What’s included in Microsoft Azure?

Azure is a comprehensive cloud computing platform from Microsoft. It offers a wide range of integrated services including infrastructure, databases, AI and analytics. There are more than 200 products and services included in Microsoft Azure that we can use to build, run and manage your applications.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Compared to an on-premises infrastructure, Azure is a public cloud environment that provides:

  • scalability to handle growing workloads
  • flexibility to adapt to changing business needs
  • enhanced security and compliance features
  • cost optimisation through PAYG resource utilisation

Azure plays a key role in Microsoft’s ambition to make big business computing accessible for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Many components included in Microsoft Azure have been designed to give smaller businesses a competitive advantage.

The Azure components included in Microsoft Azure for SMEs

For SMEs, the most useful Azure components are:

Azure Active Directory (AAD)

This is a central directory that includes all users and devices. From here, we can centrally govern them and assign policies. Among many other functions in AAD, we can manage user accounts, create security groups and set user access permissions. It’s also where we set policies for Conditional Access, Single Sign-on, Multi-Factor Authentication, Self-Service Password Reset and Password Protection.

Azure Virtual Network (vNET)

With Azure’s vNet service we can create isolated, virtual networks to securely accommodate Azure Virtual Machines. It enables secure communication between Azure resources, on-premises networks and the internet.

Azure Virtual Machines (VMs)

These are cloud-based servers that live in an Azure virtual network rather than physical, office-based machines that run on your on-premises network. The benefits of being virtual include being able to:

  • deploy the machines easily
  • change the VM size as workloads alter
  • scale out and scale in (increasing the quantity of available machines)
  • shut down VMs when not in use to save compute costs

Microsoft has deployed a vast range of security controls to these machines in Azure.

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

This is a Windows 10/11 desktop that runs in the cloud. Users access it via the web. We can create either a full remote desktop experience or deliver the applications only, whichever experience works best for your employees or business model. In the latter case, the apps are launched by familiar icons on the user’s local machine. They appear to be running on the local device, as if installed onto that machine, but are in fact running in the cloud.

Azure Storage

Microsoft offers an entire range of storage options in Azure which vary in price. This allows us to store several types of data in separate places. Categorising your data and choosing a combination of different storage options to suit each type is another way of controlling costs.

Azure Backup

Unless you need to have an on-premises backup, you can say goodbye to the cost of third-party backup systems. Azure Backup includes Virtual Machines (VMs), Azure files, SQL databases, and more. It utilises incremental snapshots to achieve near-instantaneous recovery of a complete server. This significantly reduces downtime.

Azure Site Recovery (ASR)

ASR delivers cloud-based disaster recovery and business continuity by automatically copying data to an Azure datacentre in a different region. In the case of a disaster, the idle resources at the recovery site are switched-on and staff continue working from the recovery site until the original issue is fixed.


Helps us manage and secure your devices, applications and data from a central platform. We can enforce configuration and security policies, distribute software, and protect company data on a wide range of devices, including Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS.


Autopilot is a technology for configuring new Windows devices by managing the out-of-box-experience (OOBE). Utilising Intune, it installs software and applies configuration and security policies once the end user has connected to the internet and signed-in to the new device.

Universal Print

This moves the printing function to the cloud and allows for central management via the Azure portal. It configures the user’s device to allow secure printing to the company’s network printers.

Azure Advisor

Azure Advisor delivers tailored recommendations for enhancing Azure deployments based on usage and configuration data. Intelligent algorithms ensure Azure solutions are optimised for cost, security, reliability, operational excellence and performance, and in line with best practices.

Security and Governance included in Microsoft Azure

Azure comes with multiple layers of built in protection including identity and access management, threat detection, encryption, isolated virtual networks and data loss prevention. This helps us safeguard your applications, data and infrastructure in the cloud.

Azure’s tools and best practices for implementing consistent policies and controls across the company ensures compliance, allows us to manage costs, and enforces security and operational standards.

Even without fully implementing Azure, you can still get access to some of these great features if you simply upgrade your 365 licenses to Business Premium.

If you’d like to understand more about what’s included in Microsoft Azure and what moving to Microsoft Azure can help your business achieve, we’re here to answer your questions.


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