One of the common questions I hear is if a business is on a poor broadband link can they still use the cloud? Ok, it is true the better your internet connection the better your experience with the cloud however poor bandwidth doesn’t mean you are stuck on premise for ever.
The beauty of the cloud is that you can pick and choose the services that you want, Microsoft are very good at providing a granular service which allows the customer to choose what they want to use and not pay for features and services they do not.
From a basic prospective a business might just want to use the cloud as a backup resource for their data. With OneDrive for Business any information that is locally stored on a users computer is automatically uploaded to the cloud and thus backed up. The synchronisation process is intelligent so not to consume huge amounts of bandwidth and if the user moves to a network, for example their home, with a better connection the replication will continue. All the traffic between the PC and OneDrive for Business is secure. The net result is if the user PCs is lost/broken the data on it is replicated into the cloud and can be retrieved very quickly, not something that can be said for site back ups.
Email works in much the same way, the Outlook client on the PC holds a cached copy of the users mailbox allowing the user to send and receive email, update calendars as they would if the email system was on premise. The difference is that Outlook will replicate the changes up to Office365 Exchange servers so that data is again secure and backed up. The user can then access their email from anywhere they wish on any device by logging into the business Office 365 service.
For the business that wants to move their compute into the cloud in the form of virtual servers within Azure then poor bandwidth can be more of an issue because of the constant data movement between users within the office and the servers providing the information hosted in Azure. There are services like Azure Express Route to provide dedicated bandwidth to a business into Azure, however requires the service to be available in the location the business is operating.
These are only a couple of small examples of what can be achieved, for a full view of what Microsoft Azure can offer have a read here.
There are many services available within the Cloud and with the flexibility provided by Microsoft you are able to choose only the ones that serve your business.