Microsoft Mesh: Are You Mixed Reality Ready?

Penny Conway
Sreeraj Vasukuttan

Microsoft announced Mesh last week, the latest in mixed reality powered by Azure. Mesh is the future of mixed reality experiences and will work with Teams to improve to your virtual office environment. The Ready Player One vibe has me excited as an employee and a cloud enabler. I know what you are thinking, “Well, we would love to do all that cool mixed reality stuff, but we can’t get there without solving the basic challenges of the cloud.” Which usually is security and cost optimization.  

While a mixed reality office could be the future of work – let’s start with the basics of Azure.  

6 Azure Basics You May Not Know 

Use Azure Hybrid Benefit to save up for the cloud  

You can access your existing On-Premises Microsoft environment, by utilizing the Hybrid Benefits program while migrating Windows Server and SQL Server to Azure. When you exchange licenses for your on-premises machines, the Hybrid Benefit program can help you save up to 40% on Windows Server and SQL Server Virtual Machines on Azure. Azure Hybrid Benefit applies to both Enterprise Agreement and CSP customers. It’s the easiest and best way to optimize your costs out of the gate.  

Related: Azure Hybrid Benefit: A Refresher! 

Save more using Azure Reserved Instances  

Leverage Azure Reserved Instances and Azure Cost Management to maintain even more control over your overall cloud spend. Cost saving in the cloud should not be an afterthought. With Azure Cost Management and Azure RI, you can get control of your cloud cost up front and can get the most out of the cloud without breaking your budget.  

Related: A Crash Course in Azure Reserved Instances 

Take the first step in Zero Trust model using Azure AD 

You can move an existing Microsoft 365 Azure AD license to Azure AD with on-premises AD. You’ll need to deploy multifactor authentication and add conditional access policies to make your environment more secure against identity threats. Mitigating identity-related security risks are one of the top priorities that all industries face. Azure provides the best-in-class identity management tools in Microsoft 365 and Azure, ensuring you don’t fall prey to preventable attacks. 

Related: Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Intune: A Match Made in a Mobile-First Heaven 

Back up your data using Azure Backup Services  

Use Azure Backup Services to replace existing on-premises or off-site backup with a cloud-based solution that is reliable, secure, and cost-competitive. Experts recommend at least three backup copies. Many companies follow this best practice and ensure at least one copy is stored in the cloud to be used as an indisputable backup. Azure back up services will ensure that your data is safe and secure, should your data center get hit by a cyber-attack or a natural disaster. Recovery, from anywhere, is much easier using the cloud.  

Related: Remote Work Has Exploded: Can Your Disaster Recovery and Cloud Backups Keep Pace? 

Enable secure remote work using Azure Windows Virtual Desktop  

Use existing Microsoft 365 licenses to deploy Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) on Azure to workers to log in remotely to a centralized resource. By using WVD, you gain full control over your data in scenarios where a worker must access your resources from a remote location that is not connected to your network. WVD on Azure is secured from the public network, keeping your data and trade secrets safe.  

Last month of Windows Virtual Desktop offer: New customers can save 30% on Windows Virtual Desktop computing costs for D-series and Bs-series virtual machines for up to 90 days when using the native Microsoft solution. You should redeem this offer before March 31, 2021  

Related: Top Benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure 

Proactively detect and remediate threats using Azure Sentinel

Use Azure Sentinel as a single pane of glass, cloud-native SIEM and SOAR solution. Collect security data at scale, detect previously undetected threats, and investigate threats using artificial intelligence to respond to incidents rapidly. You should connect your Microsoft Defender XDR system or a third-party security system to Azure Sentinel and have your entire security landscape under one umbrella. Having access to all your security data in one place allows you to quickly respond to any threat to your business.  

Azure Sentinel-Limited time data grant: Now through May 1, 2021, Microsoft 365 E5 and Microsoft 365 E5 Security customers can receive a data grant of up to 100 MB per user/month to ingest Microsoft 365 data. Your Connection Account Manager can confirm your eligibility for this grant.   

Ready to Reimagine with Azure?  

Once you’ve got your Azure foundation, Microsoft Mesh will be just one example of how the cloud can take major computational challenges off your plate and turn them into out of the box capabilities. Tools like Mesh in addition to Azure Cognitive and Services will allow you spend less time than traditionally needed to prepare and use your data for the office of the future. Just imagine virtually handing your co-worker a piece of paper, creating a synthetic voice for your brand or building 3D interactive chat bots. All of this is possible when you partner with a cloud enabler like Connection. To dig more into Azure or to take advantage of any of the offers and solutions we’ve covered, reach out to us today.  

Penny Conway is currently the Product Manager for HP’s “as a service” solutions, such as device as a service and managed print services. She works with customers to identify contractual solutions to improve their day-to-day business outcomes. She also has extensive experience with Microsoft in Education at Connection, ensuring schools develop and successfully deploy Windows 10 to improve student and teacher outcomes. In addition to her everyday role, Penny hosts the Connection TechSperience podcast, covering hot topics in the tech industry.

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