InnovateUK – Azured
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UK cloud innovator awarded government grant?
Azured UK, a cloud network and security company, has been awarded a government grant for a share of a £10 million fund allocated to innovative research and development projects focusing on sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19.

The six-month project will see the development of an affordable and flexible solution for SMEs to establish highly secure remote-working firewall technology. The objective of the solution is to help more SMEs survive during further COVID-19 outbreaks by increasing the productivity and security of home-workers. Helping small businesses survive and thrive and more people to keep their jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen unprecedented changes in the workplace, increasing the need for businesses of every size to accommodate remote-working. If you’re a massive enterprise this may not be so much of a problem. You’ll have IT and HR departments, access to resources and systems and processes robust enough to cope with such a dramatic change in work practices, not to mention the budget to implement quickly. Not necessarily so if you’re an SME. Access to affordable, flexible network security solutions is limited. The needs of the SME sector have been largely overlooked by the large security players, as it has been deemed as too costly to service.

But the need is urgent. There are 5.9 million small to medium sized enterprises in the UK, and with 60% of employees working from home during the lockdown earlier this year, that’s a lot of people exposed to ever increasing, ever more sophisticated cyberattacks. Your average home office just simply isn’t equipped to deal with these attacks and data, businesses and livelihoods are at risk.

“We had already launched a Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) solution back in 2017 but were aware that hosting a bespoke firewall is unaffordable to most but the larger enterprises. We wanted to bring the same level of enterprise grade security within the reach of any small business in the UK”, comments Andy Price, CEO at Azured. “Winning the bid for funding from Innovate UK means that we can exploit our expertise in Microsoft Azure to develop and deploy a virtual firewall at a fraction of the price, without compromising on security. We can make secure home-working a reality for everyone,” Andy continues.

Azured’s vision is shared by Innovate UK, the innovation agency responsible for issuing the grant. Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell states, “In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy.

“Azured UK, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is making an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.”

An objective that Azured supports fully, as Andy explains, “With 99% of the business landscape in the UK being made up of SMEs and three fifths of all workers being employed in this sector, we felt it was crucial to develop a solution that could help more small businesses survive and more people to keep their jobs.”

Azured’s fully managed multi-tenanted FWaaS solution will be available early next year on a monthly subscription basis, with no minimum contract. Crucial for businesses having to micro-manage their cashflow through further crises. “We believe our development in firewall technology will revolutionise the market – this type of innovation has too long been the preserve of the big corporations. This solution brings to life our company’s mission, to make great cloud technology available to all.”

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Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. Innovate UK connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas in to commercially successful products and services and business growth.

Azured UK is a cloud network and security company, helping SMEs work safely from home. Our journey began on a beautiful night by the ocean near Melbourne. It was some time in 2015 – and we grew quickly to become #1 Microsoft Azure Partner in Aus. In 2019 we opened our UK business — in a nice office this time, not on the beach (brrrr…).