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A new remote reality has emerged from the rapid digital transformation we’ve seen over the past two years—and it’s here to stay. Businesses of all shapes and sizes across the globe are fast adopting cloud computing technologies like Microsoft Azure to deal with the challenges of increasingly remote teams and clients.

While research shows that remote workers are more productive, there’s a dire need for resources to help them streamline hitherto unknown work processes and deliver engaging customer experiences despite working on distributed teams. For managed service providers (MSPs), this need presents a massive opportunity to serve clients in new ways.

Using Microsoft Azure to help clients work remotely, MSPs can cultivate a new line of business that also opens the door to numerous other cloud solutions and services. Remote work can therefore be seen as a stepping stone not only to working with Azure, but to creating a stickier relationship with your client base as well.

Let’s take a closer work at how MSPs can utilize Azure to help clients work remotely.

What is Microsoft Azure?

In the simplest of terms, Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s platform for public cloud computing, which offers numerous cloud services such as data processing, networking, analysis and storage. Users can select as many or as few of these services as they need to create, test and execute applications in the public cloud at any scale.

The Azure platform is designed to assist organizations in meeting their objectives, overcoming obstacles and help clients work remotely, among a multitude of other applications. Azure also gives MSPs and other technology providers the option to choose from four distinct types of cloud computing: platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and serverless.

Microsoft Azure tools for remote work

There are a variety of different ways to use Azure for remote work. If you’re new to Azure, however, these three resources stand out as the most effective.

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

AVD makes it easier for users to work remotely while maintaining a safe connection. This is thanks to its ability to create Windows 10 and 11 virtual desktops in Azure, allowing for centralized management and security. In short, AVD makes it possible for employees to connect to their work IT environment from anywhere and have the same experience as if they were in the office using a machine connected to a local network.

With AVD, the risk of sensitive data getting left on a user’s device is also considerably reduced because of the separation between the computer environment and the user’s device. Customers data can be stored in the cloud instead of on their devices, which is ultimately safer.

Azure Active Directory (AD)

Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory is an identity and access management service built in the cloud that gives remote workers access to internal and external resources. This streamlines in-house worker management with relative ease via the business intranet. Those working off-site can still use Microsoft 365 or the Azure Portal to complete everyday tasks.

On the backend, administrators can also enable and revoke users’ access to specific files and applications as necessary. Azure AD enables companies to implement a Zero Trust security strategy without compromising the safety or effectiveness of their processes and data.

Azure VPN

To accommodate the growing number of remote workers, Microsoft has released a cloud-based, rapidly deployable VPN gateway service called Azure Point-to-Site (P2S). The Azure VPN gateway allows you to increase the number of concurrent connections your employees use to access both cloud and on-premises resources safely. You can set up a Site-to-Site (S2S) VPN connection between your on-premises network and the Azure VPN gateway. Switching it on and off is simple, and you can even scale it up or down as needed.

Build your Azure offering with an expert partner

Beyond tools to help clients work remotely, Microsoft Azure represents a wealth of opportunities for MSPs to grow their cloud business. Sherweb experts can help! As an award-winning Microsoft partner, we’re well-versed in the Microsoft ecosystem and assisting MSPs with building out their cloud offering.

Reach out to us to start a conversation about Microsoft Azure, how to help clients work remotely or any other topic on your MSP’s mind. You can also check out our Partner Guide for more information about how Sherweb can help your business grow.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb