Interlink Cloud Blog

Interlink Cloud Blog

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.
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

 

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Matt Scherocman

SQL Server in the Public Cloud: SQL Database vs. SQL Server on Azure VMs

SQL Server in the Public Cloud: SQL Database vs. SQL Server on Azure VMs

When it comes to hosting SQL Server in the public cloud, there are two major options. 

  1. SQL Database
  2. SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (VMs)

Customers can choose just one or both, as each is designed for different SQL workloads and fit into Microsoft’s platform a different way.

In order to choose the right route for your application workload, you’ll want to match your business requirements with the benefits and capabilities of these two options. But first, know that if you choose a cloud path, you don’t have to be all in the cloud. Same goes for an on-premises direction. A hybrid cloud option, which means having part of your data centers in the cloud while keeping a select workloads on-premises, is what most businesses choose and what Microsoft’s cloud platform is built for.

The diagram below, courtesy of Microsoft Azure, shows the relation of cloud options to the level of administration you have over the infrastructure and the degree of cost efficiency:

SQL Server in the Public Cloud

The public cloud options (represented in blue) are outlined below, starting with…

Microsoft Azure SQL Database

SQL Database is hosted, and maintained by Microsoft. This Azure cloud platform is categorized as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) and offers a few desirable features to help companies scale efficiently. First of which is cost flexibility. Users pay as they go, scaling up or down for more power and little interruption. You can also develop directly on the service using Azure's built-in features and functionality.

#1 Benefit: Lowered Overall Cost and Administration

In addition to lowering the overall cost of running multiple databases, SQL Database reduces ongoing administration costs because you don’t need a full IT team to manage any virtual machines, operating systems, or database software.

How to Purchase

SQL Database is sold as a service, not with a license. In order to limit your cost exposure, clients will need to manage and monitor what is in use along with what can be scaled back to reduce subscription fees.

Administration

With SQL Database, you can continue to administer your database, but Microsoft takes care of the underlying hardware, can replicate data to provide high availability, configures and upgrades the database software, manages load balancing, and does transparent failover if there is a server failure. Ultimately, taking away the time-consuming administration duties.

SQL Server on Azure VMs

SQL Server on Azure VMs allows you to run SQL Server inside a virtual machine in the cloud. This falls under the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) category and is meant to extend on premise SQL Server applications to the cloud.

#1 Benefit: Customizability

If you already have a full-time IT staff and need administrative rights, yet desire a fully customizable setup, SQL Server on Azure VMs is optimized exactly for your scenario.

How to Purchase

Traditional SQL Server licensing is available for SQL Server on Azure VMs. Customers with current software assurance have the ability to run use that license to cover their instances of SQL within Azure. If there is a workload running full time, it is typically less expensive to purchase the SQL than to subscribe to it in scenario 1. 

Administration

SQL Server on Azure VMs makes it possible to keep control over database location down to the location of the disk. You can upgrade on your own schedule.

When deciding what public cloud option is right for you, assess your situation first and determine which workloads fit which cloud scenarios best.  Keep in mind that you may want to reuse licensing that may already be used to run the same workload on premises. 

Whatever your situation, Interlink can help you determine the best fit and then take the right next steps from there. Contact Interlink.

SQL Modernization Assessment Ad

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Sarah Bunt

[On-Demand Webinar] Microsoft Azure Disaster Recovery Scenarios - with Demo

[On-Demand Webinar] Microsoft Azure Disaster Recovery Scenarios - with Demo

Ensure your critical business data is never lost and always safe.

An entirely new breed of threats has emerged that can to knock out your business applications and data.

Join Microsoft and Microsoft Heartland Area Partner of the Year - Interlink Cloud Advisors for an exclusive on-demand webinar that demonstrates how Azure Site Recovery - a hybrid solution for disaster recovery - protects and maintains all your applications and data, without having to maintain a secondary data center.  

view Azure Disaster Recovery Scenarios

Designed for all business and IT professionals, this session walks you through the Azure Site Recovery solution includes a product overview and live demo.

This webinar covers some of the most common workload scenarios and questions, including:

  • Overview of Disaster Recovery solutions
  • Prioritizing workloads for failover
  • Building plans to encompass all types of disasters
  • Pricing options
  • Funding available from Microsoft

Plus, you’ll hear a ton of questions that were asked from our audience during the live event.

View this on-demand event now to hear best practices and insights into using the cloud as your disaster recovery tool.


Presenter

mike wilson

Mike Wilson
V. President | Managing Consultant
Microsoft VTSP and Top Microsoft Cloud Certified

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Matt Scherocman

The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit – Don’t Purchase Windows Server Twice

microsoft azure hybrid use benefit

One of the primary reason companies move their software to the cloud is because of the cost savings, but there are still ramp-up expenses to consider even if it’s not a capital expense anymore. As companies undergo the transition to the cloud, whether it be a hybrid solution or all in the cloud, every little bit of savings counts.

Until now, many organizations have owned Windows Server licensing through a licensing agreement and then purchased access to Windows Server again when they setup a new virtual machine on Azure. Many clients were paying for the same functionality twice!

The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit has changed all of that. As of February 1, 2016, the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit lets those owning Windows Server Licenses with Software Assurance to use that existing license on Azure, which saves money. For each Windows Server 2 processor license with Software Assurance, customers may run two virtual machines with up to 8 cores each or one virtual machine with up to 16 cores.

Azure hybrid use benefit savings chart

Savings based on a D2 instance in US East 2 Region, operating at the full time hourly rate, and including the cost of Software Assurance. (source)

Next Steps

The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit is Microsoft’s effort to help you get the most value from licenses, on-premises and in the cloud. But first find out…

  • Do You Qualify? The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit is currently available for customers with Windows Server licenses covered with Software Assurance.
  • What Next? The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit is applied by creating a Windows virtual machine through PowerShell and setting the new license Type property for each virtual machine. Windows virtual machines with the new property are billed at the base compute rate, with a specific notation in the bill that the benefit has been applied.

Do you want to save with this new Azure Hybrid Use Benefit? Check out the FAQ here and contact us to learn more!

* Base compute rate is described in the FAQ.

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Sarah Bunt

On-Demand Webinar: Microsoft Azure Real World Scenarios [with Demo]

microsoft azure on demand webinar

Want to get one step closer to cloud readiness?

Learn how to embrace the power of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform in this on-demand webinar.

Please join Microsoft and Microsoft Heartland Area Partner of the Year - Interlink Cloud Advisors as we showcase the impact the Azure cloud platform can have across a variety of workloads through a live demo.

Designed for all business and IT professionals, this session will walk you through the Azure platform and how you can use it to can extend your data center, while working seamlessly with your existing tools and infrastructure. 

view webinar slides azure purple

We'll cover some of the most common workload scenarios and questions, including:

  • Speed to market - quickness of setting up and provisioning a server with Azure [demo]
  • Protecting data with off-site backups
  • Business continuance and disaster recovery
  • Cost-effective, on-demand dev/test environments
  • Funding available from Microsoft

Whether you have already started moving workloads to the cloud or are just getting started, this webinar offers some best practices and insights into promotions that can further accelerate your cloud projects.

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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.