For many of us, Covid shifted the work landscape from clocking in every day at a brick-and-mortar establishment to rolling out of bed and pecking away at work functions from some crummy makeshift desk six feet away from the rest of your life.
This was a fundamental shift for how many of us conducted business going forward. It obviously introduced a hybrid work environment for people who were not accustomed to it. Most of the buzz came from Zoom, but its web conference competitors Microsoft Teams and SharePoint gained significant exposure, too.
Any IT professional working with the on-premises world of server infrastructure saw an IT management headache looming. Modern IT with 365 services were clashing with traditional IT.
Covid forced us to merge the two worlds
Stationary computers that were once located in a cubicle now found themselves tossed in the back of someone’s car and set up at home for the next year or so; the “modern IT” setup was born out of the necessity to manage mobile devices.
The more commonly known service for managing all that IT is called MDM, or Mobile Device Management. It originated in the early 2000s with Blackberries, later iPhones, and Android devices. The management of Mac and PC computers in the traditional IT environment was a bit of an odd relationship: On-premises server infrastructure dictated the rocky relationship through use of central user authentication and group policies, but devices became orphans if they were off the network for too long.
No joke, the IT admins get daily messages about these orphans crying to be connected once again. VPNs bridging work from remote may be a stop gap measure, but it became the wild west for remote connectivity solutions during the height of covid and retaining IT to live to fight another day, let alone any effort to reign in the management of all this technology.
Traditional computer authentication workflow
Here’s an example for you to imagine: Bob clocks in at 8A.M. and grabs a cup of coffee before catching up on 50 emails from the prior day. However, authentication must happen between the user Bob and the server infrastructure hosting the service called a domain controller. The granted access gives the ability to view the desktop profile featuring his wife and kids in the background (if the group policies permit it), open files and folders on the file server, email, and the legacy application hosted on one of the servers for performing most of his day’s activities.
Azure IT support
The boutique service offering of remote desktop applications to users who were lucky enough to use this high-profile user function became the center of all things remote access. The expense of this once-novelty setup for remote users, along with the IT Management of all these remote devices, quickly became a nightmare.
As discussed, Covid was an all-hands-on-deck transition to cloud computing. While band-aid solutions like LogMeIn got people immediate access, Microsoft Azure and 365 offered a permanent solution: Azure AD tied the two together through identity management.
Basically, Azure is beautiful in that much of the hardware implementation became a thing of the past, but Azure’s plethora of features makes it incredibly challenging for the novice user to use. It is also hard for these users to appreciate what it does best and to take advantage of those features. You could get into weeds of Azure and attempt to use it for setting up a website, but that’s not what it is optimized for – which leads us to the Azure hybrid setup.
What is Azure best used for?
Azure is better suited for renting computing space for developers like AWS. It’s also great for cloud identity management for authenticating an organization’s devices. From there, you can dive deep into the Azure hybrid setup with Windows hosted desktop, virtualizing that on-premise infrastructure into the cloud, and data storage/backup duties. My personal favorite is utilizing an Azure as the conduit for two disparate systems, i.e., using an Azure hybrid setup as a way for a payroll platform and time tracking system to talk to each other through the use of an API.
Microsoft 365 role in Azure
We go into crazy depth about Microsoft 365 service offering and subscription branding in prior articles. Unfortunately, because it’s based off of the SaaS model, there are monthly subscriptions for everything. While you can start off with the Business Basic subscription that gets you the Office application, you’ll suddenly find yourself thinking, “Wait, I want email hosting! I want to manage my organization’s user authentication, so I need security and group policies!” In other words, the list of subscriptions may grow very quickly.
The one common thread between Azure and 365 is the identification management. Circling back to the merging of two worlds, identification management is of 365 and Azure IT support. Silly, right? Why are people’s credentials so important to an IT professional?
Welp, imagine that that individual that drove home from work during the height of the pandemic with the computer in the trunk lost all connectivity to all those traditional components of an IT infrastructure. Suddenly, central management of everything – including your username and password – became not too shabby of an idea. This identification management is also a critical way of covering all bases.
Remember the VPN solution? VPN, like many service offerings, may or may not be joined to a centralized management solution like LDAP for traditional IT or Azure AD in modern IT. It became the central reason why the story of an east coast oil pipeline shuttered access to oil for many states.
It turned out that a zombie user account of someone who was no longer employed had been the reason that hackers were able to completely compromise the network. The idea of this happening becomes a lot less likely if a central user and device management were being used.
Azure hybrid setup resources
If you can relate to any part of this article, you may be wondering how you can also start utilizing some of the solutions we discussed above. Luckily, we already have a plethora of how-to and informational articles to help you with Azure hybrid setup and any other Azure IT support-related issues.
Check out our list below:
Azure Hybrid Setup Summary
The landscape of technology in the workplace has changed drastically since the pandemic. Traditional IT has given way to modern IT practices as cloud computing has become the new norm. Azure’s solutions to identification management and cloud computing are great but can be difficult for a novice to navigate.
Thankfully, we have a ton of resource articles at your disposal on Azure IT support. If you have any questions, let us know how we can help you!