Building and growing your business with Windows 10 and the cloud: a roadmap

The first in a seven-part series on the effectiveness and efficiencies of a feature-rich, cloud-connected Windows 10 environment for small businesses

The road starts here

Running a small business is not for the faint-hearted. There are countless decisions to be made, and one in particular can be fairly daunting: determining the right IT infrastructure for your company. If you're starting pretty much from scratch, you may be mulling over the many considerations: What's so great about the cloud? Should you just do what everyone has usually done and build servers to host your domain, email, and file storage? How much capacity will you need in a year or two? How do you plan for future growth? How much of your time will all this take? What's the best way to go about deploying Windows 10? And how do you do all this with a lean budget?

Take a deep breath—we're here to help, and this series of blog posts explains how.

Microsoft: your traveling companion

Microsoft has developed cloud-only IT offerings based around Microsoft Azure cloud services and a tightly integrated Windows 10 feature set that let you start a "serverless" office from the ground up, with minimal investment. Your IT environment will grow with you, and you can save costs by adding or removing services and licenses depending on your business cycle.

A major advantage of a cloud-based deployment is rapid implementation and provisioning. You can get started immediately; it's straightforward and requires no dedicated specialists to get your apps and services up and running. You get the essentials of an on-premises domain-based deployment without the associated costs, onsite servers to maintain, deployment efforts, or staffing requirements.

You won't need servers and you won't need a datacenter—you can manage your entire IT environment in the cloud, and without extensive specialist training. You and your users will be happy that they can now take charge and manage their apps and devices themselves, according to your configuration and policy choices. And of course, it's all built using Microsoft industry-leading experience and expertise in safeguarding your data, whether in email, on a lost device, or in the cloud.

Cloud solutions are flexible and scalable to suit your organization's needs, and there's an ecosystem of cloud partners ready to help. They're dedicated to finding the right solution now, to put you in the best position for growth in the future.

Before we set out...

You may be wondering, "What if I have some apps and services, and even Active Directory or other infrastructure, already running in my organization?"

Don't worry, Microsoft provides plenty of tools that help you connect your existing on-premises IT assets to the cloud. With these hybrid implementations, you can use familiar tools and resources to quickly and efficiently onboard new features, increase capacity, and offer users and administrators a single, unified view of the overall environment. You get to maintain the best of your on-premises deployment, while meeting changing business needs with greater speed and flexibility and benefiting from enterprise-grade performance and security.

Look for a specific post on this kind of hybrid setup in the future. In this series, we start with a blank slate and build a 100 percent cloud-based deployment from there.

Milestones on the way to your cloud-based destination

In upcoming blog posts, we will look at how to get from here to there with Windows 10 and Microsoft cloud services, starting by establishing your organization's identity in the cloud, working through managing users and devices, providing apps and services your users need, and finally, maintaining a more secure, agile, and available IT environment. We'll explore a variety of topics to help you take the right path as you embark on your journey:

  • Step 1: Set up identity with Azure Active Directory. Build the foundation of your organization's IT services with organization and user identity, single sign-on for apps and services, and the Azure cloud-based directory.
  • Step 2: Set up Microsoft Office 365. Support user productivity anytime, anywhere with email, calendar, and real-time communications.
  • Step 3: Configure online storage with Windows 10, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint Online. Provide integrated and highly secure cloud storage and file sharingwith Windows 10 and OneDrive for Business, and consider the option of using SharePoint Online for external and internal publication and collaboration site management.
  • Step 4: Deploy Windows 10 devices. Learn about cloud-based tools to configure and deploy new devices, onboard and remove users, and support bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios.
  • Step 5: Use the built-in Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Office 365 feature to manage your devices. Use the online dashboard and MDM tools to help provision, scale, and secure applications, devices, and data in a mobile environment.
  • Step 6: Enable security tools in Windows and Office 365. Maintain a more secure environment for business data with powerful antimalware tools built into Windows 10 and Office 365.

Get ready!

Watch for future posts that will walk you through each milestone on the way to a powerful and agile IT infrastructure for your organization—all without deploying a single on-premises server. At the end of the series, you will be well-positioned to continue to develop your cloud-based deployment as you consider enterprise-level options and features that can help power your growing business.

Can't wait? More about Windows 10, Office 365, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Microsoft Intune

Visit the following sites to learn more about the Windows 10 and Azure-based technologies and services that work together to provide a compelling solution for your cloud-connected devices and services.

Windows 10 for business

Microsoft Office 365 business plans

About Microsoft Azure

About Microsoft Intune

About Microsoft Enterprise Mobility

© Microsoft Corporation 6/23/2016