There’s more to Azure than hosting, Part 2


Azure is true Infrastructure-as-a-Service, with a range of features that put Microsoft’s powerful network security and decades of AI research into play.

15 May 2020
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Ben Franklin - Technical Director



Flexible, scalable, and customisable are always the words you want to hear when it comes to CMS management. Azure’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service is able to offer all three across a full range of features, from their AI-driven search tools to its built-in security offer.

In Part 1 of this series, we explored Azure’s cognitive services. Advances in image and text analysis are fueling the Cognitive Search function, which allows websites hosted with Azure to organise their content - all their content - in more targeted, industry-specific ways. This has some great potential for marketing and communications strategy, precision user journeys, customisable content, and more.

Two-way street

It’s also the brains behind their Bot Service. Microsoft’s long legacy of AI research has provided their fleet of software and services, including Azure, with a solid foundation of natural language recognition. Websites hosted on Azure are able to make use of that knowledge base when they create their own bot assistants. And Azure bots are available to publish on lots of popular channels.

The bot service integrates natural language learning with the same foundational data and technology as the Cognitive Search, which can also include your organisation’s own industry or brand-specific data. The result is a powerful ability to understand irregular queries and then retrieve the correct information from among any and all of your content, according to your own custom parameters.

Azure’s natural language bots respond to questions, but they also answer intended questions, even when the user doesn’t get things quite right. So when a visitor asks a question, they can do so conversationally, instead of having to know the right keywords to get an exact search result. 

Shifting gridlock

The security kit that comes with Azure is remarkably comprehensive. The Security Centre comes with all Azure packages. It’s security monitoring that uses Microsoft’s machine learning tech to understand whether your CMS is behaving the way it should. It provides alerts and recommendations based on what’s happening.

Anti-virus and DDoS protection are built into Azure, and this is where Azure’s infinite scalability becomes a real life-saver. Preventing an attack is always the ideal, but if one does manage to get through, filtering out malicious traffic can keep businesses running. Performing these mitigations in the cloud instead of on a physical server removes filtering limits and reduces the likelihood that the attacker can crack installed anti-DDoS software.

Once the attack is over, your need for more servers can easily scale back down with cloud hosting. Azure works the same way for you under attack as it does whenever there’s a spike in positive use traffic—when you’re selling a big event, for example. It expands and contracts according to need without rigid timings. It’s instantaneous and elastic.

Thinking about making a move to cloud hosting? Get in touch, and let’s talk about how Azure might work for you.

Ben Franklin

Technical Director

Listed in:  Development

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