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Mike Wilson

Archiving Data in Azure Just Got Way More Affordable with Azure Blob Storage

Archiving Data in Azure Just Got Way More Affordable with Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob storage, which is the ability for Azure to store all your unstructured data, now has an offer which provides a low cost to store archival and less used information. The cost of the first 100 Terabytes for local redundant storage is only 1 penny per month. Holy cow!   

Azure Blob storage is divided into two tiers - hot and cold.


Hot Tier

The hot tier stores the data you access and rely on the most. Hot storage has a higher storage cost but much lower access and transactional costs.

Cold Tier

The cold storage tier is the opposite: data you don’t access frequently that costs less to store but more to access. Azure Blob also gives you complete control over your data needs and storage priorities, allowing you to change your blobs of data from hot to cold (and vice versa) all within your Azure environment.

The best thing about Blob Storage in Azure is that the temperature of your data doesn’t impact access performance. There’s an insignificant difference (milliseconds) between data performance on hot and cold tiers. So, when you find yourself in a situation where cold data has suddenly become hot, you won’t face any delay in accessing the cold data like Azure’s major competitor. And like everything in Azure, the security, scalability, and durability of data operations doesn’t change between data temperatures.

With Azure Blob Storage, the focus is on optimizing your data, not the processes required to use the data effectively.

The business case for Azure Cloud Storage is strong.


Want more?

Below is a short video - Get started with Azure Storage that coveres how to get started using Azure Storage services including blobs, tables, files, and queues from Windows and Linux.

Click Here to learn more about the costs around Azure Hot and Cool Storage and contact us for the best advice on how to build your workloads in Azure including setting up new blobs.

Matt Scherocman

Six Reasons Microsoft Azure SQL Database Provides the Best Data Security Around

Six Reasons Microsoft Azure SQL Database Provides the Best Data Security Around

Companies leveraging the cloud for business have a multitude of options. They also have a lot of security concerns when transitioning their data to the cloud. Microsoft has built on the SQL Server foundation, bringing a new level of security to help ease the mind of these cloud-driven companies with six enhancements. All of which are crucial reasons to consider Microsoft Azure SQL Database as your company’s cloud platform of choice:

  1. Always Encrypted: Exactly how it sounds, Always Encrypted means your data remains encrypted…all the time to help you protect sensitive data. Data is encrypted in transit, in memory, on a disk, and during query processing.

  2. Transparent Data Encryption: For those of us constantly keeping up on compliance regulations and requirements, this encrypts databases with associated backups as well as transaction log files without needing changes to your applications. The audit trail is clear in order to stay in compliance while keeping data safe from any breach.

  3. Row-Level Security: This feature can limit access to individual rows of data based on a user's identity, role, or query execution context to ensure only the right people can view that data. This also simplifies the application code so that data isn’t accidently shared in any situation.



  4. Azure Active Directory (AD) Authentication: Different from SQL Authentication, Azure AD
    Authentication simplifies password management by allowing you to access a number of Azure services using the same identity. This does not compromise the level of security. It reduces the amount of IT time spends on retrieving lost passwords and login details while maintaining access control every step of the way.

  5. Dynamic Data Masking: Another, more sophisticated, form of encryption allows users to define masking patterns on actual database columns. For example, users can set a masking rule that masks all but the last four digits of any social security number in the result set of any query to ensure that sensitive data is truly safe.

  6. SQL Database Threat Detection: This feature alerts set users of any suspicious database activities automatically and complements Azure SQL Database Auditing, which records database events and writes audited events to an audit log in the Azure Storage account. 

    Microsoft Azure SQL Database Security

Both features are great examples of how users can monitor and quickly respond to risk. Advanced Threat Analytics is yet another approach to helping users stay ahead of sophisticated malware attacks.

Another (bonus) reason to consider Azure SQL Database that’s best shared through this diagram, courtesy of Microsoft Azure, is that SQL Server’s track record speaks for itself. When you’re in the cloud, you can’t be vulnerable and SQL Server lives up to that motto…six years running!

microsoft azure sql database unparalleded security

Data security in the cloud isn’t a set it and forget it process. It is a constant work in progress because the security risks keep changing and technology keeps advancing. Choosing Microsoft as your partner in mitigating those risks is a smart and educated decision in keeping your data safe.

Learn more about these security enhancements by downloading the Security and Azure SQL Database whitepaper and contact us at Interlink for more information.

SQL Modernization Assessment Ad

 

Matt Scherocman

Is Disaster Recovery important when using the cloud? Yes!

Disaster Recovery or DR for short, is a hot topic for many companies and with the spate of hacks and natural disasters and incredible storms, i.e. the snowstorm that hit Buffalo, NY just a few weeks ago, has many companies revisiting their disaster recovery solutions. Today’s blog will talk about DR for your applications running in
Azure.

 

Just because you are storing your app in the cloud doesn’t mean you don’t need a DR strategy, should something like mentioned above happen; are you fully prepared for a temporary or even large scale failure? Before you answer that question, let me ask you another question. Does your company rehearse these failures? Has your company determined what applications, should they go down, what your tolerance level is for that app(s)? Some things to consider when creating your cloud DR plan:

  1. Test your recovery of databases to ensure you have the correct process in place
  2. High Availability
  3. Availability
  4. Scalability
  5. Fault Tolerance

Azure DR

DR is a key component to every company’s long-term success. Taking a short-sighted approach to a DR strategy isn’t sound business. As more and more companies put more and more business critical applications in the cloud, the attention paid to DR needs to be evaluated with each application that goes into the cloud, the impact its failure can have on a company and the impact it can have as it is recovered.

In addition to dealing with unexpected disasters, rolling back failed changes and handling data corruption issues are key considerations that sometimes get forgotten when deploying to cloud platforms with greater than 99.99% uptime. 

Microsoft Azure services have a number of ways that you can meet this challenge.  For more detailed information on how to setup your Azure DR strategy for your applications running in Azure you can check out a white paper here.

Microsoft EA Renewal
Matt Scherocman

Microsoft Azure Learning Roadmap

Microsoft Azure Learning Roadmap

Microsoft Azure Roadmap

Microsoft’s Azure platform is an every changing platform. We are often asked is there a place I can go to find out what’s going on with Azure, what’s changing and when? Well, today we have that answer for you. Below you will find a small sample from an Azure learning roadmap, some are videos, or demos, tutorials and even sample apps:

  • Deep Dive – a video recording from a TechEd conference in Europe
  • Azure Search scenarios and capabilities – primary scenarios enabled by current functionality
  • Introduction to Azure search – Video recording the explains the architecture and capabilities of Azure search

As you’ll see when you visit the Microsoft site found here, there are lots of ways to keep up with what’s going on with Azure.  A notable omission on this site is licensing. If you would like to learn what licensing options you have available give us a call and we can walk you through your options along with information on any Microsoft funding that is available. 

Microsoft EA Renewal
Sarah Bunt

What are the Compliance Updates to Windows Azure?

Windows Azure Compliance Updates: PCI DSS and ISO


PCI DSS Compliance

We are pleased to announce that Windows Azure has been validated for compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) by an independent Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). The QSA has issued an Attestation of Compliance, having audited the Windows Azure against the PCI DSS 2.0 security standards for Level 1. To assist customers in achieving PCI DSS certification, Microsoft is making the Windows Azure PCI Attestation of Compliance and Windows Azure Customer PCI Guide available for immediate download.

Visit the Trust Center for a list of other compliance and certifications.

What is the PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) is an information security standard designed to prevent credit card fraud through increased controls around credit card data. PCI certification is required for all organizations (merchants and payment service providers) that process credit card transactions.

Is Windows Azure PCI “certified”?
As a cloud provider, Windows Azure does not directly manage cardholder environments, and therefore, is not eligible for PCI certification. However, Windows Azure has been validated by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) as providing a secure environment that merchants can use to achieve their own PCI certification.

What Windows Azure services are in scope?
The Information Security Management System (ISMS) for Windows Azure, including infrastructure, development, operations and support for Compute, Data Services, App Services and Network Services are in scope for the PCI DSS Attestation of Compliance. This includes everything listed under Services on http://www.windowsazure.com/. The Windows Azure datacenters in the following regions are in scope: Asia Pacific East (Hong Kong), Asia Pacific Southeast (Singapore), Europe North (Ireland), Europe West (Netherlands), US North Central (Illinois), US South Central (Texas), US East (Virginia), and US West (California).

 

This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Welcome to the Interlink Cloud Blog

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.

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