Category: How-To & Guides

The Hidden Costs of Microsoft 365

Hidden Costs of Microsoft 365

The Hidden Costs of MICROSOFT 365

What You Need To Know

In this always-advancing era of technology, every company should have a strategic plan for moving their applications and data to a cloud. Microsoft 365 is an excellent choice for companies that want the security and control of on-premises software with the flexibility and cost-efficiency of a cloud service.

If you’re considering Microsoft 365 for your company, read this post to find out if this is the right move for your business.


What Exactly is MICROSOFT 365?

Microsoft 365 is a subscription service-oriented for enterprises and businesses, combining many of Microsoft’s current products under one license.  It is effectively a package of services that contains all of the desktop apps and services offered by Office 365. So if you already use Microsoft apps like Exchange, SharePoint, or Skype for Business, or if you use any third-party apps that integrate with Office 365, Microsoft 365 makes it easy to combine everything into one cohesive experience. Microsoft 365 also simplifies setting up workspaces for any new employees, making the process near seamless for your IT team.


Cloud Services Have Hidden Costs – Know This Before You Move

The biggest thing to remember about cloud services like Microsoft 365 is that the initial costs are low, but there are hidden fees.

The upfront costs are minimal because you are essentially renting the software—not buying it. An example of hidden fees would be, needing a high-speed internet connection to ensure smooth, efficient collaboration with your co-worker plus needing a robust backup and disaster recovery plan to prevent data loss in the event of a hack or natural disaster.

Cloud services like Microsoft 365 do not come with these necessary essentials at the base price.


How to Determine if Moving to MICROSOFT 365 is Right for Your Company

Hidden-Costs-of-Windows-365 smallTo determine if Microsoft 365 suits your company, start by understanding your business requirements and goals. What applications do you need to run? What are your security and compliance concerns? What are the current and future costs of on-premises software versus the cost of Microsoft 365?

Regarding security and compliance, Microsoft 365 brings the full power of Windows to the cloud. This means you have the same robust security and compliance features as on-premises software and end-to-end encryption’s added security. There are also low upfront costs when you make the switch to Microsoft 365.

You’ll likely save on IT support, hardware, and software licensing.


No Support, No Backup

Microsoft 365 offers no assistance with issues, problems, or concerns.

If a problem comes up that is too difficult for you or your IT team to solve, you are on your own and will need to find a third-party solution. Help is only available to customers who have signed an Enterprise Agreement or enrolled in a Volume Licensing Program. It is important to note that there are no phone support options available for Microsoft 365.

The support that comes with microsoft 365 may not even be enough for your needs, either. If you have specific needs or requirements for your network, you may want to hire an outside IT company to provide these support services.

Microsoft 365 doesn’t give the feature of a backup either, so to keep your business safe in the event of a disaster or outage, you will need to have a plan in place that ensures your critical data is stored in a separate location.

There are several clouds and on-site options available that offer backup solutions for Microsoft 365.


No Monitoring, No Help

Moving your company’s apps to Microsoft 365 gives you complete control and governance over your data. However, if you’re experiencing performance issues or have questions about how to best use your applications, you may not get the help you need. With most cloud services; monitoring and support are minimal. With that said, some cloud providers will offer managed services to address this problem.

You may want to investigate whether your specific provider offers managed services or if they can recommend a third-party provider that can help you get the most out of your applications.


Final Words: Is MICROSOFT 365 Worth It?

Microsoft 365 is a great way to give your business the best of Microsoft’s software. It’s packed with the best of Microsoft Office, offers all Microsoft features for your PC, plus it gives you access to a standard email client. It’s an excellent choice for small businesses and individuals who want to standardize on Windows software.

Free Microsoft 365 security may be appropriate in some situations, but it also has the potential to cause issues and end up costing more than you anticipated. Similarly, a sophisticated security solution can offer superior security and compliance defences in today’s complex cyber security environment.

At Protected Harbor, we’re dedicated to providing enterprise-level cloud security for businesses of all sizes. Our team of engineers and analysts works daily to stay on top of new developments in cloud security. We strictly focus on keeping your data secure from regular vulnerability scanning, to frequent updates, and 24/7/365 monitoring.

With the ever-increasing risk of cyberattacks, it’s more important than ever to have a secure cloud solution. Our team works tirelessly to keep your data safe and secure. Still confused about opting for a cloud- provider, consult one of our experts now, and get a free IT audit.

What is Site Reliability Engineering? A Definitive Guide

What is site reliability engineering a definitive guide


What is Site Reliability Engineering? A Definitive Guide

As the world is rapidly moving towards digital services and more organizations are adopting cloud-based services, site reliability engineering practices have become essential. The reason is that IT experts and engineering teams operating software have changed drastically. These practices let organizations meet the service level agreements for performance, availability, business KPIs, and user experience.

In this article, we’ll learn about site reliability engineering, key practices, benefits, roles, and responsibilities of a site reliability engineer, and tools used for SRE. Let’s get started with the basics of site reliability engineering.

What is Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)?

Site reliability engineering or SRE is applying software engineering principles to infrastructure processes and operations to help companies create highly scalable and reliable software systems. As a discipline, site reliability engineering focuses on optimizing software systems’ reliability across categories, such as performance, availability, capacity, latency efficiency, and incident response. And those who perform these operations are known as site reliability engineers.

Google was the first who task its software engineers with making large-scale sites more efficient, scalable, and reliable by implementing automated solutions. SRE is a way to bridge gaps between IT operations and developers, even in a DevOps culture. The primary purpose of SRE is to develop automated solutions and software systems for operational aspects.

What does a site reliability engineer do?

A site reliability engineer generally has a background in software development and business analytics and substantial operations experience. They monitor systems in production and analyze performance to detect areas that need improvement. This observation helps them calculate potential outages cost and plan for contingency.

Software reliability engineers split their time between software or system development and operations. Their on-call responsibilities include updating tools, software, and documentation to prepare IT teams for future incidents. Moreover, they build and deploy services to optimize the workflow for the IT and support departments.

Key Practices in Site Reliability Engineering

Site Reliability Engineering small

Here are the key practices to implement software reliability engineering in your organization.

  • Availability_ The SRE team is responsible for maintaining system and service availability once they are in production, initiated by service-level agreements (SLAs), service-level objectives (SLOs), and service-level indicators (SLIs) for the underlying services.
  • Performance_ After stabilizing availability, the SRE team can focus on optimizing service performance. They assist development teams, fix bugs, and identify performance issues across the system.
  • Monitoring_ SRE teams have to monitor operations and implement appropriate solutions based on how respective services measure performance and uptime.
  • Incident response_ Site reliability engineering is critical for incident response. The SRE team should be available to respond, review, and explain incidents occurring within the system. It includes auditing processes, production workflows, alert criteria, and other factors.
  • Preparation_ The integration of SREs into IT and development allows developers to learn more about the production environment and help IT and DevOps teams get involved earlier in the development lifecycle.

Roles and Responsibilities of an SRE

Here are the leading roles and responsibilities of a software reliability engineer.

1. Monitoring

Software reliable engineers ensure that underlying infrastructure is running smoothly and that tools and systems are working as desired. Moreover, they monitor critical services and applications to reduce downtime and ensure availability.

2. Automation

Software reliability engineers build automation tools to manage IT operations. Therefore, rather than performing these tasks manually, they aim to automate them. These functions include

  • Incident response
  • Continuous integration
  • Continuous delivery
  • Monitoring
  • Alerts

3.Cross-team collaboration

Software reliable engineers work across different teams, particularly development and operations. By developing a reliable system and offering support to these teams, they give their teams more time to focus on building new features and get these out faster to consumers.

4. Issue resolution

Software reliable engineers work closely with the development team, especially when problems arise. They collaborate with the developers to help with troubleshooting and offer consultation when alerts are issued. Following the incident resolution, SRE will revisit the situation and determine the cause to ensure it does not happen again.

Benefits of Site Reliability Engineering

Site reliability engineering aims to enhance high-scale systems’ reliability through automation. The main goal of SRE is to fill the gap between the infrastructure and development teams. Incorporating aspects of software engineering into infrastructure and operation functions has several benefits, the most notable being more service resiliency and constant uptime. Here are some other benefits of SRE.

  • Filling the gap between infrastructure and development teams
  • Automate processes
  • Planning and maintaining operational tasks
  • Continuously analyzing and monitoring application performance
  • Managing emergency and on-call support
  • Contribute to the overall product roadmap
  • Ensure that software has proper logging and diagnostics

Common Tools used by SREs

Here are some of the most common tools used by software reliability engineers.

1. DataDog

Datadog is a monitoring and analytics tool used by system reliability engineers and DevOps teams. It can determine performance metrics and event monitoring for cloud and infrastructure services. You can see across systems, services, and applications, get complete visibility into advanced applications, analyze and explore log data in context, and proactively monitor your user experience. Moreover, Datadog lets you visualize traffic flow in cloud-native environments and get alerted on critical issues.

2. AppD

AppDynamics puts your IT teams at the center of business success. It’s a tool that provides a common view across server and database infrastructure, providing real-time actionable insights. SREs can track numerous metrics for their SLI. However, its core APM product gives valuable metrics. AppD includes many additional tools delivering deep insights, such as End User Monitoring and Browser Synthetic Monitoring. Site reliability engineers can measure SLI, SLA, SLO, and error budgeting to tie them to their business objectives. It lets them prioritize the most critical business aspects and take action in real-time.

3. DynaTrace

Dynatrace software intelligence platform empowers DevOps teams and site reliability engineers to detect issues before they occur by providing intelligent and automatic observability for the most complex distributed cloud environment. Moreover, continuous automation delivers precise root-cause answers to site reliability problems at all software development lifecycle (SDLC) steps. Dynatrace helps software reliability engineers improve availability, reliability, and latency and mitigate the impact of service outages and downtimes.


Site reliability engineering requires strong skills to succeed. There should be a sense of trust between the teams, and being responsible for SRE is more about taking ownership of production operations. It’s a specific approach focusing on IT operations, and if you want to adopt an SRE culture in your organization, go ahead and train your IT team by following the best practices. However, it’s a myth that you can achieve 100 percent perfection, but you can make things better using suitable tools and best practices based on your organization’s requirements.

With a team of experienced engineers from Protected Harbor, you can rest assured that your site is in good hands. We provide a range of site reliability services including monitoring, capacity planning, incident management, and security. Protected Harbor’s engineers are experts in Ruby on Rails, Python, Node.js, and other popular open-source technologies. They have experience with many enterprise-level technologies, including Apache, Nginx, Kafka, etc. We are giving free IT audits to the companies and site reliability consultation. Contact us today!