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Azure ExpressRoute Interconnect: Navigate to Azure

Our UK Cloud Snapshot Survey 2017 exposed a number of challenges facing UK organisations, including GDPR, Brexit, Data Sovereignty and the increase in Cyber Security attacks. One of the less difficult issues to address, for over 70% of the surveyed respondents, are the options to connect a private network to the cloud, such as Azure ExpressRoute. 35.7% use Azure, and yet very few use Azure ExpressRoute, in fact only 28.3% used a direct Cloud Connect to any of their cloud services.

Why use Azure ExpressRoute?

As I’ve covered before, in Cloud Connectivity Providers Explained, Azure ExpressRoute is a service that enables customers to create private connections between Microsoft Azure data centres and their own networks, such as on-premise infrastructure or colocation. Azure ExpressRoute connections are direct, they don’t rely on public internet, and offer far greater reliability, significantly more security and lower latency (speed) than can be achieved over a typical internet connection. Almost always Azure ExpressRoute connections can result in cost-savings. You can find out more detail regarding Azure ExpressRoute here: ExpressRoute Overview: Extend your on-premises network to Azure.

Azure ExpressRoute Network Overview

Azure ExpressRoute Network Overview

How to get Azure ExpressRoute

In order to take advantage of all the goodies Azure ExpressRoute can provide, we work with ExpressRoute connectivity partner providers. One of our partners is Megaport, who are one of the most accomplished ExpressRoute partners in the world, supporting 18 ExpressRoute locations across the globe. Megaport was the world’s first SDN-based Elastic Interconnection platform designed to provide a secure, seamless, and on-demand way for enterprises, networks, and services to interconnect.

Provisioning connections between data centres and external services has always been a problem, either due to cost or due to complexity. A decade ago I remember the only viable option was a direct Point-to-Point, which unless the two locations were within reasonable proximity, high capacity connections were an eye-watering expense. Connections between diverse geo-locations, such as between countries, required backhauls and XConnects between friendly data centres or peers, often taking weeks or months to provision. You can read more about the many DIY options in Cloud Network Providers | Connect Your Private Network to the Cloud.

Why use Serviceteam IT & Megaport

  • Megaport want what we want:
  • consistent connectivity to optimise the provisioning process
  • flexible contractual terms
  • to make connectivity options broader, simpler, and far more streamlined.

“For the last three years, we have rapidly expanded our network and one of the biggest values of Megaport is the ability to provision service to Azure specifically from any location to any Azure region in less than a couple of minutes. Our business model complements the cloud business model: no lock-in contracts, pay-as-you-go, and you only pay for what you need.”
Matt Simpson, Director of Global Cloud Strategy, Megaport.

True multi-platform cloud connectivity

One of the things that allows Megaport to stand out against their competitors for Serviceteam IT is the shared commitment to a vendor-agnostic vision of the cloud. By consolidating multiple cloud vendors, enabling customers to quickly and simply deploy multi-cloud environments, leveraging multiple public cloud options as well as their own data centres, which are all accessible from a single interface.

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101, use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

We’d love to hear from you!

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Microsoft Azure Applications | Glossary

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service for managing applications and services. Azure was announced in October 2008 as Windows Azure before changing its name to Microsoft Azure in 2014.

Microsoft Azure is a widely used computing service, with over 600 Azure services for users, you would think that an Intern for an IT company would be an expert, right? Well, sadly no. I’m the first to admit that as well as lacking knowledge in AWS, I knew as much about that as  I did Azure.

However, fast forward a few weeks, and while I’m still no expert, I think I know my fair share and it’s all down to this glossary of key terms. While I used it to build my knowledge pretty much from scratch, it can also be used to fill in any gaps or even to refresh your memory. Either way, I can honestly say that without this glossary, I wouldn’t have been able to do half of the things I have – blagging can only take you so far.

What is Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a cloud service from the global software giant, Microsoft. Azure offers a vast range of useful compute and application resources. These are all offered on-demand and in a cost-effective manner which helps businesses scale and grow.

What I have learnt from creating this glossary is that even the complicated sounding terminology usually has a simple explanation. Which can be useful when developing your knowledge on technical topics. I must stress that these do not need to be committed to memory – and you certainly don’t need to know the ins and outs of every detail.

Microsoft Azure Glossary

App Service App – this app provides resources for hosting a website or web application or mobile app back end.

Affinity Group- these ensure that resources created within the same affinity group are hosted by servers that are close together. This enables these resources to communication quicker and easier.

Availability set – is a collection of virtual machines that are managed together to provide application redundancy and reliability. This use of this ensures that during either a planned or unplanned maintenance event at least on virtual machine is available.

Azure Classic Deployment Model – this is a model used to deploy resources in Azure.

Azure command-line interface (CLI) – this interface can be used to manage Azure services from Windows, macOS and Linux.

Azure PowerShell – this is a command-line interface to manage Azure services via a command line from Windows PCs.

Blob Storage – this is storage that handles all unstructured data, scaling up or down as your needs change. This storage means that users will no longer have to manage it which saves time and effort.

Cloud Services – allows you to develop, package and deploy applications and services to the cloud.

Endpoint – Endpoints allow you to make VMs placed in different networks, irrespective of whether it is within Azure/on premise/other cloud.

Instance Level Public IP Address – these are associated directly to the Virtual Machines Instances rather than to the Cloud Services when you back all the Virtual Machines within.

Public Virtual IP Address – when you create a Cloud Service in Azure, you will be assigned with Virtual Public IP Address. This address will not be released until all the VMs placed insider the Cloud services is successfully deleted or stopped.

Portal – this is a secure portal used to deploy and manage Azure services. There are two portal Azure portal and Classic Portal.

Region – this is an area that does not cross national borders and contain one or more data centers.

Resource – this is an item that is a part of your Azure solution that users can use to deploy different types of resources.

Resource group – this service holds related resources for an application which is located within Resource Manager.

Shared access signature (SAS) – this is a signature that enables you to grant limited access to a resource, without exposing your account key.

Regional Virtual Network (VNet) – is a service in which enables users to securely connect Azure resources to each other using virtual networks. A VNet is a representation of your own network in the cloud.

Resource Group – this is a container that holds related resources for an Azure solution. The resource group can include all resources for the solution or only ones that that you want to manage as a group.

Reserved Virtual IP Address – users can reserve IP addresses for the subscription.

Storage Account – this is an account in which gives users access to the Azure Blob, Queue, Table, and File services in Azure storage.

Subscription – this is an agreement between a customer and Microsoft in which enables the user to obtain Azure services. The pricing is dependent on the offer chosen for the subscription.

Tag – this is an indexing terms that enables users to categorise resources for ease of management or billing. This enables users to organise complex collections of resources in an easy manner.

Virtual Network – this is a network that provides connectivity between your Azure resources that is located from all other Azure tenants.

Virtual Machine – multiple virtual machine can run at the same time and they allow the software implementation of a physical computer that runs an operating system.

Virtual Machine Extension – this is a resource in which implements behaviours or feature that either help other programs work or give the ability for the user to interact with a running computer.

X-PLAT CLI this is a command line interface for Windows, Linux and IOS Platforms.

I hope that you will find this Microsoft Azure glossary just as useful as I did, whether that’s to learn something brand new or to expand and refresh your knowledge. Feel free to leave a comment in the section below about any questions or suggestions you may have.

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101, use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

We’d love to hear from you!

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Making Sense of the Cloud | Glossary

Upon starting the position as a Market Research Intern at Serviceteam IT I was overwhelmed by the vast quantity of technical language surrounding the technology industry. Drowning in the sea of seemingly endless acronyms and jargon, I felt it was going to be impossible to get to grips with the enormity of knowledge I would need to make the most of this position. I began to compile a glossary of key terms often used in the tech industry in order to begin to make sense of the vast amount of technical jargon. I hope this blog will be useful for any individuals who face a similar task to me.

Making Sense of the Cloud

Cloud is one of the key buzzwords in the business world, with the Cloud Industry Forum claiming 4 out of 5 businesses currently use some form of cloud service and it has been claimed that the cloud is ‘reshaping the face of IT’ (Webster 2016). Coming from a background in Geography the technological meaning of the cloud differs extensively from those that I have studied at university. The dominance of cloud technology in businesses drove me to first try to gain a greater understanding of the extensive terminology regarding cloud services.

  • Amazon CloudWatch: this is a monitoring service for all the applications running on AWS (Amazon Web Services). This can be used for a number of functions including the collection and tracking of metrics and setting alarms.
  • API: (Application Programming Interface) this refers to an interface that allows the user to access information from another service and integrate this service into their own application.
  • AWS: (Amazon Web Services) AWS is a cloud services platform offering multiple functions that aid business growth. Such functions include compute power, data storage and networking, which is available with pay-as-you-go pricing.
  • Broadcloud Cloud PBX: This is a phone system based in the cloud that provides greater flexibility, allowing you to take your desk phone anywhere there is an Internet connection.
  • CCMM: (Cloud computing maturity model) a five stage model outlining the transition of a company’s data centre to cloud computing. These five stages usually refer to consolidation, virtualisation, automation, utility and cloud.
  • CDN: (Content delivery network) A distributed system consisting of servers in discrete physical locations, set up in a way that individuals can access the server closest to them on the network, thereby improving speeds.
  • Cloud: The cloud refers to the provision of computing services over the Internet. Such services include storage and databases. The cloud allows you to access stored data and programs over the Internet as opposed to on your computers hard drive.
  • Cloud Connect: this is simply a physical link, using fibre technology, between your network and the cloud.
  • Cloud Native: Applications developed specifically for use in the cloud.
  • Cloud Portability: the ability for data and applications to be moved between cloud service providers.
  • Cloud Service Provider: A company that is responsible for the provision of a cloud-based platform to other organisations, usually for a fee.
  • Cloud Storage: A service that enables customers to save data in an offsite storage system through transferring it over the Internet.
  • Cloudware: Software that enables running or managing applications in the cloud. The software runs on a remote webserver as opposed to on a mobile device or PC.
  • Community cloud: A cloud infrastructure that is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community.
  • Disruptive Technology: An innovation which leads to an improvement in the way tasks are completed. Cloud computing is considered a disruptive technology.
  • Eucalyptus: An open source cloud computing and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform for enabling private clouds.
  • External Cloud:  Cloud services provided by a third party organisation. It refers to a cloud solution that is located outside of the physical boundaries of the organisation in question.
  • Federation: the process of combining data across multiple systems.
  • Hybrid Cloud: This is the amalgamation of public cloud provider, such as AWS, with a private cloud platform. Companies are realising they need many different types of cloud services to perform a variety of different tasks. The aim of the hybrid cloud is to combine the services and data from different cloud models in order to create a successfully managed computing environment.
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): The provision of cloud infrastructure services by a cloud service provider. This infrastructure includes servers and software amongst other things.
  • Internal cloud: The provision and maintenance of a private cloud by an IT department for internal use.
  • Microsoft Azure: Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.
  • Multicloud: the use of numerous different cloud computing services at the same time- for example using a different providers for infrastructure and software services. There are a number of different third party tools that enable organisations to manage multiple cloud systems.
  • Multitenancy: The existence of multiple clients sharing resources (services or applications) on distinct physical hardware. The individual data of each client is kept secure and cannot be accessed by the other users of the resources.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): Method by which a whole computing platform can be operated remotely over the Internet. PaaS provides a way to essentially outsource the entire infrastructure needed to implement a solution without needing to purchase and implement a new platform. The company is only charged for the share of the resources that they actually use.
  • Private cloud: The private cloud is a combination of networking, storage, services and applications owned and operated by a specific organisation that can only be accessed by its employees and partners. It is possible that a private cloud can be created and managed by a third party to be used only by an individual enterprise.
  • Public Cloud: The public cloud is a combination of networking, storage, services and applications owned and operated by a third party and used by organisations and individuals over the internet.
  • Scalability: the cloud is elastic so can get bigger or smaller depending on demand. This encompasses scalability as the cloud can be scaled up when demand is high and scaled down when demand is low.
  • SLA: (Service Level Agreement) this is a formal agreement or contract between a client and a cloud service provider which states the level of service, availability and performance that is guaranteed by the cloud provder.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Cloud services in which the applications are provided over the Internet so that they do not need to be installed on the customer’s computer.
  • Vendor lockin: The dependency on a specific cloud provider and a low ability to move between vendors due to a lack of support for standardised protocols and/or service models.
  • Vertical cloud: A cloud environment build around the specific needs of a particular industry such as financial services.
  • VPN: (Virtual Private Network) the creation of a secure connection between networks over the Internet. The enables local network resources to be accessed in a different country.

Although it may seem daunting at first, cloud computing can be broken down relatively easily and this makes everything far easier to understand. There are also additional blog posts outlining the key terminology regarding Microsoft Azure, AWS and Cyber Security that may be an interesting read for anyone just starting out in the technology sector. Please feel free to share in the comments any further terms you feel should be included in this glossary.

Finally, for anyone interested in cloud services Serviceteam IT is part of a wider research project looking into businesses use of the cloud and the future challenges businesses are likely to face as a result of Brexit and the implementation of GDPR. The findings of this report will be made available on the website for anyone with an interest in the use of cloud computing in businesses.

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101, use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

We’d love to hear from you!

Microsoft Issues ‘Important’ Security Fix for Azure AD Connect

Microsoft is warning customers of an “important” update to its Azure AD Connect service that could allow for an elevation of privilege attack against affected systems.

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Azure Multi-Factor Authenticator App | HowTo | 3 of 3

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Azure Multi-Factor Authenticator App: In Part One I covered:

  • Why use Office 365 & Exchange Online with Azure Multi-Factor Authentication?

  • Enable modern authentication in Exchange Online

  • Office 365 & Exchange Online Multi-Factor Authentication in the Admin Portal

In Part Two I covered:

  • Enrol Accounts for Office 365 Multi-Factor Authentication

Once Office 365 Multi-Factor Authentication has been enabled and the users enrolled it is sensible for your users to install the Microsoft Authenticator App. The App can be downloaded for a number of devices:


Once the Azure Multi-Factor Authenticator App has downloaded and installed on your device.

Log in to the portal here: https://portal.office.com

  1. Once logged in, click on the Profile Picture on the top right:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Portal Step One

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Portal Step One

  2. Click on View account:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Step Two

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Step Two

  3. Click on Security & Privacy:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication My Account Step Three

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication My Account Step Three

  4. Click on Additional security verification:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Security Privacy Step Four

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Security Privacy Step Four

  5. Click on Update your phone numbers used for account security:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Additional Security Verification Step Five

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Additional Security Verification Step Five

  6. Select the Authenticator app tick box:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Security Verification Options Step Six

    Azure Multi-Factor Authenticator App Security Verification Options Step Six

  7. While you are here you can add in the Alternate authentication phone. Click Configure:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Security Verification Details Step Seven

    Azure Multi-Factor Authenticator App Security Verification Details Step Seven

  8. You should see the Configure mobile app message box:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Retrieving App Step Eight

    Azure Multi-Factor Authenticator App Retrieving App Step Eight

  9. The Configure mobile app QR code will now display:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Configure App Step Nine

    Azure Multi-Factor Authenticator App Configure App Step Nine

  10. Open your Authenticator App on your device. The example below is from an iPhone. Select the plus + sign in the top right:

    Azure Authenticator App for iPhone Step Ten

    Azure Authenticator App for iPhone Step Ten

  11. Select Work or school account:

    Azure Authenticator App for iPhone Account Step Eleven

    Azure Authenticator App for iPhone Account Step Eleven

  12. Point the camera of your device at your screen to detect the QR code. If you receive a notification to allow the App access to your camera, select Allow. Otherwise select the Or enter code manually:

    Azure Authenticator App for iPhone QR Code Step Twelve

    Azure Authenticator App for iPhone QR Code Step Twelve

  13. You should now have a new account:

    Azure Authenticator App for iPhone Complete Step Thirteen

    Azure Authenticator App for iPhone Complete Step Thirteen

  14. The activation status will now be checked:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Checking Status Step Fourteen

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Checking Status Step Fourteen

  15. Click Save:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication App Configured Step Fifteen

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication App Configured Step Fifteen

  16. Click Verify preferred option:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Configure App Step Sixteen

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Configure App Step Sixteen

  17. You should now see the Verifying app notice:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Verifying App Step Seventeen

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Verifying App Step Seventeen

  18. Open the Authenticator App on your device. Enter the code in the verification code box. The code will change every thirty seconds. Click Verify:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Verification Code Step Eighteen

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Verification Code Step Eighteen

  19. If you receive a Verification failed error it’s most probably because you were too slow:). Click Retry and repeat steps 16, 17 and 18:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Verification Failed Nineteen

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Verification Failed Nineteen

  20. Once successful you will see an Updates successful notice. Click Close:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Setup Success Step Twenty

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Setup Success Step Twenty

  21. That’s it. You will now be returned to the Portal home page. I recommend using the Notify me through the app option by going through steps 1 to 5 to return to:

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Select Option Step Twenty One

    Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Select Option Step Twenty One

In order to test, log out of the portal then log back in. You will be prompted for your verification code or your device will notify you that verification is required depending upon which option you chose.

One final task is to create and assign App Passwords, which I will cover in two future posts: Office 365 App Password | HowTo | 1 of 2

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivitycommunicationcontinuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0121 468 0101use the Contact Us form, or why not drop in and visit us at 49 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 1HN.

We’d love to hear from you!