft Azure. This means no more worrying about an employee transferring sensitive data to their local device.
  • Compatibility: Microsoft released a Windows 10 version specifically for their cloud-hosted Windows Virtual Desktops. This means that in addition to the Microsoft Office suite being readily available, you can customize the virtual machine to the exact configuration that works for your business. Users will be able to connect from anywhere, and it will be as if they are sitting in the office on a domain-joined computer.
  • Pricing: One of the best parts of WVD, over traditional on-premise solutions, is that Microsoft included WVD access in several license subscriptions including: Microsoft 365 E3, E5, F3, A3, A5, and Business Premium. With an E3 subscription, for example, one license will allow you access to 365 Apps, WVD access, and an Exchange Online mailbox. Your server cost will vary, but Microsoft allows consumers to sign up for multi-year pricing to reduce the overall operating costs. Interested in the costs? We can help.

How does Windows Virtual Desktop work compared to traditional RDS?

  • Profile management utilizing FSLogix stores your information on a file server, and pulls in the user’s profile each time they log in.
  • Tired of lag in Teams calls with colleagues? Microsoft Teams inside WVD does not utilize external networking resources, making your calls peer-to-peer for high-performance.
  • Client Access Licenses (CAL) are required in an RDS environment, but WVD takes advantage of existing Azure licensing so there are no new licensing or costs required on a per-user basis.

Windows Virtual Desktop FAQs

  • Will WVD work for you? A remote workforce means introducing new challenges as an IT administrator. Check out some of the FAQs below on ensuring the networks your end users are on are up for the challenge.
  • What speed should users have at home? The recommended speeds for WVD are 50MB down and 10MB up. Higher speeds are recommended to support homes with multiple users and devices. Each Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as Comcast, provisions a particular download/upload speed to the modem in your home, even if you own your own equipment. Check your speed at home, and make sure you are getting the speeds you are subscribed to. To check your speeds, visit
  • How long should I keep my modem and router? The average age of your typical home networking equipment is three to five years. Given the rapid changes we've seen in WiFI technology, these devices are closer to a three-year lifespan. It's important to ensure you are updating your home networking equipment regularly. If you lease your equipment, contact your ISP to see if updated hardware is available to you.
  • Where can I buy new hardware? ISPs, such as Comcast, will often lease equipment at an additional cost. You can, however, purchase your own equipment from Best Buy, Amazon, or a variety of other retailers. You’ll want to look for WiFi 6 technology. This is new technology that has increased performance speeds, upgrading from WiFi 4 and 5 technology. It allows better performance, especially with homes that are running multiple devices (TVs, Firestick, Apple TV, Xbox, Work Laptop, Personal Laptop, iPhones, etc). Soon, you’ll begin to see manufacturers shift completely way from WiFi 5 or below.
  • How can I check what type of WiFi I have at home? Check your home router specs and compare to the list below. If you have 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n, please look into upgrading as soon as possible.
WiFi Standard Common Name Max Speeds
WiFi 4 802.11n 600MB
WiFi 5 802.11ac 1.3GB
WiFi 6 802.11ax 10-12GB
  • As a user, what happens when I run into an issue on Remote Desktop app?
    • Check to see if an update is available. Upon updating, restart the Remote Desktop client.
    • Restart the computer
    • Check to ensure you have an active internet connection (browse to
  • As an admin, what happens when I run into an issue on Remote Desktop app? If you have worked with a remote desktop solution, you know that one of the most common issues is users logging in and receiving a temporary profile. In a WVD environment, there are some specific steps to identify this issue and to resolve it.
    You can identify failures and issues with WVD logins through event viewer under Event Viewer -> Application and Service Logs > Microsoft > Windows > FSLogix > Operational
    • Note which host server the user is on and then instruct the user to sign out completely from their session, or you can log the user off from the host’s Task Manager.
    • Remote into your server hosting your VHDX files)
    • Launch Computer Management (compmgmt.msc)
      • Navigate to System Tools > Share Folders > Sessions
        • Find the affected user's sessions and select all of them.
        • Right click and choose Close Session
        • Please also sort by username and check for any sessions open as the server (ie: [host server name] may have a user's .vhdx file open)
    • Use file explorer to navigate to the C drive of the last server the user was working on (ie: "\[host server name]C$Users")
    • Open the Users folder and delete any reference to the affected user
    • On the server hosting your VHDX files - Check Disk Management to see if the .vhdx file was mounted locally, and unmount it
    • Have the user log in again



In this video, Jessica talks about the cloud and how it might be the answer to support your remote workforce.

While the cloud seems like it's intangible, there's actually warehouses around the world that are full of servers that are dedicated to certain companies, applications and business needs. The existing infrastructure lives in a physical warehouse but the service itself is what makes it intangible.

Here are the 5 use cases Jessica discusses for utilizing the cloud in your business:

  1. Data backup and storage: if you're still using manual hard drives backing up data or add extra files on an external hard drive, then the cloud can offer a much more efficient and secure way to store this data. On top of that, when you store your files in the cloud, it may come with a backup solution. For example, if your data is stored on the east coast, and your backup is on the west coast. If something happens to the east coast, you still have everything you need
  2. If you have on-site servers and you don't need to for compliance or legal reasons, then a cloud-based system would be a great option. Whatever you own or manage yourself on-premise, your IT team has to continue to patch that server and make those updates so it's as secure as it can be. If you're in the cloud, this is automatically done for you, so your team gets back that time and doesn't need to spend time on this
  3. Does your company have VPN access? A VPN allows you to connect to your company and connect remotely to all the files and applications you need. There can be a lot of lag time with login issues or latency. The cloud eliminates many of these issues and presents a more pleasant user experience and provides the most bandwidth.
  4. Scalability. Scaling usually happens quickly and this can add a lot of weight to your infrastructure if it's not cloud-based, not to mention it's costly (capital expenditures). When you're cloud-based and add new employees, the equipment you need is pretty minimal and everything else is an operating expense. Additionally, you can give the new employee a few logins and they have access to everything they need. Again, this is a huge time saver.
  5.  Cost. When using anything physically on-premise, they will be capital expenditures, versus the cloud which is an operational expense. With operating expenses, you have a more predictable spend.

Microsoft Azure vs AWS vs Google Cloud

In more recent years, public cloud adoption has become an integral part of most businesses' infrastructure strategy and roadmap. Enterprises from around the world have already made the switch from self-hosted infrastructure to public cloud configurations.

And while companies will still need some on-premise technology, they can now develop applications directly in the cloud. In fact, roughly 73% of businesses already have at least one app or part of their infrastructure in the cloud. By 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads will reside in the cloud.

For those looking to go down the road of cloud adoption, several questions come to mind. These are "Which cloud platform should I adopt?" "Which platform provides the most cost-effective services for my needs?" and "How do I go about my cloud adoption?"

How Are Public Clouds Used?

Typically, public cloud services are used as:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) - This allows people to use cloud-based applications.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) - This is a cloud platform that provides runtime environments for developing, managing, and testing applications.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - This is a cloud platform hosting infrastructure components that are present in physical data centers. IaaS is, thus, a virtual data center.

According to industry analyst firm Gartner, the IaaS market has reached $52.9 billion in 2019 and is expected to exceed $83.5 billion by 2021. The SaaS market, on the other hand, is at $87.2 billion and will reach $117.1 billion in two years. Although smaller than both SaaS and IaaS, PaaS will also see steady growth over the coming years. In 2019, the PaaS market is at $18.6 billion, reaching $27.3 billion in 2021.

What's The Public Cloud Market Share

At the moment, three leading cloud platform providers make up the majority of the market share. These are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). As of the first quarter of 2019, AWS dominates the market at a 38% percent market share. It's followed by Microsoft Azure with 18% and Google Cloud at 9%.

Now, even if both Azure and GCP are behind AWS in terms of market shares, they have both seen significant growth in recent years. While AWS has seen 41% in growth, Azure and GCP saw 75% and 83%, respectively.

The Big 3 Cloud Platform Summary Comparison

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  • Amazon Web Services - Having an extensive toolset that continues to expand, AWS's capabilities have a lot to offer for businesses of different sizes and in many industries. Its main issues, however, are in terms of its confusing cost structure and its focus on the public cloud. A lack of attention on hybrid or private clouds means that interoperating with your data center isn't AWS's selling point.
  • Microsoft Azure - With a similarly capable could infrastructure, Azure is a close competitor to AWS. Very few companies have the enterprise background and Windows support of Microsoft. As such, Azure knows that many companies operate their own data centers, focusing much of its effort on the hybrid cloud.
  • Google Cloud Platform - Though it's the underdog in this top 3 competition, GCP is also the one that entered the market last. It also doesn't have the same enterprise focus as its counterparts, meaning that it doesn't draw in as many corporate customers. That said, the platform is well-funded; it has an in-depth technical expertise and is investing significantly in AI, ML, and data analytics.

AWS Vs Azure Vs Google Cloud Customers

Since it's the oldest on the market, AWS also has the biggest community support and user base. Among its high-profile customers, we can include the likes of Unilever, BMW, Netflix, Airbnb, and Samsung.

Azure has also taken its fair share of well-known customers. In fact, almost 80% of Fortune 500 companies use it. Some of these are Fujifilm, HP, Johnson Controls, Polycom, Apple, and Honeywell, among others.

When it comes to Google Cloud, it also has its own high-end companies that use its services. Among the most noteworthy, we can include PayPal, Bloomberg, 20th Century Fox, Dominos, HSBC Bank, and others.

All three cloud providers offer cloud computing services that can meet even the most basic needs. The main difference lies in the total number of services and how these fit with each company's needs. Below, we will be taking a closer look at each of these platforms in more detail and see which services and features distinguish them from their competition.

AWS Pros and Cons

As mentioned, AWS's primary strength is in the public cloud market, being the cloud IaaS majority market share leader for over a decade. One of the reasons for this popularity is its vast scope of operations. AWS has a broad and growing array of available services.

It also provides a comprehensive network of worldwide data centers. In a sense, AWS is the most mature and enterprise-ready cloud provider as it offers the most capabilities of governing large numbers of resources and users.

On the downside, Amazon's platform has cost-related issues. While it has lowered its prices, many find it difficult to understand its cost structure and manage their costs effectively while running high-volume workloads. Another drawback is its limited hybrid or private cloud capabilities.

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Why Choose AWS

AWS is a good choice for both startups and enterprises alike. The platform provides numerous services for both web and analytical workloads as well as large scale data center migrations.

Amazon is also looking to help differently-sized customers by offering niche services via RoboMaker, while also building a virtual private server in the form of LightSail. This way, they want to help even small, single-server workloads to be onboarded without much overhead.

From a compute perspective:

  • AWS provides a wide range of virtual machines (VM) types (136 VM types over 26 VM families) and storage options. This allows customers to run small web workloads to large SAP or HPC workloads.
  • It also provides Bare-Metal-as-a-Service for single tenancy for compliance and regulatory workloads.
  • AWS provides placement groups that ensure virtualized workloads run on designated underlying hardware.

In terms of managed databases, AWS supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Oracle, and MS SQL. They also feature their own PostgreSQL and MySQL compatible database offerings. For NoSQL databases, they provide DynamoDB for key-value and document, Elasticache for key-value caching, and Neptune for graphs.

AWS also provides a managed VPN Gateway, NAT gateway, Direct Connect Gateway, Transit Gateway, and a recently announced Client VPN service. This will remove the need to deploy OpenVPN servers when managing access to the company's VMs.

As far as network security is concerned, AWS has managed services for:

  • Web Application Firewall (WAF)
  • AWS Inspector
  • AWS Shield for DDoS protection
  • GuardDuty for threat detection
  • AWS Config and CloudTrail for inventory auditing and policy management

For data security, AWS provides:

  • KMS and CloudHSM services for key management
  • Encryption at Rest for most storage services
  • Macie - an AI-driven data loss prevention (DLP) service

Microsoft Azure Pros and Cons

Though Azure came later on the cloud market than AWS, it got a significant jumpstart by taking its on-premise software and moving it to the cloud. This includes Windows Server, Office365, Sharepoint, .Net, SQL Server, Dynamics Active Directory, and more.

This is particularly important since many businesses use Windows and other Microsoft software. And as Azure is highly integrated with these applications, companies that use Microsoft software will also feel at home using Azure. Also, those that are already Microsoft enterprise customers can expect sizable discounts.

The drawbacks of Azure sometimes come in the form of technical support, training, documentation, and the width of its ISV partner ecosystem.

Why Choose Azure

Azure also provides a wide range of features that may be preferred by customers that are already using Microsoft products. With over 151 VM types over 26 VM families, Azure can support both small web workloads as well as SAP, HPC, and Oracle workloads. It also has Windows and Linux distros like CentOS, SUSE, RHEL, and Ubuntu, as well as a separate family of instances for AI/ML workloads.

For those who want to interface Azure and run services in their own data centers, they can use Azure Stack, its hybrid cloud computing software solution. The platform also offers support for hybrid storage apps like StorSimple. Data centers with predominantly Microsoft workloads that need to migrate to the cloud can use Azure Site Recovery to do so.

When it comes to SQL and NoSQL databases:

  • Azure provides managed MS SQL Server and SQL Datawarehouse
  • Managed databases for MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB
  • Azure Table for managed key-value storage
  • CosmosDB for multi-model globally distributed NoSQL database

In terms of billing, Azure provides a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model. Those that have existing enterprise accounts can also pre-purchase Azure subscriptions as part of their annual renewals. This makes it easier for budgeting.

Google Cloud Platform Pros and Cons

Unlike the other two, GCP specializes in high compute offerings in the form of ML, Big Data, and analytics. It also offers great scale and load balancing. Many customers choose to use GCP as a secondary provider. Nevertheless, those that are more open-source and DevOps-centric will tend to go with GCP as their main cloud provider.

In terms of downsides, Google's platform doesn't offer the same array of features and services like Azure or AWS. It also doesn't have as many global data centers as its two main competitors, but it's expanding at a rapid pace.

Why Choose GCP

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While Google has the smallest number of VM sizes (28 instance types over 4 categories), it makes up for it by allowing its customers to create their own custom sizes based on memory and CPU. This means that users can match their cloud workloads sizing to their own on-premise sizing.

Billing is also based on the total memory and CPU used rather than VMs, which reduces the overall waste of unused capacity. Another waste-reducing feature is its per-second billing instead of the traditional per-hour method. Google also provides automatic discounts that can reduce the on-demand price. The sustained use discount, for instance, offers a price reduction when a VM runs more than a certain number of hours in a month. This makes GCP the most cost-effective cloud provider.

VM startup times in GCP are very fast, making scaling out especially responsive. The platform also helps its users assess, plan, and live-migrate their VMs to GCP for free. It does this through its third-party cloud migration tools like CloudPhysics, Velostrata, and CloudEndure.

Having a global, low latency network, GCP is great at its networking. While other cloud providers limit their VPC networks to any given region, Google's VPC network spans all its regions. This makes it easier to build applications for global customers without the need for cross-region infrastructure design or data replication. The same thing goes for object storage.

GCP provides support for managed PostgreSQL and MySQL databases. Also, for those wanting a globally distributed database, they can use Spanner. This is Google's NewSQL globally distributed database service that provides developers a production-ready storage solution that uses consensus algorithms and atomic clocks, among other such features. These help with synchronizing transactions between nodes.

What Cloud Solution is Best for You?

While the aforementioned services are not all that each platform has to offer, they are, however, the most noteworthy features that set them apart from one another. That said, here is a short rundown to help you make a decision.

Choosing AWS - Amazon's platform has a rich collection of tools and services for large scale uses. That said, you should make sure to understand its pricing structure before running a high volume of workloads on the service.

AWS is a good fit for:

  • Larger companies
  • More global reach
  • Flexibility and a wide range of services
  • Stable and reliable services

Choosing Azure - Azure's biggest appeal is its Microsoft software integrations. Similarly, the platform's focus on the hybrid cloud helps bridge your legacy data center environment with the scalable Microsoft cloud.

Azure is a good fit for:

  • Developers
  • Companies operating on Windows-based business apps and platforms
  • Migrating to the cloud for the first time
  • Companies needing a hybrid solution

Choosing GCP -  Google is a great platform in terms of its application container deployments, big data, ML, and analytics capabilities. It also offers the best pricing model of all the three.

GCP is a good fit for:

  • Its comprehensive container-based model
  • Its hyperscale networking environment
  • Developing and deploying cloud-based apps and software
  • Companies already ahead with their digital migration and that want a leaner, more cost-efficient, and greener tech solution

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Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s official cloud computing service that is used for creating, testing, deploying, and managing services and applications on a global network via Microsoft’s data centers. These cloud services aim to meet the needs of small and large businesses. They offer Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (Paas), and Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas). Microsoft Azure is exceptionally versatile since it supports numerous programming languages, frameworks, and tools from both Microsoft and third-party providers. However, a system this big does carry with it some pros and cons. These are the things to consider when looking at Microsoft Azure.

Pros of Microsoft Azure

Microsoft is a one-stop destination for developers, and these are the benefits that such a service offers.


Microsoft Azure is a giant in the world of cloud computing. They have the highest number of data centers in the world, which means that they offer incredible availability. This means that you can rely on them for all almost all-year reliable cloud services.

Highly Secured

Security is of extreme importance in the world of cloud services, and Microsoft Azure knows this. They implement a Detect, Assess, Diagnose, Stabilize, and Close security model. This model allows Azure to implement multiple security steps which help assure the safety of your data. They also offer protection to the end-user, which significantly lowers the risk of data loss.


Microsoft Azure is the second-largest cloud computing solution in the world, with more than 600 products available. Services range from Management tools to AI machine learning. With such a large number of cloud resources and services, combined with the possibility of third-party apps and tools, Azure can provide everything you need for development.

Scalable and Cost-Effective Scalability

Data use is not always consistent. Some days you maximize data use, and other times you use a minimal amount. Azure allows you to manage the computing power you need when you need it. It allows you to upgrade and remove the services easily, and only pay for what you use.

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Cons of Microsoft Azure

Just like any system that offers a lot of value, it has to come with some drawbacks. Here are two of the major cons that come with Microsoft Azure.

Requires Management for Effective Use

While Azure allows you to lower costs for purchasing hardware and locally maintaining infrastructure, it still needs you to handle data management. It does not assist in managing cloud-based data centers, which means that you will still need to hire people that know how to use Microsoft Azure and can handle server monitoring and patching. This means you will still need to spend some money on a professional or manage that part yourself.

Your Location can Affect Speed

While Microsoft Azure covers 54 regions in the world, it does not have the same performance in all countries. Locations such as Europe, the U.S, Australia, India, Japan, and China are reliable and seamless. Businesses can enjoy quick and easy data access whenever they need it. However, areas such as South America, Africa, and Canada have limited regions. Speed is an issue depending on your location.

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