Frequently asked questions.

You’ll find answers to frequent asked questions throughout the site, but if you’d like to see them all in one place, you’ll find them here.

What is the Cloud?

In the simplest terms, the Cloud is computing resources that is held at a separate location. It can be hardware you own (private Cloud), hardware a provider owns (hosted private cloud) or hardware someone like Microsoft owns and offers (public cloud).

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a term that is used to describe services which are on demand, scalable, self-servicing and reliable.

What is redundancy?

Redundancy is having extra components available in case of failure, to prevent loss of service or data. For example, data in Azure has 3 copies minimum to prevent one disk failure causing data loss.

What is Scalability?

Scalability is the ability of a system to expand to meet your business needs easily, often maintaining a same price per user ratio.

What is Cloud agility?

Being agile in the Cloud actually can have two different meanings. The first refers to the rapid provisioning of resources, usually within minutes. The second is the ability to change resource configurations to meet changing business conditions.

What is self-servicing?

Having automated systems for management and provisioning of resources, without turnaround time from manual processes, on demand.

Is the Cloud cheaper?

This depends on what type of Cloud environment you use. Price per unit, Cloud services may not be the cheapest option however the true cost reduction is the no commit, pay as you go model as you have zero cost when the services are not used.

What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?

This is when you maintain your own servers and networking services within a Cloud Provider. The provider, for example Microsoft Azure, takes care of underlying physical hardware maintenance and datacentre security while you work in a secure virtual environment with your servers.

What is Platform as a Service (PaaS)?

This is where the Cloud Provider takes care of the virtual environment as well as the physical environment, giving you ready to use services such as a database. This lets you get started straight away with no delay in configuring underlying components.

What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

This is a ready to go end product with services that work out of the box. For example when you sign up with Office365 you can have emails running in 15 minutes with minimal configuration, along with storage and communication tools.

What is Hybrid Cloud?

This is when your environment makes use of both in house IT infrastructure as well as the Cloud to meet your business needs.

What is Office365?

Office 365 is one of Microsoft's Cloud service offerings (SaaS), which include emails, file management, communications and social collaboration.

What is Exchange Online?

Exchange Online is Microsoft's Cloud email hosting service, which is part of Office365. Features include spam/malware protection, unlimited archiving, full outlook integration and more.

What is SharePoint online?

SharePoint Online is Microsoft's Cloud file management system, part of Office365. Features include a knowledgebase repository, advance searching, metadata tagging and more.

What is Yammer?

Yammer is Microsoft's social collaboration tool, part of Office365. Features include external networking, conversation sharing, global communications and more.

What is Skype for Business?

Skype for Business is Microsoft's communications tool, part of Office365. Features include voice calling, video conferencing, instant messaging and more.

What is OneDrive for Business?

OneDrive for business is Microsoft's Cloud storage for businesses, part of Office365. Features offline file sync, file sharing internally/externally, sync SharePoint libraries and more.

What is backup?

Backup is making a copy of your critical data in case of hardware failure or data corruption. Common practice is to keep multiple versions from different day/week/month and maintain a copy at a remote location.

What is disaster recovery?

Disaster Recovery is the ability for systems to come back online in the shortest amount of time possible after a complete failure.

What is a virtual machine?

A workload unit representing the physical specifications of physical hardware, running in a virtualised environment.

What is Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS)?

Enterprise Mobility Suite is a Microsoft Cloud Service combination offering including Microsoft Intune, Azure Active Directory Premium, Azure Rights Management and Advanced Threat Analytics.

What is mobile device management?

The ability to manage and maintain mobile devices in the environment. Commonly used for bring your own device (BYOD) or business compliance.

What is mobile application management?

The ability to manage applications running on mobile devices, used for deployment, software versioning control and security.

What is rights management?

The ability to set rules and permissions on emails and documents, insuring only the intended recipient or user has access to read or modify. Commonly used to restrict confidential emails or prevent saving of sensitive information.

Who owns my data in Microsoft's Cloud?

The customer does.

Who has access to my data in Microsoft's Cloud?

The customer and a restricted number of Microsoft engineers who maintain the datacentres. In certain situations law enforcement entities may pursue legal avenues of contacting Microsoft, which will then be redirected to the customer if possible.

What happens when I delete my data?

As per Microsoft's online services agreement, customers have access to data for 90 days after service termination for retrieval purposes. After 90 days the data is kept for up to 180 days in the event the customer renews the service. After 180 the data is deleted.