Accelerating DevOps in Azure Environments With Office 365

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Accelerating DevOps in Azure Environments With Office 365

Things that tie into the broader Cloud that I believe Office users would find useful when managing their infrastructure, their data, and collaborating.

· DevOps Zone ·
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Office 365 is Microsoft's Cloud delivery of Office.  That includes traditional Office applications, like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, et cetera. However, it also comes with many Enterprise features to enable things like data loss prevention, conditional access to resources, and Office 365 message encryption. There are a lot of things that tie into the broader Cloud that I believe Enterprise Office users would find very familiar and very useful when it comes to managing their infrastructure, managing their data, and how they collaborate.

Gartner estimates that Office 365 is twice as popular in enterprises as Google apps.

 One reason it is popular is that it includes the MS version of Slack, called Microsoft Teams, which comes with Office 365. So if your organization subscribes to Office 365, you get all that for free. During the 2Q of 2020 Teams users went from 30+ million users to 90 million users.

The success of Teams really depends on what you try to do with it.  We work a lot in the financial services space, so our instances are less straightforward.  There is usually some unique data retention and compliance requirements.  Clients usually do not give physical desktops to their users either, they provision everything through VMware vSphere. So, they give everybody virtual desktops.

 Slack implementations cannot really handle compliance needs for enterprises since it is primarily used only for messaging, but Office 365 can. There are some things that Teams does well, and there is some things they need help with.  If you just have some simple messaging needs and you just want to be able to IM people, then we can see why organizations would just want that and use something like Slack.  But the value add for Office 365 is how well it ties into Azure Active Directory and compliance and data loss prevention; exchange online can do basically automatic message encryption.

There are a lot of value-added features for enterprises that make Office 365, especially if you are already somewhat tied to the Microsoft ecosystem, a good choice.  If you do not have as intensive requirements around data loss prevention and archiving, we can see why an organization would just stick to something like G Suite.

With Teams, you can set so many different compliance rules, it is kind of ridiculous. You can set data retention policies, you can set who can email who, and even who can email who what kinds of things. For example, you may only want certain users to attach certain files for compliance reasons, and you can enforce that.

Azure is well known as an enterprise cloud platform now. Microsoft Azure, with 11 percent of the total public cloud market, showed the largest growth in market share, with a 3 percent market share gain over the last four quarters, according to Goldman Sachs.  It is still smaller, than AWS and Google, but gaining and investing heavily.

Azure Active Directory is integrated with Office 365, which is one of the drivers of growth.  Azure Active Directory is basically the Cloud version of Active Directory to provision users; give user permissions, provision groups, and provision things like conditional access rules for how and when users can access certain applications.  Also, to provision functions like multifactor authentication, all ties into the Cloud, into Azure Active Directory.

Of course, Azure is Cloud storage, Cloud compute, Cloud tools, Cloud deployment, and other infrastructure related to DevOps.

 Azure Active Directory being in the Cloud enables certain experiences that on-premise Active Directory would not enable. For example, you cannot enable multifactor authentication with on-premise AD, so the solution is to migrate that to the Cloud and use authentication. 

All of that also ties into data loss prevention. That would be hard to enforce on-premise, because different versions of Exchange and things. Whereas if you are using Office 365, you always know that you are on the latest version of Exchange that Microsoft deploys. You know you are always on the latest version of all the offerings that come with that, where with on-premise, you may be limited to only using Office 2016 or whatever. If you are using Office 365, all those limitations go away.

So how does this help enterprises trying to do DevOps better? It helps when you are developing your own applications that tie into the Cloud, which ties into Azure Active Directory, and then you want to be able to deploy add-ons for Office, which is quite popular now.  Companies will write their own Office add-ins that feed into Office 365. With Teams, you can do a lot of project management that you would not be able to otherwise.  Office 365 has a DevOps role for enterprises tying into the Microsoft ecosystem.  It becomes part of the DevOps tool set. If you are working in Azure and doing DevOps, you could use their tools to do it.

azure, devops, microsoft, office 365

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