Your smartphone is not just your phone. It’s also your TV, library, post office, and grocery store — not to mention your notebook, fitness and finance tracker, weather tracker, alarm clock, home movie maker, and too many more things to list.
And it may be your office. Today, remote workers and virtual teams are more likely to work and talk via smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices than an office computer.
There are both risks and benefits to this, of course.
On one hand, the right software can instill a positive common culture in virtual teams using a variety of smartphones, tablets, and IoT devices under greatly different circumstances.
On the other, this great diversity exposes mobile device users to greater risks. IT departments face the challenge of protecting business information from loss and cyberattacks on devices they didn’t buy, can’t control, and don’t always know where they are.
Microsoft’s Azure Cloud provides an all-inclusive way for organizations to meet both the challenge and the opportunity of mobile computing.
With Azure IoT Edge and related services, you can manage and secure a wide array of devices from a single dashboard using a common set of cloud tools and services. That’s sure to save you time, money, and a lot of hi-tech headaches.
Azure at the Edge of Computing
Cloud computing provides central processing power, but mobile computing means that most work is done far from the center, in the field. Out at the edge.
“Edge computing” is a way of relating cloud and mobile computing, combining the advantages of powerful central processing and real-time handling of data on location. Your devices process what you need now, the larger work gets sent to the cloud. So you can respond more immediately and effectively with clients and partners, where it counts.
Add artificial intelligence to edge computing and you produce Azure’s “intelligent edge” solution.
We’ve seen how an integrated set of work and communication apps (like Office 365 and Teams) can make a virtual team more creative and productive. A common interface and shared functionality mean they can spend their time working instead of struggling with technology and updates.
That works on the front end. But behind the scenes, Microsoft Azure enables your IT team to create and deploy a consistent user experience in your cloud/edge applications, regardless of device or platform.
The Advantage at the Azure IoT Edge
With Azure you manage all your edge devices, software, users, and mobile security measures from a single cloud interface.
Manage software across devices.
The apps your team uses to collaborate and communicate need to run on a wide range of devices and operating systems. On phones, tablets, and laptops; in Windows, iOS, and Android. In web browsers and standalone.
Azure provides consistent programming, data services, AI, and more to give all edge devices equal access to shared data and computing. And you can develop your own cloud apps for web and mobile with the Azure App Service.
In short, your whole team runs the latest version of the same software, no matter what device they’re holding in their hands.
Manage and protect devices.
Microsoft Azure provides tools and services created specifically for the Internet of Things. So you can manage device updates, monitor and backup devices, and deploy disaster recovery tools no matter where the devices are physically located.
With distributed apps, managing the devices and code they run on becomes critical. Updating operating systems helps ensure version compatibility with your distributed apps. It also keeps devices current with the latest security patches, virus definitions, and anti-malware updates from the manufacturer.
Manage users and access.
Azure manages who can do what with your distributed devices and software. From a dashboard, you set user access and privileges throughout your physical and virtual organization.
Azure Active Directory prevents unauthorized access to accounts, devices, apps, and data. You can set user access to specific devices or software, for example; or to cloud, mobile, or on-site versions of applications.
Provide comprehensive security.
Azure reduces the complexity of managing unified security protocols across a distributed infrastructure.
Through the Azure Security Center, you can apply and optimize security policies across all your devices, including regulatory compliance policies. Monitor your devices, networks, servers, and applications as well, with intelligent threat protection all the way from cloud to edge.
Edge Computing into the Future
Azure IoT Edge is where edge computing meets artificial intelligence.
Deploying AI from the cloud to mobile devices enables them to process and analyze key data immediately. That means your team can work more effectively with clients, collaborators, and others without needing to send data up to the cloud for processing and then get it back.
In other words, with Azure’s mobile AI, the future of workplace technology is literally in the palm of your hands.
For better and worse, mobile computing has become a large part of our lives in a short time. In response, the technologies behind cloud and mobile computing, AI, and virtual collaboration and communication are evolving quickly.
They’re evolving not only to meet a new array of risks and opportunities, but to get ahead of them and create new ways of doing things.
At PC Professional, we’re experts in Azure Cloud Services, including edge computing, data backup, cybersecurity, disaster recovery, and more. Contact us to learn how mobile technology can give your business the edge heading into the future.